Philippines starts in-country relocation of Filipinos in Ukraine

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2022 09:22 AM | Updated as of Feb 24 2022 09:38 AM

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MANILA – The Philippine government is relocating Filipinos in Ukraine amid the country’s escalating tensions with Russia, an official said Thursday.

“We’ve been asked by Secretary [Silvestre] Bello of course to closely coordinate with our labor attaché out of Prague and our embassy out of Warsaw. And the latest effort pertains to in-country relocation of 380 overseas Filipino workers in Ukraine,” Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) chief Hans Cacdac told ANC’s “Rundown.”

“So, currently there have been at least 3 batches that had been moved to an area that is around 400 km from Kiev, the political capital where most Filipinos are. And in-country relocation is currently ongoing,” he said.

Cacdac noted that political and economic life seems to be going on as usual in Kiev where most Filipinos are.

“Filipinos continue to work but having said that, pick up points, exit points have been identified, and the Filipino community has been, correspondingly, been notified of such pick-up and exit points.”

“So the embassy out of Warsaw stands ready and of course the (Department of Labor and Employment), through the OWWA and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office stands ready as well in the event of mass repatriation, which we hope won’t happen.”

Ukraine's parliament imposed a national state of emergency on Wednesday aimed at helping to forge a response to the threat of a Russian invasion.

The state of emergency allows Ukraine's regional governments to adopt heightened security measures that range from tighter ID and vehicle checks to more stringent policing.

Marcelino Aquino, a Filipino who has been working in Ukraine for 30 years, said civilian life is business-as-usual in Ukraine’s capital city.

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“Dito po sa capital city tahimik pa rin po,” he said.

“This banking system, or groceries, stores…working po as standard ordinary day. Like schools, kindergarten, etc. lahat po yan lahat ng related sa mga civilian, wala pong limitation,” he added.

He also said that Filipinos are ready to meet up at certain points and move out of Ukraine should things take a turn for the worse.

“Meron kaming iba-ibang klaseng plano even this internet or net close, meron din po kaming mga area, kung sakali, doon kami magkikita-kita and organize po na lumabas kami together dito sa capital city, move to the west.”