21 OFWs arrived last night from Syria


The Philippine Embassy in Damascus reported that 21 Filipinos are expected to arrive from Syria onboard a Qatar Airways flight last night in light of the Philippine government’s raising of alert level 3 (voluntary repatriation) in said country.
On September 20, the Embassy repatriated six Filipinos. One Filipino also arrived from Damascus on September 21.
Most of the Filipino repatriates were household service workers (HSWs) who expressed their desire to come home due to labor-related issues with their respective employers.
The Embassy and the Overseas Preparedness and Response Team with a 10-member Rapid Reaction Team (RRT) for Syria conducted intensive negotiations with the Filipino repatriates’ employers for the immediate release of their exit visas.
The RRT arrived in Syria on September 6 as augmentation personnel to the Embassy in its efforts to repatriate Filipinos in the country. The team is composed of officials from the DFA, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Following the instruction of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, the Philippine Embassy in Damascus headed by Charge d’Affaires Ricardo Endaya has been intensifying its efforts to repatriate Filipino nationals in Syria.
The DFA has raised alert level 3 in Syria on August 16, and has enjoined Filipinos in the country to go home. Under Alert Level 3, voluntary repatriation at government’s expense will be offered to Filipinos who wish to leave Syria in light of the escalating tensions there.