Leading presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos

MANILA — Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) standard-bearer Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. has called on the government to ensure the safety of Filipinos in war-torn Ukraine following Russia’s attack on its cities including the capital Kyiv.

“We have to get our countrymen there out of harm’s way. Let’s not wait for the aggression to escalate further. The DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) should speed up on the mass repatriation while we can still do so, especially with Russian forces allegedly targeting civilian areas,” he said.

According to the latest count of the DFA, there are some 260 Filipinos in Ukraine.

Most of the overseas Filipino workers there are based in Kyiv.

Marcos stressed that it is now time to proceed with the crisis management mechanisms and exit strategies that the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) had earlier arranged.

But he also pointed out that in-country relocation of OFWs in Ukraine away from the beleaguered capital may not be safe as the attack has already been made on different areas and that the magnitude of ongoing armed conflict is still uncertain.

Russian missiles were launched on Ukrainian cities after Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed a full-scale ground invasion and air assault against the country Friday after weeks of escalating tensions in the region and sanctions imposed by Western nations.

Putin said he had “decided to conduct a special military operation” aimed at the “demilitarization and denazification” of the neighboring country.

He called on Ukraine’s forces to lay down their arms and surrender their country to Russian control and warned the U.S. and NATO not to interfere or they would face “consequences you have never seen.” (ai/mtvn)

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