PH gov’t told: Push for rescue operations in Christchurch quake

MIGRANTE Aotearoa New Zealand on Thursday joined the families of Rhea Mae Sumalpong and all Filipino nurses trapped at the Canterbury Television (CTV) building in urging Philippine authorities to exert all efforts to push for continued rescue operations in Christchurch , New Zealand .

The group said it has received information that there are nine International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Filipino students who are still unaccounted for.

Christchurch is a main destination for highly skilled Filipinos like IT specialists, aeronautical engineers, telecommunications technicians, nurses and accountants. Many Filipinos are also working as hospitality personnel in the city. Aside from the nurses reportedly trapped at the CTV building, they could be among those still trapped in other buildings.

George Misa, spokesperson, Migrante Aotearoa, said it was premature for the Philippine Embassy in Wellington NZ to claim there was no Filipino casualty.

“We urge the Philippine government to do its part to make sure Filipinos in Christchurch are all accounted for,” MIsa said.

Considering the economic cost of this disaster, New Zealand ’s worst in many decades, the Philippine government must also be prepared to assist Filipinos who might have lost jobs and be forced to return to the Philippines, MIsa said .

We also enjoin all Filipinos to continue praying for compatriots struggling to survive under the rubble.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, Migrante Aotearoa has been able to get news about affected compatriots in Christchurch through Facebook. Calling and texting, unless urgently needed, have been discouraged by Christchurch authorities because of the congestion in telecommunications systems,Misa said.-D’Jay Lazaro

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