370 Filipinos repatriated from UAE arrive in Manila
DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY: Some of the 370 Filipinos recently repatriated from the UAE pose for a group shot prior to their Dubai-Manila flight. Upon arrival, all returnees are then taken to a government-designated quarantine centre in Manila. Image Credit: Angel Tesorero

DUBAI: Up to 81,000 Filipinos in Dubai and the Northern Emirates may have faced a cash crunch or job loss, a senior Philippine official said.

The estimate is based on the number of expat Filipinos in the emirate who applied for one-time financial assistance offered by the Manila government, Philippine Consul General Paul Raymond Cortez told Gulf News on Tuesday (July 21, 2020).

Citing data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Manila, the Filipino diplomat said the number of applicants is a good indicator, but the actual count may be off by about 10%.

“With the cash aid, offered by DOLE, we are looking at 90,000 (Filipinos who faced job losses in Dubai and the Northern Emirates),” he said. “Perhaps count some double submissions or those who were not really laid off or furloughed, perhaps some 10% — or 9,000 — which makes 80,000 to 81,000 thereabouts.”

There’s a separate count for Abu Dhabi-based Filipinos. An estimated 1 million Filipino expatriates lost their livelihood due to the global coronavirus contagion, according to Manila officials.

A Gulf News report on Monday (July 20, 2020) states that over 23,000 job losses among Filipino workers in Kuwait.

As of July 3, 2020, some 72,000 overseas Filipinos had already been repatriated by the Manila government, Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello told Philippine media. 

The Duterte government offered one-time COVID19 pandemic-related $200 cash aid to all displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) around the world.

As of April 2020, the “AKAP” (“Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong” or “Help Within Reach”) programme listed 74,050 OFWs across the UAE – who were either terminated from work and were on a “No Work-No Pay” status.

The financial assistance is equivalent to Dh730.

There are nine countries in the Middle East where Filipinos live and work: the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

POLO cash assistance 11-20
Image Credit: Gulf News

Other AKAP beneficiaries were also identified in Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and New Zealand. There were also applicants listed in Europe and the Americas.

Applicants in UAE must download the AKAP form from and submit documents online to the relevant Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Abu Dhabi and POLO-Dubai.

POLO cash assistance 11-20
Image Credit: Gulf News