Filipinos banned from going to Syria-A A +A
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
MANILA (Updated 5:53 p.m.) -- Filipinos intending to work in Syria will be temporarily disallowed from leaving the Philippines after the government raised its crisis alert level on the Middle Eastern country to three.
Deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will temporarily be halted until the situation improves, the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said on Tuesday.
The temporary deployment ban covers new hires and those who previously worked in Syria, POEA Administrator Carlos Cao said.
Cao was prompted to make an announcement after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) elevated Syria's alert level to three and asked Filipinos there to leave the country.
Under crisis alert level 3, voluntary repatriation will be provided by the government for Filipinos who wish to leave Syria.
"I have directed our Philippine Embassy in Damascus to intensify its efforts to reach out to Filipinos and convince them that now is the time to consider leaving Syria," Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement.
There are 17,000 OFWs in Syria, majority of them are Household Service Workers (HSWs).
For the third straight day, hostilities between Syrian government forces and protesters against President Bashar al-Assad have continued, resulting in a civilian death toll of 34.
Early this week, the Philippine government placed three areas in Syria namely: Daraa, Latakia, and Homs, under alert level three. (FP/Sunnex)