MORE THAN 27,000 more Filipino workers from overseas were expected to come home amid a global coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The agency on Wednesday said 27,400 more overseas Filipino workers (OFW) would be arriving in the next three weeks under the government’s repatriation program.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola told senators 54,736 OFWs have returned since February — 30,645 seafarers and 24,091 land-based workers.

DFA said 8,324 Filipinos overseas had tested positive for the virus, 2,759 of whom were being treated, 5,057 have recovered while 508 died.

Ms. Arriola also said they were working to repatriate 167,600 Filipinos stranded abroad in the next two to three months, majority of whom were in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the government had to fetch the bodies of 287 OFWs from Saudi Arabia. He said 107 of the migrant workers had died of coronavirus.

“We were asked by the Saudi government to bring them home within 72 hours, but we requested for additional time for us to be able to get the necessary transport,” he said at the same hearing. — Charmaine A. Tadalan