31 OFWs arrived last night from Syria

Overseas Filipino from Syria
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that 31 Filipinos arrived last night from Syria in light of the government’s raising of alert level 3 (voluntary repatriation) due to the security situation in the country.
The Filipinos arrived onboard a Qatar Airways flight. Another batch of nine is expected to arrive this afternoon.
A bulk of the repatriates were household service workers (HSWs) who were victims of human trafficking or illegal recruitment. Most of them had labor issues, such as being overworked, maltreatment, and low or nonpayment of wages.
From March to August 2011, 102 Filipinos were repatriated from Syria.
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.
As of September 13, there are now 754 Filipinos who have requested repatriation since the raising to Alert Level 3 across Syria, with 584 cases under negotiations by the Embassy as augmented by the Rapid Reaction Team (RRT).
The Embassy and the RRT are in intensive negotiations with employers to allow the Filipinos to leave their employ and get exit visas for their immediate repatriation to the Philippines.
The DFA has raised alert level 3 in Syria on August 16, and have enjoined Filipinos in the country to go home, and if they so decide, government will provide all necessary assistance.
On September 6, the Overseas Preparedness and Response Team have deployed a 10-member Rapid Reaction Team (RRT) for Syria 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).
In Manila, the DFA has organized the Task Group on Voluntary Repatriation-Syria. Relatives of Filipinos in Syria living in the Philippines may call the following numbers: 834-4617, 834-4618, 834-4619, 834-4620, 834-4621, 834-4622, 834-4623, 834-4624, 834-3245 and 834-3240 (from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M., Monday to Sunday); 834-3333 and 834-4997 (from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., Monday to Sunday).
They may also send text messages at +639275768621 or +639158445546.
Queries and request for assistance may also be sent via email at dfa.repat@gmail.com or pe.damascus@gmail.com.
Filipinos in Syria may call the Philippine Embassy in Damascus at the dedicated hotline numbers +96311-6132626 (landline), and +96393-2176214 and +96399-0270464 (mobile) to seek assistance and information from the Embassy.
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