Filipinos ignoring calls for repatriation from Egypt

DFA spokesman Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez: Lukewarm response. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday Filipinos in Egypt were coming to the Philippine Embassy in Cairo in trickles to sign up for repatriation after the violence in that Middle East country worsened.

The same lukewarm response from Filipinos was seen by the DFA during past evacuations of Philippine citizens from other crisis-stricken countries in Africa and the Middle East.

DFA spokesman Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez called again on Filipinos in Egypt to heed the call of their government and leave the Arab country where protests against the sacking of President Mohammed Morsi have grown increasingly large and violent.

“We are urging our citizens to register with the embassy as soon as possible,” said Hernandez.

He said the Philippine Embassy in Cairo had mobilized Filipino community leaders to assist in the repatriation by reaching out to the estimated 6,000 Filipinos all over Egypt.

“We have been advising our people to take extra precautions and to seek help from our embassy. We believe it is for their safety that they be repatriated,” Hernandez said in a press briefing on Thursday.

“It has become necessary for them to be repatriated. We’re asking them to contact our embassy, get in touch with our leaders and coordinators so that arrangements could be made for their repatriation,” he said.

The DFA has raised alert level 4 in Egypt for the Filipinos there after Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario traveled to the strife-torn country last week and saw for himself the dire security situation. Some 900 people have died in the last two months in clashes between state security forces and supporters of Morsi.

Hernandez said previous mandatory repatriations conducted by the DFA in other troubled countries were also initially met with indifference by Filipino expatriates.

“That’s always the challenge that we face with regard to mandatory repatriation. We experienced this in Libya, Syria and also in Yemen,” he said.

“What is important is that we continue to encourage them and make resources available to them so that when they finally decide to go home for their safety, we can help them,” Hernandez said.

The government has released $240,000, or about P10 million, to cover the repatriation effort, including the airfare of returning Filipinos.

So far only five Filipinos—three from Cairo and two from Alexandria—had taken up the government offer of a free ride home, arriving in Manila on Wednesday afternoon.

Currently the DFA is also conducting a mandatory repatriation of Filipinos from Syria where civil war has broken out between rebel forces and the military of President Bashir al-Assad. Since 2011, the Philippine government has flown 4,510 Filipinos home, leaving some 3,000 still in Syria.

Philippine officials meanwhile are coordinating with Egyptian authorities in the investigation of the death of a Filipino woman whose body was found in a garbage dump in Nasr City, a district in Cairo.

Hernandez said a forensic investigation was under way to ascertain the identity of the woman whose body was found inside a suitcase on Aug. 18. A passport was found with the body but it was not known if it belonged to the woman.

A friend of the woman had reported her missing to the Philippine Embassy in Cairo on Aug. 17, some five days after she disappeared.

It was unclear if the woman’s death was related to the violence in Cairo, Hernandez said.

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  • bok

    Parang mga ‘informal settlers’. Ayaw magsi-alisan. Titigas ng ulo !!!

    • TruthLiberates

      “The same lukewarm response from Filipinos was seen by the DFA during
      past evacuations of Philippine citizens from other crisis-stricken
      countries in Africa and the Middle East.”

      Alam mo kung bakit? Tanungin mo yung mga kakilala mo sa labas. Tawagan mo sila o kausapin sa mga voip-call networks (Skype, YM, FB etc.), sabihin mo, “balik na kayo dito” at sasabihin nila sa’yo, “Don’t Speak Bad Words to Us! Nagbibiro ka ba, eh gutom dyan? Anu gagawin namin dyan? Wala naman kaming magandang trabaho dyan na ma-aasahan. Kahit SSS niyo walang kwenta. Pag tumanda kami dyan wala kaming ma-aasahan. Yung bahay na pinatayo namin dyan ni hindi kayang bayaran ang maintenance at taxes nito at ilang dekada pa bago makayanan bayaran ng ordinaryong Pilipino, samantala dito, ilang buwan lang namin na trabaho yan. Nung nagkasakit yung mga ka-aanak namin, kung wala kami dito, eh patay na sila. Kahit tatlong araw sa ospital di nila kayang bayaran. Wala kaming ma-aasahan na maganda dyan. So don’t speak bad words to us. Wag mong hilingin na bumalik kami dahil sumpa yan para sa amin.”

      Masisisi ba natin sila? Kung gusto natin silang pabalikin dito, the government should address those so it could have the right and dignity to summon them back. But does our government even have any dignity left? In the eyes of our OFWs, to be back is descent to hell.

      Lahat ng mga Pilipino na lumabas, kahit tsunami, lindol, bagyo at giyera ay kakayanin, wag lang maging Pilipino ulit. That should tell the government how critical things have become domestically.

      • bok

        mas maganda sigurong magutom at mamatay sa egypt kaysa sa pilipinas. sige, pumunta ka na rin doon.

      • fakereflection1

        o nga, pero pag tulunan nang magulo at mahirap na ang mka labas, tsaka sila mag iiiyak na tulungan sila tapos sasabihin sa gob. na wala silang silbi!!! utak pilipino yan pre

  • hello stupids

    they rather die in Egypt than go back to Philippines……Why?

  • Littlefox131

    Kung di niyo man magustuhan… Kung di niyo maintindihan… Basta! Walang sisihan!!!

  • mga BaBoY sa Goberno

    You cannot force them, they prefer to die rather than go back in the philippines with no work to find. OFW´s are the new heroes- without them the philippines will always become a sick country of Asia due to GOVERNMENT CORRUPTIONS DOWN TO BARRANGAYS.

  • Hassan Shehata

    I am a filipino myself living here in Egypt and thanks alot for the gov’t’s repatriation move for our us who are living in this region. The point is – survival and as long as there is no green light for the filipinos to to go back home to, then they would rather risk the dangerous current situation here than go home , even for free, back to worse than zero. It is a suicide, and there’s no place like home, but then home is where I can earn my bread and for my my family. This is what our government should look further into, employment at home for us….and to stop this exodus of our fellow countrymen who are opting for abroad, scattering to all parts of the globe, swallowing their pride and dignity, acceting any kind of work just for the family to survive. How can the Philipine gov’t turn a blind eye to this issue… making it as the the country’s dollar earning industry? Selling its own people…!!!!!

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