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17 August 2011

Voluntary Repatriation of OFWs in Syria under Crisis Alert level 3

Al-Hamidiyah Souq, Damascus, Syria
An August 17, 2011 press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised the crisis alert level in Syria to alert level 3, in light of the continuing political tension in said country and as a precautionary measure for the Filipino community there.
Under crisis alert level 3, voluntary repatriation at the government’s expense will be offered to Filipinos who wish to leave Syria in light of the escalating tensions. A deployment ban is put in place effective immediately in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Likewise, all Filipinos are advised not to travel to Syria at this time.
“In view of the escalating violence in Syria, the Department of Foreign Affairs will be raising Alert Level 3 for the entire country of Syria, effective today,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario stated yesterday.
He said, “Under Alert Level 3 (voluntary repatriation), all Filipinos working and residing in Syria are enjoined to leave Syria and the Philippine Government will provide for the repatriation cost.”
“I have directed our Philippine Embassy in Damascus to intensify its efforts to reach out to Filipinos and convince them that now is the time to consider leaving Syria,” the Secretary added.
The Embassy has been closely monitoring developments in the country, and has briefed the members of the Filipino community on the Embassy’s contingency plans. Currently, the Embassy is operating a 24/7 coordinating center which also monitors the events in said country.
An augmentation team from the DFA also went to Syria to assist in the effort.
Filipinos in Syria are advised to actively monitor developments, keep their communication lines open with the Embassy and their community coordinators and inform them of their whereabouts, as well as restrict their movements only to those which are necessary. Those who wish to be repatriated should visit or call the Embassy so that arrangements could be made for their repatriation.
The Embassy’s hotline number is 00-963-116-132626. Families may also e-mail their requests and concerns through the Embassy’s email address
In Manila, the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) also activated hotline numbers for families of Filipinos based in Syria, at 834-3245 and 834-3240.
There are some 17,000 Filipinos in Syria.