MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs is cautious about raising the crisis alert level in Ebola-hit countries.
“We are still waiting for all mechanisms to be put in place before we actually implement this alert level 3,” said DFA Assistant Secretary Charles Jose.
Jose clarified that they are still waiting for word from concerned agencies on where the quarantine facility will be for Filipinos who voluntarily come home from Ebola-hit countries.
He said raising Alert Level 3 calls not just for the voluntary repatriation of some 600 to 700 Filipinos working in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but also means a deployment ban will be in place.
“Many of them have already expressed their concern that if we raise Alert Level 3–this means total deployment ban. Some of them if they are coming back from Christmas vacation, they won’t be able to go back because they would not be allowed,” he said.
Jose said they need a delicate balance between protecting the workers’ health and helping them keep their jobs.
“We’d like our nationals there to voluntarily leave the country so they won’t be exposed. We would like to put them out of harm’s way,” he said.
But since Alert Level 3 is voluntary repatriation, Jose said “at the end of the day, it is still their decision whether or not they would like to come home or remain where they are”.