MANILA, Philippines — A batch of 69 Filipinos are set to arrive this week from conflict-torn Syria as government continues its mandatory repatriation program amid a worsening security situation in the Arab country.
Citing a report from the Philippine Embassy in Damascus, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, the spokesman of the Department of Foreign Affairs, said on Monday that 69 Filipinos safely crossed the border between Syria and Lebanon on April 21.
The first batch of some 34 Filipinos were set to arrive in Manila at 11:10 p.m. Monday night aboard Etihad Airways flight while the second
batch of 35 will arrive on Tuesday (April 23) at 3:20 p.m.
Their arrival brings to 3,951 the total number of Filipinos repatriated since government enforced its mandatory repatriation program in 2011.
Hernandez said there could be up to 3,000 Filipinos still in Syria.
“The DFA continues to urge all Filipinos who are still in Syria to seek immediate repatriation as the violence in the country continues to worsen,” Hernandez said.
The DFA also appealed to families of Filipinos in Syria to provide government with details of their loved ones so they could be located and brought back home.