Senator Loren Legarda on Friday urged the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Syria to cooperate with officials of the Philippines embassy to ensure their safe repatriation amid political tension in Syria.
Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on foreign relations, made her appeal as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised the crisis alert level in Syria to level 4.
“While the DFA and the Philippine Embassy in Damascus have already laid out their plans for the repatriation and other necessary assistance to Filipinos in Syria, the bigger challenge rests on convincing our countrymen to take advantage of the government’s offer to repatriate them,” Legarda said.
“The decision by an overwhelming majority to risk their lives, notwithstanding the clear and present danger to their safety stresses the need for government to create jobs in our country that can feed families and educate children,” Legarda said.
“I also appeal to our fellow Filipinos in Syria to heed the government’s call for mandatory repatriation,” she added.
In issuing this statement, Legarda also called on the DFA to determine how government may effectively cover undocumented Filipinos under its crisis management and security arrangements.
“As early as August of this year, the DFA has offered voluntary repatriation. What happened between August and now needs to be assessed to ensure that offers for repatriation translate to greater security and safety to our migrant Filipinos,” Legarda added.