The DFA-Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines capped its repatriation efforts in 2020 by bringing home a total of 327,511 overseas Filipino workers, coming from 90+ countries worldwide.
According to DFA, 29.3% of the overseas Filipino workers (95,974 in total) are seafarers from 150+ ships, including cruise liners, oil tankers and bulk carriers.
Since February 9, 2020, when DFA mounted its first COVID repatriation flight to Wuhan China, the department has been bringing home workers despite the challenges.
From March through June 2020, the Department facilitated the arrival of chartered flights, each carrying hundreds of cruise ship crew from vessels docked all over Europe, the Caribbean, and North America. Many of the repatriated have only been onboard their ships for months when the crisis struck. They had no choice but to come back home, without certainty as to when they'll be called back for work.
In April 2020, the DFA chartered flights to Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Maldives, Malaysia, and Italy to bring back home 1,096 distressed overseas Filipinos who lost their jobs.
Calls from the Middle East came in May as the DFA sent the first sweeper flight to the Middle East, through Riyadh and Dammam, Saudi Arabia, marking the beginning of the mass repatriation of 220,000+ overseas Filipinos from the region.
In June, the Department sent a sweeper flight to Africa. It stopped by Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia, before heading back to the Philippines with 287 Filipinos onboard.
December marked the highest total of repatriated overseas Filipinos (51,770) despite the cancellation of a number of flights as a precautionary measure to the spread of the new Coronavirus strain.