60 Filipinos want to leave Syria-A A +A
Saturday, August 20, 2011
NO SCHEDULE has been set yet for Filipinos who wanted to return to the Philippines in light of the worsening political situation in Syria, a government official said Saturday.
Raul Hernandez, spokesperson of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said travel documents of those seeking free voluntary repatriation are still being processed.
“So far, we have 60 Filipinos who wanted to leave Syria voluntarily. The Philippine response team is still going around Syria as well to reach out and convince Filipinos to take this offer,” he told Sun.Star.
The DFA official said 40 Filipinos are currently billeted at the Filipino Workers Resource Center in Damascus, Syria while the rest had just expressed interest to be flown back home.
The department had raised the crisis alert level in Syria to 3 last August 16, which automatically called for voluntary repatriation and deployment ban of Filipino workers.
Earlier, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) said it is willing to help in the repatriation of Filipinos trapped in the strife-torn Syria, where at least 2,000 people were reportedly killed by forces loyal to embattled President Bashar-al-Assad.
However, among the critical issues that still to be ironed out include the pick-up point where PAL will fetch Filipino evacuees, the aircraft to be used, flight crew availability, processing of flight and landing permits, and ground handling arrangements.
Meanwhile, Hernandez advised 17,000 Filipinos in Syria anew to actively monitor developments, keep their communication lines open with the embassy and their community coordinators.
Those who wish to be repatriated should visit or call the embassy so that arrangements could be made for their repatriation, he said. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)