MANILA — The Turkish government has stopped accepting help from rescue teams from other countries, including the Philippines, in saving survivors from the powerful Turkey-Syria earthquake, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Wednesday.
Citing Turkish authorities, NDRRMC information officer Diego Mariano told reporters that the "golden hour," or the window to locate and rescue survivors under the rubble, has lapsed.
With this, Turkish rescue officials have converted their operations from "search and rescue" to "search and retrieval" of victims' remains.
"[Ang search and retrieval], hindi na siya time-bound o hindi na ganoon ka-essence iyong time. Hindi na kailangan ng help from outside their country or from other countries," Mariano said.
An 85-person rescue team from the Philippines had been deployed to Turkey to help rescue survivors of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake, upon the orders of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Meanwhile, Mariano also said the NDRRMC was coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Philippine Embassy in Ankara to monitor the situation of the Filipina still missing after the quake.
While the DFA can request Turkish officials to redirect the Philippine team to rescue the missing Filipina, Mariano said it would be up to the Turkish government to approve or reject the appeal.
"We can request pero ang decision pa rin ay nasa Turkish government pa rin dahil ang ating team, once na tumutok po sila sa Turkey, under sila ng jurisdiction at operational control ng Turkish government," he said.
"Mas maganda nga po kung Pilipino sa Pilipino, pero tayo naman po ay nandoon para tumulong regardless of nationality or race. Tayo po ay tutulong base sa ating tungkulin o kung ano man ang i-assign sa atin ng Turkish government," he added.
As of writing, the death toll from last week's powerful earthquake has reached nearly 40,000, among them 2 Filipinos.