MANILA – The second batch of seven Filipina wards from the Philippine Embassy shelter in Damascus arrived safely at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Saturday.
Philippine government agencies led by the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA) welcomed the repatriates to conduct debriefing and assist them with the relevant coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) arrival protocols.
All repatriates are victims of human trafficking and were illegally hired to work in Syria from being tourists in Dubai. This second batch of repatriates reduces to 25 the number of Filipinas currently housed at the Philippine Embassy shelter in Damascus.
The DFA provided financial assistance to the seven Filipina victims of human trafficking to help them in starting over a new life in the Philippines.
Representatives from the Office of the President, Department of Social Welfare and Development, as well as the Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking, were present to welcome the seven Filipinas from Syria.
The government shall assist the repatriates in the filing of criminal complaints against human traffickers who victimized them in their home provinces in Dubai and in Syria.
The DFA, through OUMWA and the Philippine Embassy in Damascus, is using a whole-of-government approach to repatriate the soonest the remaining 25 Filipinas in the Embassy shelter.
The first batch of six Filipina repatriates previously arrived in Manila on Feb. 4.
The 25 Filipinas in the Embassy shelter to date are awaiting their scheduled repatriation to the Philippines. They are all undocumented workers in Syria who ran away from their employers due to harsh working conditions.
The DFA continues to lobby hard with the Syrian authorities and employers to secure exit clearances for the repatriates. (PNA)