The Philippine government has flown 651 of its nationals back from the Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, as part of an ongoing campaign to bring 'distressed' migrant workers back from the Gulf.
President Arroyo was at Ninoy Aquino International airport today to welcome back the returnees, who had been housed in Filipino Workers' Resource Centers, according to this article in Tempo..
There are still as many as 3200 Filipinos stranded in the GCC, according to John Leonard Monterona, regional director of Migrante Middle East. Many of these are runaways from abusive employers, or have served long jail sentences for petty crimes such as alcohol consumption or attending mixed gatherings (in Saudi)
Over half of the returning workers are from Saudi (302 from Jeddah and 150 from Riyadh).
The drive to bring stranded workers is the result of a huge collaboration between the public and the private sectors - major companies including San Miguel and the Development Bank of the Philippines pitched in to fund plane tickets for the returnees, according to this article in GMA News.