MANILA, Philippines – With the arrival of the first batch of 263 overseas Filipino workers from Syria on Tuesday morning, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) still expects thousands more to remain in the strife-torn country.
“Our estimate, there would be about 3,000 who would be left in Syria,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.
But of the total, Del Rosario said they expect 600 more OFWs who will be repatriated from Syria.
“We are processing the papers and we have already negotiated the waiver of all requirements with the Syrian government so they would be ready to go. We will be looking for transportation to bring them back,” the DFA head said
Del Rosario said 400 will be those who have already ended their contracts with their employers and who have expressed their desire to repatriated, while another 200 are those from Aleppo.
“We have been successful in having the Syrian government declare that Aleppo is like a war zone so repatriation there is something that we’ve been able to get approval for especially since the government office there for the most part are no longer functioning,” he said.
The remaining OFWs, he said, are largely domestic workers are well protected by their employers.
Del Rosario cited the assistance given by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the repatriation of the 263 OFWs from Damascus.
“They're always very helpful. They were helpful in Libya, they were helpful in Syria,” he said. - ANC