DFA gets add’l P50M to repatriate OFWs from conflict areas

DFA gets add’l P50M to repatriate OFWs from conflict areas
The P50 million for the repatriation of Filipinos in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Gaza is on top of the P100-million emergency fund released to the Department of Foreign Affairs last August

MANILA, Philippines – An additional P50 million was released to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to fund the repatriation of Filipinos working in conflict-torn Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Gaza.

“Our repatriation program is an important tool in the government’s support system for Filipinos abroad. It gives us the ability to act on emergency conditions, whether in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in  press release Tuesday, November 11.

A Crisis Alert Level 4 was declared in all 4 areas, meaning the Philippines has ordered a mandatory pullout of all Filipinos working there and a ban on deployment of new workers.

The mandatory return of Filipinos in the Gaza Strip was ordered in June due to the security threats brought about by the Israel-Hamas conflict. The same crisis alert was declared in Iraq around the same time.

In July, the DFA called for the repatriation of Filipinos in Libya because of the worsening violence. The ongoing repatriation of Filipinos in Syria started in December 2012. 

The additional P50 million the budget department released was on top of the P100-million emergency fund released to the DFA last August for the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers in Libya.

“Our countrymen face uncertainty and danger due to the untenable security situation in these Middle East countries. As such, the National Government will focus its resources to bringing them back home, even as it shoulders all costs of their repatriation, whether by land, sea, or air,” Abad said.

To help in the repatriation, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration also promised to expedite the provision of P50 million and P800 million, respectively. – Rappler.com

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