Latest Stories

More Filipinos now wish to flee Syria at government expense



Many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in strife-torn Syria are finally availing themselves of the government’s free repatriation program, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

From only about 200 in February, over 1,000 OFWs have since applied to be included in the repatriation program being overseen by the Philippine Embassy in Damascus, DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Sunday.

The applicants included OFWs trapped in dire conditions in Homs and other protest hubs in the troubled Middle East country, said Hernandez.

The next batch of OFW repatriates, some 100, will come from Syrian conflict areas where the violence has become “very alarming,” he said.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, meanwhile, said the repatriation of Filipinos from Syria was “no easy feat.”

In a statement, Del Rosario explained that “repatriation involves negotiating with employers for their release, including buying out their contracts, dealing with immigration officials and paying their fines, and in some cases being met with the challenges of having to extract them from areas considered to be “no man’s land.”

The latest batch of repatriates, 35 OFWs, arrived on February 26 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on two Emirates Airlines flights from the Syrian capital.

So far, no Filipinos of the 9,000 estimated to be in Syria have been killed or injured in the ongoing crackdown on protesters by state security forces, said the embassy.

More than 7,500 people have died in the 11-month uprising against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to the United Nations.

An Associated Press report on Sunday said the Syrian government had blocked a Red Cross convoy from delivering badly needed food, medical supplies and blankets to a rebellious neighborhood in Homs cut off by a month-long siege.

Humanitarian conditions in the former rebel stronghold of Baba Amr have been described as catastrophic, with extended power outages and shortage of food and water and no medical care for the sick and wounded.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: DFA , Global Nation , Middle east , ofws , Syria , Unrest

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Visiting chefs from Denmark get creative with ‘ube,’ ‘ buko,’ ‘calamansi,’ mangoes
  • Salted baked potatoes
  • A first in a mall: Authentic Greek yogurt–made fresh in front of diners
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • Marketplace