Although deemed 'undocumented', OFWs in Afghanistan still assured of gov't aid: DOLE

John Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2021 08:23 PM | Updated as of Aug 18 2021 08:24 PM

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MANILA - Filipinos working in Afghanistan, upon their repatriation, will still receive government aid even though they are considered "undocumented" workers, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Wednesday.

Bello said the Philippines and Afghanistan do not have a labor agreement, and Manila has no embassy and labor attache in the Middle Eastern nation.

Filipino migrant workers in Afghanistan did not go through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, he added.

"Doon sila as Afghanistan nakakuha ng working visa (They got their working visa in Afghanistan). Having said that, kahit na undocumented sila (even though they are undocumented), we still have to give them the assistance under the National Reintegration Program," Bello told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier issued Alert Level 4 in Afghanistan after the Taliban captured key cities, including Kabul, over the weekend. Under the alert level, the Philippines will undertake mandatory evacuation of all Filipinos in the area.

Thirty-five Filipinos, so far, have been evacuated by their respective companies out of Afghanistan. They arrived in Manila on Tuesday.

The DFA estimates there were 132 Filipinos in Afghanistan at the time of the crisis.

Filipinos still in Afghanistan were urged to register their intent to be repatriated out of the country "immediately".

A Filipino worker in Afghanistan told ABS-CBN News on Tuesday he was with around 18 other compatriots in an evacuation center near the Kabul International Airport, awaiting an opportunity to fly out.

He shared that just the night before, the Taliban attempted to enter their compound but were prevented by the British security company there.

Bello said Filipinos should not work in countries which the Philippines has no labor agreement with.


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