Alert level 4: Get out of Egypt, gov’t orders FilipinosBy Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The government has ordered the mandatory evacuation of some 6,000 Filipinos from Egypt following a visit to the Arab country by Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario to investigate the security situation after days of violent clashes.
“Secretary del Rosario said that the marked deterioration of peace and order in Egypt, exacerbated by the ongoing political instability and grave security challenges in that country, make working and living there increasingly difficult and dangerous,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.
Del Rosario, who visited Egypt early this week in his second trip in as many weeks to look into the escalating violence, called on Filipinos there to contact the Philippine Embassy in Cairo immediately and avail themselves of its repatriation service, the DFA said.
The Philippines raised the fourth crisis alert level over Egypt, the highest in its four-tier overseas emergency alert system, on Monday after Del Rosario’s visit, citing the rising violence, which has left 900 people dead following a crackdown on the protest camps of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
Under Alert Level 4, some 6,000 Filipino workers, residents and students will be flown home from Egypt on the government’s account.
The DFA deployed a Rapid Response Team to Cairo on Aug. 17 to implement the repatriation program.
While in Cairo, Del Rosario met with a teenaged Filipino-Egyptian girl who was wounded by a stray bullet during clashes in Helwan, south of the capital, the DFA said.
The girl “seemed to be on the road to recovery and was in good spirits,” according to Jesus Yabes, the undersecretary for migrant workers affairs and Claro Cristobal, the Philippine ambassador to Egypt.
The government has identified Cairo and Alexandria, the cities where most Filipinos in Egypt are based, as exit points out of the country. Filipinos in Egypt are mostly employed as household service workers and skilled employees.
Filipinos who wish to fly home may reach the Philippine Embassy in Cairo through the following: trunk lines: (+202) 25213062/64/65/51; direct lines: (+202) 2516 6217 / 25213045; mobile hotlines: (+2) 012 2743 6472/012 8247 6554; fax number (+202) 2521-3048; Facebook: Cairo Philippine Embassy; e-mail: cairo:email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.—With a report from AFP