August 28, 2013
In case families of OFWs remaining in Syria find it difficult to get through the DFA’s hotlines, they can also call the Ople Center through its hotline: 833-5337 or send an SMS to +639158435498 to pass on information and messages that can result in the rescue and repatriation of their loved ones.
The Ople Center will share such information immediately with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Embassy in Damascus, Syria and the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA).
OFW advocate Susan Ople who heads the Ople Center also called on local governments to reach out to constituents with relatives in Syria to inform them about the need for such information so that the rapid response team of the Philippine Embassy in Damascus can locate and rescue their loved ones.
“It is important for all stakeholders to help the government help our OFWs in Syria in a calm, sober manner. Priority should be given to the smooth flow of information between OFW families, the OFWs there, and our embassy personnel as well as the DFA and DoLE. Such information should include the hotlines that these families could call, as well as updates coming from our own embassy in Syria as confirmed by the DFA and DoLE,” Ople said.
“Four warships armed with US missiles are already in place in Syria and the Syrian government has vowed to retaliate. Russia, a strong ally of Syria, has issued a stern warning against such military action by the US and its allies. Now, more than ever, our OFWs must work closely with our embassy in Damascus, and vice-versa, to ensure swift and safe repatriation.”
“We call on everyone to include our embassy personnel and thousands of OFWs still in Syria in their prayers. Let’s continue to pray for peace here at home and elsewhere in the world including in strife-torn Syria and Egypt.”
Ople said all Philippine embassies and consulates in countries bordering Syria must also be on high alert and should be prepared to implement its own contingency plans in case the air strikes lead to a full-blown war that could spread to or adversely affect other countries in the Middle East.