DFA: Only 2 Out of 806 Pinoys in Ebola-Stricken States Have Registered for Repatriation

Only two out of 806 Filipino workers in Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa have so far registered for repatriation to the Philippines despite risks posed by the deadly virus, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.

“This is an indication that majority of Filipinos there think that they are not at risk and that they’re relatively safe,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose told a press briefing.

The Philippine government has raised Alert Level 3 over Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone last month as the Ebola death nears the 5,000 mark. Under this category, all 806 Filipinos there are urged to return home on a voluntary basis.

Despite the dismal turnout of Filipinos registering for evacuation, Jose said Manila will still deploy a team to the region next week, anticipating that many Filipinos will have a change of heart and decide to join in the government-organized repatriation to the Philippines.

“They are being sent there to assess the situation of Filipinos and to supplement the efforts of the Philippine Embassy in Abuja, which has jurisdiction over West Africa, Jose said.

“They are now undergoing the necessary training before their deployment,” Jose said, adding the team will also assist in the registration and repatriation of Filipinos.

Part of the DFA’s mandate, he said, is to look after the welfare and ensure the well-being of Filipino workers abroad, but in this instance, he noted the government can not force them to leave if they do not want to.

Manila raised the level of warning for fear that Filipinos may get infected by the virus that has swept through the African region.

Some cases have been reported in the United States, prompting countries like Canada and Australia to impose visa restrictions for nationals and residents of Ebola-stricken states.

Filipino evacuees from the three West African states, Jose said, would have to go through a 21-day quarantine at a government medical facility upon arrival

 (Source:  GMA News)

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