MANILA, Dec 22 (Mabuhay) – Citing the escalating violence in Syria, the Department of Foreign Affairs on Thursday raised the crisis alert level there to “4,” calling for the mandatory repatriation of Filipinos there.
The DFA enjoined Filipinos in Syria to leave immediately in light of the escalating tensions there, noting the repatriation will be at the Philippine government’s expense.
“In view of the escalating violence in Syria, the Department of Foreign Affairs will be raising Alert Level 4 for the entire country of Syria effective today,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario was quoted in a DFA statement issued Thursday.
There are about 5,000 Filipinos registered at the Embassy in Damascus, the DFA said.
In the same statement, Del Rosario said he has directed DFA Executive Director for Migrant Workers Affairs Ricardo Endaya, to leave immediately for Syria and to assist the Philippine Embassy in Damascus in repatriation efforts.
He also instructed the Philippine Embassy there to assess the situation and submit daily reports, and an action and financial plan for the full implementation of Alert Level 4.
The DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Syria has been closely monitoring developments and has briefed the members of the Filipino community on the embassy’s contingency plans.
It advised Filipinos in Syria to keep their communication lines open with the PHL Embassy and their community coordinators and inform them of their whereabouts.
“They are further advised to contact the Embassy so that arrangements could be made for their immediate repatriation,” the DFA added.
Last week, the embassy repatriated 51 Filipinos from Syria, bringing to 383 the total number of Filipinos repatriated from Syria as of December 16, the DFA statement said.
The Embassy’s hotline number is 00-963-116-132626. Families may also e-mail their requests and concerns through the Embassy’s e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Manila, the DFA also activated hotline numbers for families of Filipinos based in Syria, at 834-3245 and 834-3240. (MNS)