DFA: Contingency plan in place in Egypt

by Maria Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jul 10 2013 03:43 PM | Updated as of Jul 11 2013 12:38 AM

MANILA – The Philippine government has a contingency plan in place for Filipinos in Egypt, in case the situation there worsens.

"We have a contingency plan for Egypt and right now it is being implemented because we have already actually raised the level to alert level 2. If the situation-- security and peace and order situation--become untenable to our people, then we have to raise it to alert level 3 and then 4," said DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez.

Once the alert level is raised to 3, the DFA said it would have to implement the voluntary evacuation plan.

"For now, we are still positive that the airport in Cairo will be ensured for continuous operation and we have also identified Alexandria, having an airport and seaport there, so those are possible exit points for our OFWs when we have decided to raise the alert level to a mandatory repatriation," Hernandez explained.

So far, the DFA said it has yet to receive any request for assistance for repatriation. Still, the DFA is hopeful the situation in Egypt would be controlled, "and that the issue is settled peacefully in accordance with the wishes of the Egyptian people".

"Fortunately, no Filipino has so far been caught in the violence in Egypt," he said.

Hernandez reiterated that Crisis Alert Level 2 is still in effect in Egypt. Filipinos are advised to restrict none essential movement and avoid public places and also to prepare for possible evacuation.

"The deployment of newly hires is still suspended and returning OFWs are strongly advised to take precautionary measures and register with the embassy if they have not done so before. Non-essential travel to Egypt should likewise be deferred until further notice," he said.

He assured that the Philippine Embassy in Cairo is ready to provide assistance anytime and is continuously monitoring developments in Egypt.

There are nearly 600 Filipinos employed as household service workers, construction workers, professionals and even some students who based in Egypt and mostly are concentrated in Cairo and Alexandria.