PH to stop deployment, prevent trafficking of Filipinos in Afghanistan

Published August 16, 2021, 1:18 PM

by Roy Mabasa

With efforts to extricate the remaining Filipinos now underway in Kabul hours after the capitol falls to the Taliban, the Philippines is preparing to shut down future deployment of OFWs and prevent possible trafficking of workers to Afghanistan.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. made this statement on Monday while the Philippine Embassy in Pakistan is exploring all avenues of cooperation with foreign governments and international partners to provide the remaining Filipinos in Afghanistan “immediate and safe passage”.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We’re already out there. Islamabad PE (Philippine Embassy) handles Kabul. When the last Filipino is out; we’re shutting down that aspect as well. Now the job is to prevent Filipino trafficking to that place. I don’t think we had any under the Taliban,” Locsin said in a tweet.

On August 15, 2021, the Department of Foreign has issued Alert Level 4 or mandatory evacuation or repatriation for Filipinos in Afghanistan due to the simmering political situation and weeks after United States President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of US forces from the South Asian country.

Shortly after the hoisting of Alert Level 4, the DFA said they have safely evacuated 32 Filipinos to Doha, Qatar and are currently awaiting their flight back to Manila.

Another group composed of 19 Filipinos are also set to leave Kabul immediately, according to the DFA.

DFA Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy Eduardo Meñez said that about 80 Filipinos still remaining in Afghanistan are now in contact with the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad.

In a radio interview on Monday, Joseph Glenn Gumpal, a Filipino community leader in Kabul, said they have been calling the Philippine Embassy to follow up the evacuation plan for the remaining Filipinos while other foreign governments are already conducting their own contigency measures to extrictae their nationals out of Afghanistan at the soonest possible time.

Aside from the Philippines, other countries that are either evacuating or relocating their respective nationals out of Kabul following the Taliban takeover are the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Norway, Australia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Switzerland and the Netherlands, among others.