DFA lowers alert level in Myanmar to 2; 450 Filipinos seeking repatriation
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has downgraded the alert level status in Myanmar from 4 to 2, and 450 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are now seeking repatriation.
DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega on Monday said Filipinos with valid working visas, or those who have already been working in Myanmar, may return to the Philippines following the lowered alert level.
“Iyong mga may work visa na nandoon ngayon at gustong magbakasyon dito, makakabalik ‘yan,” he said in an interview with Radyo 360.
(Those who currently have work visas in Myanmar and want to go here for a vacation can now return to the country.)
Prior to this, Myanmar had been under Alert Level 4 since May 2021 due to violence and warfare brought about by its ongoing military coup.
450 OFWs want to go home
De Vega, who had returned from a visit to Myanmar, said some 450 OFWs had already expressed the intention to return home to the Philippines.
The DFA official also shared an update about OFWs’ situation in Myanmar, noting that they are employed in cities that are in stable condition.
This, he noted, was heavily considered in the department’s decision to lower the alert level in the country.
“Iyong main cities ay kalmado, business as usual. Ngayon, yung 400 plus, 450 na Filipino na legal na may working visa ay nasa matiwasay at safe na conditions,” de Vega said, referring to the cities of Yangon, Mandalay, and Naypyidaw.
(The main cities are calm, business as usual. The 450 Filipinos with legal working visas are in peaceful and safe conditions.)
De Vega, meanwhile, noted that out of 100 Filipinos illegally working in Myanmar, 16 have requested repatriation.
“Ang mga repatriation, tayo nagbabayad [para sa] mga kailangan tulungan makatakas sa illegal gambling operations sa ibang parte ng Myanmar,” he said.
(We will be funding the repatriation to assist those who need help escaping from illegal gambling operations in other parts of Myanmar.)
Distressed Filipinos who will seek repatriation will also be receiving financial assistance from the Department of Migrant Workers upon their return, he added.
De Vega clarified that cases will not be filed against them.
The Inter-Agency Council Against Human Trafficking, however, will coordinate with them in catching the illegal traffickers who had recruited them.
According to the DFA, Filipinos in Myanmar may message the OFW Help Facebook page by clicking here for requests for repatriation or any kind of assistance.
— Kirsten Segui, Inquirer.net trainee