Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today asked Overseas Filipino Workers still in Syria to come home given the worsening conditions in the said country.
“Marami pa tayo, libu-libo pang Pilipino ang natitira doon. Sana’y iyong mga nandoon, umalis na dahil lumalala ng lumalala ang nangyayari doon,” said the Vice President after welcoming home the 263 repatriates from Syria.
He also urged the OFWs who arrived to give complete and accurate information about their stay in Syria, as well as on how they were able to leave the country despite the departure ban. This will help in gathering knowledge about the possible location of Filipinos still left behind, as well as in the government’s drive to stop human trafficking and illegal recruitment.
According to Binay, the Philippine government is contacting agencies in the international community to help in its repatriation efforts. He also revealed that two more batches of repatriates are set to arrive from Syria, and that the incoming batch has an estimated 400 OFWs arriving.
The Vice President also cited Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario’s role in urging the declaration of places in Syria as danger zones.
“Alam mo, ang isang magandang nagawa ni Sec. del Rosario, iyong Aleppo, napa-declare na danger zone. The moment it is declared a danger zone, lahat ng mga requirements waived na. So katawan na lang ang dadalhin para makabalik dito sa atin.”
Binay, who is also the chairman of Pag-IBIG Fund, announced as well a moratorium on loan payment for the OFWs from Syria.
“Gusto ko lamang ibalita sa inyo, sa grupong ito mayroong dalawampu’t isang (21) miyembro ng Pag-IBIG. Bilang mga miyembro, mayroon kayong makukuhang pera. Ibig sabihin nito, pagbalik ninyo, kailangan maging miyembro kayo ng Pag-IBIG,” Binay told the repatriates.
“Kayong mga miyembro ng Pag-IBIG, matatanggap ninyo ang inyong kontribusyon. Pagkatapos, hindi muna kayo magbabayad ng mga utang ninyo, may moratorium,” he added.