DFA raises highest alert level in Syria

Posted at 12/22/11 4:21 PM

Mandatory repatriation for 5,000 Filipinos in Syria

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government raised alert level 4 in Syria, the highest alert level that calls for a mandatory repatriation of Filipinos following the escalating violence in the country.
“In view of the escalating violence in Syria, the Department of Foreign Affairs will be raising Alert Level 4 for the entire country of Syria effective today,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.
Under crisis alert level 4, mandatory repatriation will be implemented at Philippine government’s expense. Filipinos are enjoined to leave Syria immediately. 
Violence has been escalating in Syria in recent days. Reuters reported that Syrian forces on Tuesday killed 111 people ahead of the start of a mission to monitor President Bashar al-Assad's implementation of an Arab League peace plan, bringing the death toll reported by activists in the last 48 hours to over 200.
“I have directed the Department’s Executive Director for Migrant Workers Affairs, Ambassador Ricardo M. Endaya, to leave immediately for Syria and to assist our Philippine Embassy in Damascus in the immediate repatriation of our fellow Filipinos there,” del Rosario added.
The Embassy has been closely monitoring developments in the country, and has briefed the members of the Filipino community on the Embassy’s contingency plans. Alert level 3 was raised last August. 
“I have likewise instructed our embassy to assess the situation and submit daily reports, and an action and financial plan for the full implementation of Alert Level 4,” the DFA Secretary said.
Filipinos in Syria are advised to keep their communication lines open with the embassy and their community coordinators and likewise inform them of their whereabouts. They are further advised to contact the embassy so that arrangements could be made for their immediate repatriation.
Last week, the embassy repatriated some 51 Filipinos, bringing the total number of Filipinos repatriated from Syria to 383 as of December 16. There are some 5,000 Filipinos registered at the embassy in Damascus.
The Embassy’s hotline number is 00-963-116-132626. Families may also e-mail their requests and concerns through the Embassy’s e-mail address [email protected] 
In Manila, the DFA also activated hotline numbers for families of Filipinos based in Syria, at 834-3245 and 834-3240.