Cayetano lauds Ukraine repatriation efforts of DFA
FORMER Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has lauded the continuous repatriation and evacuation efforts of Filipinos in war-torn Ukraine headed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in coordination with various embassies.
“We are grateful for the constant efforts of the DFA in making sure our ‘kababayans’ in Ukraine are safe. Let us continue praying for their safety and the situation abroad,” Cayetano said.
The statement came after the DFA raised the crisis alert status to Level 4 in the eastern European country this week, “due to the deteriorating security situation.”
A Level 4 alert status signifies that the Philippine government must undertake mandatory repatriation assistance to Filipinos in the affected country.
Cayetano said time is “of the essence” for the repatriation of Filipinos.
“Yung mga OFW natin, siyempre, nangangamba yung mga pamilya. I’m sure the DFA and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) are rushing to keep them safe,” he said.
As of March 8, a total of 63 Filipinos have been repatriated from Ukraine while 136 have been evacuated since the conflict began in late February.
Of the 63 Filipinos, 21 were seafarers who were stranded at the Ilyichevsk Ship Yard in the Port of Odessa, Ukraine when the conflict began.
According to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola, the Filipino crew were able to cross from Ukraine to Moldova through the assistance of Honorary Consul Victor Gaina in coordination with the Philippine Embassy in Budapest.
Cayetano, who is gunning for a senatorial comeback in the upcoming 2022 elections, is the principal author of the bill creating the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), which was signed into law on December 30, 2021.
“OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) are a priority for me, and to know that the government is showing importance to our OFWs is good news for me,” he said.
The former Foreign Affairs Secretary and House Speaker said that he also supports “the government’s initiative, through the Executive Department, to offer a safe haven for displaced persons affected by the Ukraine-Russia conflict.”