Philippines to accept Afghan refugees only via gov’t-to-gov’t arrangement

Marje Pelayo   •   September 1, 2021   •   378

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippines will accept asylum seekers from Afghanistan only under a government-to-government agreement.

He stressed, the Philippines will not entertain any request from private entities or non-government organizations.

“With the formal end of evacuations from Afghanistan, the next stage is processing and asylum—short or long stay. The Philippines will not accept nor listen to any proposition to accept any refugees unless it is government to government and only by their respective Foreign and Justice ministers; especially of the UK, the US and other Western countries most active in the evacuation,” Locsin said in a tweet on Monday (August 30).

“We will not entertain any request for asylum coming from NGOs however well-meaning or reputable or any other non-state parties,” he added.

Locsin emphasized that if ever the Philippines will open its doors to Afghan refugees, “it will be all humanitarian and not a bit monetarist.”

The Foreign Affairs secretary noted that there are only 24 Filipinos remaining in Kabul as of August 30, eight of them requesting repatriation while 16 others opted to stay.

As of Monday, a total of 187 Filipinos have been evacuated from Afghanista since the Taliban seized the nation’s capital.

182 Filipinos left Afghanistan amid tension — DFA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Seven more Filipinos have departed Kabul, Afghanistan which makes a total of 182 Filipinos who evacuated the conflict-stricken country, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Based on the situation bulletin on August 23, the DFA confirmed that five out of the seven left the capital on Sunday (August 22), while the two left last week but have only recently confirmed their whereabouts.

The DFA is in contact with 27 more Filipinos, however, 10 of them have expressed intent to remain in Afghanistan while the rest requested evacuation.

“All repatriates that have managed to exit Afghanistan have been assisted by various Philippine Embassies and Consulates General,” the department said.

Some of them, however, are not returning to the Philippines for various reasons, the DFA said.

The department said it is also coordinating with various governments “so that repatriates in transit need not fully quarantine in the transit country, as they will be undergoing quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines.” AAC

Second batch of overseas Filipinos safely extracted from Afghanistan — DFA

Marje Pelayo   •   August 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has confirmed that another batch of 16 overseas Filipinos from Afghanistan is now safe and being assisted in the United Kingdom.

According to the DFA, from the first batch of Filipinos who left Afghanistan, a total of 13 Filipinos who first arrived in the UK are now in their respective connecting flights in Oslo, Norway; one in Almaty, Kazakhstan; and another one in Kuwait.

Meanwhile, at least 32 Filipinos remain in Afghanistan and 22 of them are requesting repatriation.

The DFA thanks all countries that continue to assist in repatriating Filipino citizens in Afghanistan.

As of August 22, a total of 175 Filipinos have already been extracted from the conflict-stricken country.

Afghanistan Crisis: OFWs escape to Dubai, Qatar with help from employers

Marje Pelayo   •   August 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Relatives of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Afghanistan confirmed with UNTV that their family members have reached Dubai safely after narrowly escaping the unrest in the Taliban-controlled country.

From Dubai, they are expected to return home to the Philippines soon.

On Tuesday (August 18), 35 Filipinos arrived in the Philippines from Afghanistan.

Based on records of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), there are around 130 Filipinos in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Joseph Glenn Gumpal, who acts as president of the Samahang Pilipino in Afghanistan, said 11 more Filipinos have already made it to Qatar with the help of their employers.

UNTV was able to get in touch with other stranded Filipinos in Afghanistan whose fates remain uncertain after a series of flight cancellations.

Among them is Rio Adrias, who confirmed that they are in constant communication with the Philippine Embassy in Pakistan which has jurisdiction over Filipinos in the Afghan country.

The only problem, Rio said, was that the chartered flight that they were supposed to board on Tuesday was canceled and they were told that they would need to take a commercial flight.

“Hindi pa rin po namin malaman kung kailan makakalapag ang eroplano dito sa Kabul kasi puno pa rin po ng tao ang Kabul airport. Hindi pa rin po lumilikas nasa 10,000 Afghan po ang naghihintay [na] doon na po natutulog,” she said.

Rio is one of the 24 Filipinos currently staying in a shelter some distance away from Kabul airport.

As for their personal needs, Rio said they still have enough supply for several days.

They also worry, however, for the safety of other Filipinos stranded in areas with no access to food and proper lodging.

“Sa pamilya ko, huwag kayong mag-alala ako’y nakakangiti pa pero ako’y naiiyak. Pero doon po sa gobyerno po natin sana po talaga una, matulungan nyo kaming mailikas talaga dito kaming lahat na gustong umuwi kasi talagang ang hirap,” Rio said asking for government support.

“Hindi safe. Hindi kami okay. Hindi namin ma-explain yung pakiramdam namin dito,” she added.

Rio said if she makes it back to the Philippines, she would never go back to Afghanistan.

All she asks for is a livelihood support from the Philippine government in recognition for their contribution to the country’s economy. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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