Filipino migrant group urges Aquino gov’t to evacuate OFWs out of Egypt

POINTING out that the political situation in Egypt is now escalating marred by massive protests by thousands of Egyptians demanding the ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak who have been in power for 30 years, a Filipino migrant rights group in the Middle East today urges the Aquino administration to seriously considers evacuating Filipinos out from Egypt.

“The political situation in Egypt has already escalated amid the continued massive protests by the Egyptian people and there is no indication that it would be resolved calmly though we prayed for its peaceful resolution, -but the disgruntled Egyptian people is so determined to oust a regime that wrought misery unto their lives,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said, citing reports from local media in the Middle East, neighboring Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Jordan are now preparing to evacuate their citizens out of Egypt.

He cited Cairo airport officials quoted in the local media reports saying that there are Arab nations who have already organized flights to take their nationals and diplomats out of Egypt.

Local media reports said that there were a hundred casualties already recorded when violent clashes occurred between the protesters and police authorities erupted on Friday in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez.

Monterona noted that it would be easier for those Filipinos who are in Cairo as the airport are there and where the PHL embassy is located. “But what worries us are those living in Alexandria and Suez as it would take them to travel first to proceed to Cairo for evacuation,” the Saudi-based OFW leader added.

Thus, Monterona said: “As the political turmoil in Egypt escalates and we could not see any indication of peaceful resolution, the Aquino government must now seriously consider the immediate evacuation of OFWs, even undocumented, and our Filipino diplomats out of Egypt.”

Monterona said the number of Filipinos in Egypt released by the Department of Foreign Affairs, 6,569 is too conservative and may not include the undocumented and over staying Filipinos.

“Based on the account made by our fellow OFWs and affiliate in Egypt, there are about 20,000 Filipinos in Egypt, a considerable number works as domestic workers and care givers,” Monterona added.

“May kasabihan nga tayong mga Filipino na ‘daig ng maagap ang masikap’; under this uncertain and deteriorating peace and order situation in Egypt, it is wise and prudent to prepare now and starts evacuating our fellow OFWs and Filipinos out of Egypt,” Monterona said.

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