Solon suggests pullout of Filipino soldiers in Africa as Ebola virus disease spread in the continent
MANILA (Mabuhay) — Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said on Monday the government should seriously consider sending home 115 Filipino soldiers in Liberia as Ebola virus is expected to wreak havoc in West Africa for the next six months.
“If Ebola continues to thrive up to six months in West Africa, we better pull out our soldiers in Liberia. Their safety and lives must be given priority now and that is a better option to do now than continue risking them there with the dreaded disease,” Romualdez stressed, adding that the government should consider the recommendation of the Department of National Defense (DND) to pull out the Filipino troops in Liberia.
Romualdez reiterated his call for the officials of the Department of Health (DOH) to double their efforts in ensuring that the country remains Ebola-free.
“We commend them for their work, but our health officials should continue to be vigilant and double their efforts in ensuring an Ebola-free Philippines,” Romualdez said.
Last week, the House committee on overseas workers affairs conducted a hearing on Ebola to ensure that the dreaded disease ravaging parts of Africa will spare Filipinos, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, a member of the Commission on Appointments (CA) representing the minority bloc, said the government should not ignore the health security of the peacekeepers.
“The government should order the pullout and send a medical mission into that area,” said Albano.
However, Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe said “it is hard for us to decide the fate of our workers when we are thousands of miles away and we merely rely on news reports and second-hand information.”
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin recommended the pullout of the more than 400 Filipinos deployed to Liberia and Golan Heights, considering the health and security risks they faced following the outbreak of Ebola and the raging civil war in Syria. (MNS)