Biggest batch of 60 OFWs returns from Israel; various agencies offer assistance

By Chloe Mari A Hufana

THE DEPARTMENT of Migrant Workers (DMW) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) welcomed 60 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Israel back home on Thursday.

The DMW said this was the largest group of OFWs who availed themselves of the voluntary repatriation program after hostilities between Israel and militant group Hamas broke out last October.

Apart from the 60 OFWs, an infant also came home.

To date, a total of 880 Filipinos were repatriated due to the on-going war.

The DMW said the repatriates were offered on-site medical and physical check-ups from the Department of Health (DoH); financial and comprehensive reintegration support worth P100,000 from the DMW and OWWA; livelihood aid worth P20,000 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); and skills training vouchers from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The repatriates will receive reintegration assistance and job facilitation services from the DMW and the Labor department for employment opportunities, domestic or abroad.

The OWWA said in a Viber message to BusinessWorld that it is ready to assist these Filipinos with their “initial needs,” such as transit services to their home provinces and hotel accommodation.

There are about 30,000 OFWs in Israel and over 100 Filipinos in Palestine.

In October 2023, Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked a concert in southern Israel, prompting the on-going war in the region.