78 OFWs, and 2 children, from Yemen returned home April 14, 2015 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport aboard Philippine Airlines flight PR 655 at 9:15 A.M. According to OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado, the returning workers were visibly happy upon arrival at the airport despite the long travel to safety which lasted for 10 hours.

“Natakot po kami sa air strike na baka tumama sa mga bahay o buildings kaya nagdesisyon na kami umuwi,”a repatriate who worked for 20 years as supervisor in Yemen said. When asked if he has any plan to go back to Yemen when the situation there stabilizes, or to another country where his skills are needed, the OFW said, “hindi muna, pahinga muna ako. Nakakasawa rin naman magtagal doon,” he quipped.

The returnees availed of the Philippine government’s Mandatory Repatriation Program. Alert Level 4 was raised in February 2015 when the strife in the said country escalated exposing the lives of OFWs to danger.

Last Monday, 13 April, 20 repatriates from Yemen — 19 OFWs and one child — were extended airport assistance by the OWWA Repatriation Team.

Upon arrival at the airport, the displaced/distressed workers were accorded airport assistance that include special lane in processing of immigration papers.

Some of the OFWs are now temporarily housed at the OWWA Halfway Home before they return to their respective provinces. Most of those who are in OWWA are from the Visayas and Mindanao.

At the airport, the repatriates were briefed on the DOLE-OWWA-POEA ASSIST WELL programs and services, to cushion the impact of the Filipino migrant workers’ sudden job displacement resulting from the political conflict in Yemen.

Following are information on the number of Filipinos who have safely arrived in Manila:
April 8 – 4 OFWs; April 9 – 90 OFWs including 5 minors; April 11 – 98 OFWs including 8 minors; April 13 – 20 OFWs including 1 child; April 14 – 80 OFWs including 2 kids, or a total of 342 returnees.

OWWA is on a 24-hour standby to repatriation advisories from the Agency’s overseas posts.