Vice President Jejomar C. Binay urged Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) remaining in Syria to return home as the situation is expected to worsen.
“Nananawagan po ako sa ating mga kababayan na naiwan pa sa Syria na lumikas na dahil palala na po ng palala ang sitwasyon doon,” Binay said.
He also appealed to their relatives here in the Philippines help the government convince their loved ones to return.
“Handa po ang pamahalaan na gawin ang lahat para mailayo kayo sa kapahamakan. May mga programa na rin po kaming nakalaan para tulungan kayong makapagsimulang muli pagbalik ninyo dito sa ating bansa,” Binay said.
Binay, who is also the Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will be providing OFWs returning from Syria with reintegration and economic assistance. He said they can avail of the ”Balik-Pinas, Balik-Hanapbuhay Program” under DOLE’s National Reintegration Center for OFWs.
Due to the escalating armed conflict in Syria, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained its highest Crisis Alert Level for Syria since December last year. A total deployment ban to Syria remains in effect.
According to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), 3,254 OFWs have been repatriated since the armed conflict in Syria started.
Earlier this month, a group of 258 Filipinos from Syria was repatriated through the combined efforts of the Philippine Embassies in Damascus and Beirut and their attached agencies, the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, the Rapid Response Team in Syria (RRT-Syria) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)