Time for gov’t to tackle repatriation of OFWs in Egypt, Syria anew

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos and families Migrante International today said that it is once again time for the government to seriously address the evacuation and repatriation of Filipinos in post-Mubarak Egypt and war-torn Syria.

Migrante International secretary-general Gina Esguerra said that they are concerned by recent statements from the government that “there is no need for evacuation and repatriation” in Egypt and Syria despite the rising violence and death toll in the region.

Esguerra said that it is not enough to simply “monitor” the situations in Egypt and Syria. “That is their long-playing mantra yet they always fall short on concrete actions.”

Migrante International has been calling on the government to give a solid blueprint of its plans to ensure the safety of OFWs in the MENA (Middle East-North Africa) region. “Instead, what they always say is that OFWs are ‘safe’ or that they do not want to leave. Yet, we have been receiving a steady stream of calls and complaints through our hotlines from OFWs who want to go home, who are stranded in embassies and waiting in vain for government assistance,” she said.

There are approximately 6,500 Filipinos in Egypt, while 17,000, mostly women, are in Syria. Syria has been placed under Alert Level 3 by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) since August.

“Most of the OFWs in Syria are household-based. This requires house-to-house efforts from embassy officials to secure our OFWs. Hindi pwedeng naghihintay lang sila sa mga base nila tulad ng ginawa nila dati sa Libya,” Esguerra said.

Sagip-Migrante/MENA Crisis Hotlines

Migrante International’s hotlines are open 24/7. OFWs and families may contact Migrante through mobile number 0932-3995952 or via email menacrisiscenter.migrante@gmail.com.

“All complaints, inquiries and reports will immediately forwarded to concerned government agencies.” ###

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