Pinoys’ exit from tense Ukraine still voluntary; Poland can take them in | Global News
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DFA assures them of assistance

Pinoys’ exit from tense Ukraine still voluntary; Poland can take them in

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:30 AM February 25, 2022
European parliament resolution

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Photo from their Facebook page

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday assured Filipinos in Ukraine of assistance if they need to be moved to safer areas or repatriated to the Philippines amid the escalation of Russian military actions against the former Soviet state.

“The DFA is on top of the situation. We assure you we will do everything, whatever it takes to protect our nationals who are in Ukraine. If they need repatriation or they need to transfer to a safer place, we stand ready to assist everyone. We are on standby to assist our kababayans,” said DFA Undersecretary Sarah Arriola in a virtual press briefing.

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Caution, communication

Arriola urged Filipinos in Ukraine not to panic but to exercise caution, mind their movement and stay vigilant, and maintain communication with the Philippine Embassy staff in Lviv or the Consulate General in Kyiv should they need assistance.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., in a post on Twitter, said Poland had agreed to let in Filipinos leaving Ukraine without visas.

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“Warsaw [Philippine Embassy’s] been on high alert; repatriated a few; Poland finally agreed to let ours in sans [European Union] visas; not heard anything from Russia on our request re: its closest border. Most Filipinos in Ukraine are grateful guests and want to stick it out with their warm welcoming neighbors,” Locsin said.

There are approximately 350 Filipinos living in Ukraine, most of them in Kyiv. The DFA has so far accounted for 181 of them. Six were repatriated on Feb. 18 and four more expected to arrive in Manila on Friday “if circumstances allow,’’ Arriola said.

Evacuation efforts

Some had already indicated their decision to stay in Ukraine despite the tensions, the official added. “(I)t is not easy for them to just go home because their families in the Philippines are depending on their remittances … Especially for those who are working there or who have families there, they have to weigh a lot of things before they decide to come home.”

“As to evacuation efforts we will use all means … If flying is not possible, then we will use land, anything that’s possible,” Arriola said.

Manila is maintaining alert level 2 in Ukraine, a status where repatriation or evacuation is still voluntary but Filipinos are advised to avoid public places and nonessential travel.

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