13 Filipinos from Ukraine to arrive Tuesday night: DFA

Domestic Affairs

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has confirmed that 13 Filipinos from Ukraine have departed the Warsaw Chopin Airport and will arrive in Manila on Tuesday night.

“Mula po ngayon ay en route na to the Philippines. Kahapon ay naihatid natin sila sa airport (They are currently en route to the Philippines. Yesterday, we accompanied them to the airport). They’re really looking forward to going home to their families,” Philippine Ambassador to Poland Leah Basinang-Ruiz said in a Laging Handa briefing.

The group was part of the 40 evacuees who left Kyiv for Lviv and was welcomed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. at the Poland-Ukraine border.

The Philippine Embassy in Warsaw facilitated their travel and flight documents, as well as their stay in a hotel in the Polish capital.

All the repatriation expenses, including transport expenses from Kyiv to Warsaw, food, and accommodation in Lviv and Warsaw, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, and airfare to Manila were likewise shouldered by the DFA’s Assistance to Nationals fund.

This batch will bring to 19 the total number of Filipinos to be repatriated since tensions started in Ukraine.

The first six arrived in Manila on February 18.

Basinang-Ruiz said more Filipinos from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and other parts of that country are expected to arrive in the city of Lviv where the Philippine Embassy has set up their temporary base.

“Kung hindi man ngayong araw, sa Wednesday tutulak naman sila from Lviv at magko-cross ng border patungong Warsaw. So, nakahanda na ang ating accommodation doon at ibu-book natin sila ng flight (If not today, maybe by Wednesday they’ll be able to cross the border from Lviv to Warsaw. Their accommodation in Warsaw is ready and we will book their flights),” she said.

Out of the estimated 350 Filipinos in Ukraine, Basinang-Ruiz said 215 have reached out to the embassy.

She said some, especially those with families in Ukraine, are still reluctant to go home.

Basinang-Ruiz, however, assured that the embassy remains ready to repatriate them when they want or extend any assistance they may need.

“Ina-assure namin sa kanila na hindi namin sila iiwanan (We assure them that we will not leave them behind),” she said.

Crime against humanity

Muntinlupa City Representative Ruffy Biazon praised the Philippine stand to condemn the attack in Ukraine during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Monday night.

Biazon said the Philippines should stand by its commitment to the UN in upholding the sovereignty of states as well as their political independence and territorial integrity.

“I support the statement issued by the Philippines on the matter of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, particularly its call for the cessation of hostilities and the preservation of civilians and civilian infrastructures, especially those that are part of Ukraine’s culture and heritage. They are, after all, not just for the Ukranians but for humanity as well,” Biazon said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We must remember that the Philippines may someday avail the support or assistance of the community of nations if we fall victim to territorial aggression by other countries,” he added.

The Philippines also condemned the use of “separatism and secession as a weapon of diplomacy for inviting and inflicting terrible cruelties and indiscriminate killings far in excess of that of any other kind of conflict.”

Source: Philippines News Agency