The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) brought home 350 more Filipinos who got stranded in Dubai amid a coronavirus pandemic, it said in a statement on Friday.
The announcement followed Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.’s promise that DFA would use its resources to “bring them all home.”
All repatriates received P10 thousand in aid. They also went through medical protocols and quarantines upon arrival.
The agency has brought home 3,350 distressed Filipinos from the UAE since the health crisis started last year.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) asked local governments to double efforts to vaccinate more senior citizens given the threat of a more contagious Delta coronavirus variant.
In a statement, WHO Philippines said only a quarter of senior citizens have been fully vaccinated, and only 35% have received their first dose.
Also on Friday, Senator Franklin M. Drilon pushed for the creation of a law that will bar unvaccinated Filipinos from leaving their homes.
In a statement, the lawmaker said escorting unvaccinated citizens back to their homes is a reasonable exercise of police power to protect public health.
“In its exercise of police power, the government can impose regulations to promote the general welfare and public interest, including public health,” he said. “That said, the law must be reasonably necessary to accomplish the government’s purpose, and it must not be arbitrary or oppressive.”
But Senator Aquilino L. Pimentel III said those unwilling to get vaccinated should not be punished because that is their right. “What did these unwilling people do wrong? Nothing at all.”
The Commission on Human Rights earlier said unvaccinated people should not be discriminated against. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan and Bianca Angelica D. Anago