MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has called for the mandatory repatriation and evacuation of Filipinos in Ukraine, after the fighting against invading Russian forces reached its 10th day.
The Philippine government issued this order as it raised Alert Level 4 on Monday, March 7, its highest crisis alert level “due to the rapidly deteriorating situation” in Ukraine.
The DFA states that Alert Level 4 means “evacuation/mandatory repatriation.” This alert level is issued “when there is large-scale internal conflict or full-blown external attack.” Under this alert level, mandatory evacuation procedures are also taken at government expense.
Since conflict escalated in late February, the DFA said its officials on the ground and foreign posts were on high alert around the clock to ensure the safety of overseas Filipinos affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The agency said it continues to closely monitory both the political and security developments in Ukraine.
Filipinos fleeing Ukraine have been assisted by the Philippine embassy in Poland and its rapid response team. The DFA earlier accounted for at least 181 Filipinos living in Ukraine. (READ: Locsin travels to Poland for repatriation of Filipinos in Ukraine)
Latest figures from the DFA’s office of migrant workers affairs showed at least 109 overseas Filipinos having been assisted so far. This included 15 that have evacuated to Hungary, 9 to Austria, 31 to Romania, 16 to Moldova, 19 to Poland, and 19 more that have since arrived in the Philippines as of March 1.
On March 7, the DFA said an additional three groups consisting of 16 Filipinos arrived in Manila.
The Untied Nations refugee agency said a million refugees have been forced to flee Ukraine for neighboring countries since war broke out over a week ago. In recent days, several explosions have hit major Ukranian cities, in some instances causing serious damage to civilian infrastructure and halting evacuation efforts due to intense shelling.
The Philippines has denounced what it considered as the “invasion of Ukraine,” recently voting to support a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that condemned Russia’s actions against its neighboring country. – Rappler.com