According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, many Filipinos in Ukraine are still uncertain about coming home to the Philippines. They hope the tension between Russia and Ukraine will die down in the coming days.
Why Can’t Filipinos in Ukraine Leave Immediately?
There are many Filipinos in Ukraine and aware of the perils of Russia’s invasion. However, they cannot leave at once for sensible reasons. Some of them married Ukrainians and could not leave their families. Others work in the household service in Kyiv and will evacuate along with their employers.
“We have a lot of countrymen who are vacillating on whether to stay or to go because they are hoping that the situation in Ukraine will improve. For us, we need to know who they are and where they are in Ukraine, so if ever they need help we can easily get to them. We’re not forcing you to go home, but we hope that you can reach out to us,” said Sarah Lou Arriola, DFA Undersecretary for migrant workers’ affairs.
Arriola encourages the Filipinos in Ukraine to go home to the Philippines, and their Ukrainian spouses and children and the country will welcome them. The Philippine government asks them to return to the country because they don’t know what lies ahead in the coming days.
Filipinos in Ukraine Crossed Poland Border for Safety
There are 22 Filipinos who are waiting for repatriation. Four await in Lviv’s western city, 13 in Warsaw, Poland, and five in Moldova. Six have already rejoined their families in the Philippines.
Those who wait in Poland are preparing to go home. They crossed the Rava-Ruska-Hrebenne Border Crossing Station from Ukraine. From there they met Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. Philippine Ambassador to Poland Leah Basinang-Ruiz led the evacuees and at the same time oversees the sending home of the Filipinos in Ukraine.
“We are on high-alert 24/7 to ensure that Filipinos are safe in this conflict. Our embassies in Poland and Hungary have been working hard these past days to account for each Filipino in Ukraine, and to repatriate them as soon as possible. Our people only need to ask, and we will get them home safe,” Locsin said.
Philippines Keeps Alert Level 2
The Philippines keeps alert level 2 in spite of the intensifying crisis between Russia and Ukraine over the eastern European country. It orders Filipinos to restrict their movements, avoid going to public places, and ready themselves for evacuation.
According to Arriola, only the Foreign Affairs Secretary has the authority to escalate the alert level. It will only happen when there’s a “full-scale armed conflict” between Russia and Ukraine.
Clash Starts in Kyiv
The clash between troops started in Kyiv just hours following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced Russia’s invasion of the capital before dawn. Civilians brave the heavily-armed Russian troops and gathered assault rifles. The Ukrainian defense ministry compels them to make Molotov cocktails to counteract the enemy. The country’s troops vowed to continue battling against Russian forces.
Russia’s attack is the largest on a European state since World War II. It intimidates to subdue the continent’s post-Cold War order.
The DFA said that those who need repatriation assistance may contact the Philippine Embassy in Poland with the following contact information:
Emergency Mobile Number: +48 604 357 396
Office Mobile Number: +48 694 491 663
Philippine Honorary Consulate General in Kyiv,
Ukraine Mobile Number: +380 67 932 2588
Image Source: Mstyslav Chernov/Unframe (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0