21 more Filipinos evacuated from Syria


Syrian anti-regime protesters. AFP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Twenty-one more Filipino workers were scheduled to arrive in Manila on Tuesday after being repatriated by the government from Syria, where “tensions continue to run high,” according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The foreign office said this would bring to 1,413 the number of Philippine nationals evacuated by the government from the strife-torn Middle Eastern country.

In a statement, the DFA said the workers were expected to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 1 around 4 p.m. on board Emirates Airlines flight EK 332.

The Philippine Embassy in Damascus, meanwhile, has appealed to the remaining 9,000-plus Filipinos in Syria to avail themselves of the government’s evacuation program. Most of the Philippine nationals are undocumented domestic helpers.

In a report to the home office, the embassy in the Syrian capital said “the country’s honorary consulates in Aleppo and Homs have negotiatedfor the release of an undisclosed number of OFWs from their employment contracts.”

The embassy  said it was “exerting all efforts to mount daily repatriations and bring more of our kababayans out of harm’s way.”

“Airline seats have been difficult to come by as the exodus of. foreigners, particularly Filipinos and Indonesians, has grown,” it

From the Syrian capital, “most of our repatriates fly to Dubai before taking connecting flights to Manila. If these flights are fully booked, they fly via a third city, usually Bangkok,” the embassy said.

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