15 repatriated Pinoys from Egypt to arrive Friday-A A +A
Thursday, August 29, 2013
FIFTEEN Filipinos carrying student visas are set to arrive from Egypt on August 30, Friday, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) reported on Thursday.
In a statement, OWWA said the second batch of Filipinos repatriated from the said country will be arriving in the country via Gulf Air flight GF 154 at10:55 am. Another batch is set to be repatriated on September 1.
Last week, the initial batch numbering to five arrived in the country.
The groups have availed of the Mandatory Repatriation Program of the government due to the heightened political crisis in the African country.
All repatriated Filipinos will be brought to the OWWA Halfway House, which will be their temporary shelter.
The OWWA will also provide a Critical Incident Stress-debriefing to them.
With this, the agency reported that OWWA Welfare Officers Robert Bassig and Eduardo Mendoza, Jr. as part of the government’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) will be flying to Cairo, Egypt as soon as they get their visas to assist Filipinos there.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz approved the sending of the Welfare Officers to help the Philippine Overseas Labor Officials (POLO) in Egypt to facilitate documentation of the OFWs as well as Filipino nationals due to come home within the next days.
On August 19, the Department of Foreign Affairs raised the Alert level to 4 as the security situation in the Region worsened, which resulted to the issuance of the order for the mandatory repatriation of Filipinos there.
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Filipino nationals in Egypt are advised to contact the Philippine Embassy in Cairo for registration/documentation.
OWWA Databank listed a total of 1,353 OFWs in Egypt both with active and inactive status.
In a separate press briefing, Egyptian Ambassador to Manila Mahmoud Mostafa Ahmed said on Thursday that no Filipino will leave Egypt.
During a press briefing at the Egyptian Embassy in Makati City, Ahmed told reporters that Filipinos are satisfied working in Egypt, where the supposed intense violence, in his words, was a "one-sided view" by Western countries that criticized Cairo's recent dispersal of the Muslim Brotherhood's camps.
"You have to know this, no Filipino will leave Egypt. They are happy there. They are not going to leave. Egypt is better than other Arab countries [when it comes to foreign workers]. We are very sensitive about foreigners," he said.
"If they [foreigners] seek help from the police, we come rushing to assist or help them," Ahmed added.
The envoy said he does not agree with the decision of the Department of Foreign Affairs to raise alert level 4 in the country, but maintained that he "understands" and "respects" the fundamental mission of the government to protect its citizens from harm. Alert level 4 entails mandatory repatriation.
"We respect what the Philippines issued despite the fact that we think not many Filipinos want to go back. They [Filipinos] love to live there," the envoy stated.
The only other country which ordered the withdrawal of their people from the strife-torn nation is Thailand, Ahmed said. Not even the United States, which has criticized the bloodshed in the dispersal of the alleged terrorist group Muslim Brotherhood, asked their citizens to come back to Washington.
"They only issued travel advisories," he added.
The mid-August dispersal of the Brotherhood, believed to be supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, the first democratically elected leader of the Arab nation, pushed interim President Hazem Beblawi to declare a month-long state of emergency.
The government said some 230 people from the Brotherhood's ranks were killed while the alleged terrorist group said 2,000 of their members died. The international community, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United Nations, criticized the supposed bloodshed.
But Ahmed said media reports on what was happening back home were mainly focused on the members of the Brotherhood who lost their lives. It refused to see that policemen, soldiers and even military officials, have been killed by the alleged terrorist group.
He said Egypt's interim government is ready to talk with the group and include them in the roadmap towards a democratic society. The government, however, will not reinstate Morsi to power; something that the 85-year-old Muslim Brotherhood has been "fighting" for.
Morsi was ousted from power on July 3 after a 30-million-strong protest against him by the Egyptian people, the envoy said.
The violence in Egypt triggered the department's decision to raise alert level 3 there on August 15 and then an alert level 4 five days after. Alert level 4 requires mandatory repatriation.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario visited Cairo two times this month to assess the situation there.
Ahmed said most of the 6,000 Filipinos in Egypt are working in the household and factory sectors. He also believed that the number of Filipinos is more than the official figure of 6,000.
Although he doesn't believe a mandatory repatriation, the envoy assured the Philippines that the country's interim government will do everything on its power to protect Filipinos working and residing in Egypt.
He added that exit routes in the country are all "working normally," and those who wish to be repatriated won't have a hard time flying out of Egypt.
Still, Ahmed reiterated that the situation back home is "under control" and that the interim government is sticking to the plan of establishing a democratic society based on its nine-month implementation of the roadmap. (CVB/FP/Sunnex)