The Philippine government prioritizes the safety of estimated 1,000 OFWs in Syria.
In a press briefing, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque emphasized that they are ensuring the safety of the Filipino migrant workers on Syria’s allegedly chemical weapon attack against the US.
The Philippines has not issued any statement on US led-airstrike against Syria. However, Roque claimed Malacanang will be releasing a policy statement soon.
“Inaatupag muna po natin iyong kanilang kaligtasan at saka na po tayo gagawa ng policy statement pagdating mismo doon sa isyu ng pagbobomba ng Syria.”
Roque also cited the United Nations Charter and claimed that the use of force should be authorized by the Security Council which is to quote “subject to a growing recognition of an exception not fully recognized as of yet under international law which is the responsibility to protect.”
“So bina-balanse po ng gobyerno natin iyang mga ganyang mga pananaw,” Roque added.
In previous reports, President Duterte said he would not allow Filipino troops to be involved in the conflict between US and Syria unless the Philippines is under direct threat. Plan to deploy troops to Syria once asked by US, Roque said he will have to wait for instructions coming from Duterte.
Last Saturday, Filipinos are advised by the Department of Foreign Affairs to remain indoors, exercise vigilance and to avoid unnecessary travels as there was a joint airstrikes by the US, Britain and France.
On the other hand, the Philippine Embassy in Syria also issued advisories to Filipinos amidst the military action against Syria for allegedly pressing on chemical attacks in Douma and the mortar shelling of certain parts of Damascus recently.
The President of the United States, Donald Trump claimed the airstrikes will not stop until Syria under the government of President Bashar-al-Assad will cease the use of chemical weapons.
Meanwhile, Syria remains under crisis alert level 4. It is the highest warning given by the Philippines on countries which puts Filipinos at high risk due to conflict or disasters. For unknown reasons, many Filipinos still opted to remain in Syria.
In 2011, there were 17,000 Filipinos in Syria when a civil war erupted.