PH envoy to US: Afghans refugees’ stay in PH ‘temporary’

June 14, 2023 Cristina Lee-Pisco 95 views

If PH gov’t grant US request

AFGHAN refugees will only stay in the Philippines temporarily while their US special immigrant visas are being processed, the Philippine envoy to Washington DC clarified.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States, Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez’s reaction was made following concerns raised by some sectors regarding the request of the US Government for the Philippines to temporarily accept Afghan refugees.

He explained the request is for “pure processing” of special immigrant visas for former US Government employees and their families whose lives are in danger.

The ambassador stressed the refugees will be screened, and once denied, they will be repatriated back to Afghanistan.

He welcomed the Senate inquiry on the issue to address all the concerns raised for the US proposal to temporarily house Afghan refugees.

“I’m glad Senator Imee (Marcos) is calling a Senate inquiry on Friday so that all the concerns will be addressed. No Afghans will remain in the country once they are processed for US special immigrant visa,” the envoy said.

Romualdez also refuted reports that he is “lobbying” for the Palace to grant the US request.

Earlier, he said the plan to accept Afghan refugees was “not a secret” and had not yet been approved by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.

Sen. Marcos on Friday filed a resolution calling for an inquiry into the plan to grant the US request to provide temporary shelter to refugees who are fleeing the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan.