More Filipinos make way home from troubled Syria

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The government’s evacuation of overseas Filipino workers in Syria remains in full swing with the repatriation of another 53 OFWs Tuesday from the strife-torn Middle East country, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

This has brought to 1,565 the total number of Philippine nationals removed by the DFA from Syria.

At least 25 OFWs arrived early Tuesday morning at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on board Emirates Airlines flight EK 334. Twenty-eight others were expected to arrive at 3:55 p.m. later in the day on board Emirates Airlines flight EK 332, said the DFA’s Public Information Service Unit.

According to the foreign office, more OFWs are “set to come home as hostilities continue to grip the Middle East nation.”

“The halfway house being operated by the Philippine Embassy in Damascus is keeping its door open to Filipinos seeking refuge from the violence while DFA teams continue to locate those who are still with their employers,” it said.

In December, the DFA raised crisis alert level 4 for the mandatory evacuation for the 9,000-plus Filipinos based in Syria.

Most of the OFWs still in that country have ignored the DFA’s offer of evacuation, prompting the embassy to reach out to them and convince them to leave.

The embassy is “working on the instruction of Secretary Albet del Rosario to fully and effectively implement crisis alert level 4,” said Raul Hernandez, the DFA spokesperson.

So far, the government has released over $6.25 million (about P272 million) for the OFW repatriation program. The DFA spends an average of $4,000 for the repatriation of each OFW, including air fare, buying out their work contract and the exit visa fee. Jerry E. Esplanada

Originally posted: 3:11 pm | Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

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