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Pinoy Abroad

DMW cites Egypt’s stricter border control in Filipinos’ crossing issues

Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said Thursday that Egypt is now implementing a stricter border control amid the rising number of evacuees from Sudan, thus causing a problem with Filipinos who wish to cross from the battle-scarred country.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, Ople said among the challenges they are facing with regards to evacuating Filipinos from Sudan was the processing of the visas required by the Egyptian authorities before they are allowed to pass through.

“Ang pwede lang tumawid ng Sudan side, ‘yung may visa. So kahit ako na diplomatic passport holder, hanggang Egyptian side lang ako. Ang meron lang Sudanese visa and diplomatic passport holder, si Ambassador at si Vice Consul kaya sila lang ngayon ang nakatawid,” she said.

(Only those who can cross the Sudan side are those who have a visa. Even though I'm a diplomatic passport holder, I could only stay on the Egyptian side. The only ones who have Sudanese visas and are diplomatic passport holders are the Ambassador and the Vice Consul. They were the only ones who were able to cross.)

“Siguro sa dami ng nais tumawid, hindi lang mga Pilipino, nagkakagulo na rin sila. ‘Yung border control, mas mahigpit na ngayon. Bukod do’n sa wala kang passport… ‘yung security pass para makatawid from Sudan side to Egypt and onward to Aswan, doon nagkakaron ngayon ng embudo,” she added.

(There were problems maybe due to the number of people who want to cross, not only Filipinos. The border control is stricter now. Apart from not having a passport, there is a problem acquiring a security pass to cross from the Sudan side to Egypt and onward to Aswan.)

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Eduardo de Vega earlier said there could be around 700 Filipinos in Sudan and most of them are undocumented. Some of the evacuees either have expired passports or do not have passports at all.

Around 400 Filipinos have been evacuated out of Sudan, according to DFA.

Filipinos who fled the conflict-torn country have complained of a lack of proper assistance from the Philippine embassy after reaching the border between Sudan and Egypt.

At the border, they said an Egyptian honorary consul arrived but soon left them. The Filipinos were forced to spend the night on the side of the road without anything to eat or drink.

For the government’s part, Ople appealed for coordination among the affected Filipinos, stressing the situation is not easy.

“Hindi ito madali. Hindi sa ayaw namin tumulong. Kung pwede lang nand'on na kami sa Sudan side, maski kahapon dumiretso na ‘ko do’n. It’s really ‘yung limitations ng sitwasyon,” she said.

(It's not easy. It's not that we don't want to help. If only we could be on the Sudan side, I would have been there yesterday. It's really the limitations due to the situation.)

“Ang pakiusap namin sa kababayan, please also, mag-bayanihan spirit tayo. I know it’s difficult. Alam kong sobrang pagod na sila, hindi nila alam ‘yung mangyayari… but we’re really doing our best,” she continued.

(We’re appealing to our kababayan to have a bayanihan spirit. I know it's difficult. I know they are very tired and they don't know what will happen... but we're really doing our best.)

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.—AOL, GMA Integrated News