MANILA, Philippines - Some 150 Filipinos evacuated from war-battered Yemen returned to Manila in two batches on Saturday and more than 220 more will arrive soon, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Sunday.
The repatriates were welcomed by Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
With him were Undersecretary Jesus Yabes, Assistant Secretaries Charles Jose and Julius Torres and incoming Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa.
Del Rosario expressed appreciation for the repatriates' "quick decision" to return home due to the situation in Yemen.
In February, the DFA raised Alert Level 4 in Yemen after Shiite Houthi rebels occupied Yemen's capital and engaged in massive fighting against progovernment forces there. A crisis management team deployed by the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia had evacuated 464 out of the 800 Filipinos there.
Of the 464, 240 have been repatriated while the crisis management team is arranging the return flights of the rest. There are still 400 Filipinos in Yemen.
"Secretary Del Rosario also reassured (the repatriates) that the government will prioritize the provision of employment, placement and livelihood assistance through the Department of Labor and Employment," the DFA said in a statement.