The Department of Migrant Workers is willing to extend assistance even to foreigners fleeing the conflict in Sudan.
According to Jonathan Andal's report on "24 Oras", DMW Secretary Susan Ople said the department would want to see families of overseas Filipino workers intact amid the evacuation.
“Humanitarian crisis na ito eh. Sabi nga ni Presidente kung sakali habang nagse-set up kami at makakita kami na ibang lahi na nangangailangan din ng tulong na walang masilungan, walang makain…Idamay na rin namin kasi that’s the Filipino way,” Ople said.
(This is already a humanitarian crisis. As the President [Ferdinand Marcos Jr.] told us, if while setting up we see foreigners needing help, those who have nowhere to go to, those who have no food... we have to extend assistance as well because that’s the Filipino way.)
“In so far as the DMW is concerned, we would like the families to be intact,” she said.
Ople thus remarked after an OFW said her Sudanese husband was initially kept from going with her during the repatriation as Filipinos were being prioritized.
“Sana po ‘yung mga nasa embahada…’Yung bus na ibibigay nila, ibigay na nila ngayong day na ito anytime kasi magla-last na ‘yung ceasefire siyempre pag wala na yung ceasefire talagang magkakaroon na naman ng gyera..Baka may masama nang mangyari sa amin dito,” said Berna.
(I hope those in the embassy will provide the buses today because anytime the ceasefire might be lifted. When the ceasefire ends, there'd again be fighting... Something bad might happen to us here.)
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said more than 400 Pinoys have been rescued from Sudan as of Wednesday, April 28.
Ople said more than 700 OFWs were seeking repatriation from the African country.
Of the figures, around 50 have already fled to Jeddah with the help of the Saudi government while at least 340 Filipinos were on hold at the immigration of Egypt while their papers are being processed. It may take two to three days.
“We are now exploring sa possibility ng chartered flight to bring 340 Filipinos home,” she added.
Further, the Migrant Workers chief also said some OFWs expressed intent to be relocated to Saudi Arabia instead of going home. She also answered criticisms that the government doesn’t seem ready for the repatriation of Filipinos from Sudan.
“Di naman kuwestyon yung kahandaan eh. It’s just the circumstances ay talagang mahirap,” Ople added.
(It’s not a question of preparedness. The circumstances are just difficult.)
The violence in Sudan erupted between the forces of the two generals who seized power in a 2021 coup: the army chief and his deputy, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
Earlier, the two forces agreed to extend for another three days the US-brokered 72-hour ceasefire initially set to expire at midnight on Thursday. —Sundy Locus/NB, GMA Integrated News