Del Rosario leaves for Syria to secure repatriation of OFWs-A A +A
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
MANILA -- Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has left for Syria to check on the condition of Filipinos to coordinate with top Syrian government officials to secure their safe, immediate and unhampered repatriation.
“We were given a clear mandate by the President to ensure the safety and welfare of Filipinos in Syria. We want to facilitate the immediate repatriation of as many Filipinos as possible,” said Del Rosario, who flew to Syria on Monday.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) chief is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis.
In April and December 2011, Del Rosario also went to Damascus to personally seek the assistance of the Syrian government in looking after our nationals in that country.
Seguis also embarked on a similar mission to Syria last July. His efforts resulted in the granting of exit visas and the waiver of penalties and fees for 140 Filipinos who were brought home last July 30 to August 1. There are currently over 1,000 Filipinos who are undergoing repatriation procedures.
A Rapid Response Team (RRT), composed of officers and personnel from the DFA, Departments of Labor and Employment, and Interior and Local Government, is currently in Syria to extract Filipinos from conflict areas and help speedup the repatriation efforts, which is being spearheaded by the Philippine Embassy in Damascus.
Nearly 300 Filipinos are being housed in the Embassy’s halfway house ready to be repatriated and are expected to arrive in the coming days.
A total of 26 Filipinos are also scheduled to arrive today and on Wednesday, which will bring the total number of repatriates to 2,124. (SDR)