DFA to exhaust all avenues to repatriate remaining Filipinos in Afghanistan

Published August 18, 2021, 9:41 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said it is working to secure the safe passage of Filipinos and making other forms of coordination as needed to overcome challenges posed by the “uncertain situation” following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

In a statement, the DFA also appealed to all the remaining Filipinos in Afghanistan who have not yet registered their intent to be repatriated to do so “immediately”.

“The Department continues to exhaust all avenues to assure the safety of the remaining Filipinos in Afghanistan, even as the situation on the ground remains uncertain,” the foreign affairs office said.

The DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad is working alongside the country’s Foreign Service Posts in the repatriation efforts, and to secure movement within Kabul, access to the airport, and the availability of flights.

The government is also coordinating flights back to the Philippines for all those who are able to independently leave Afghanistan via 3rd countries.

According to the DFA, the scheduled evacuation of Filipino workers from Afghanistan Tuesday night has been deferred after hordes of crowds overran the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in panic, affecting commercial flights in the ensuing confusion and chaos.

Filipino expatriate Joseph Glenn Gumpal confirmed in a Middle East-based newspaper that the Philippine Airlines flight chartered by the DFA to pick up the remaining Filipinos expatriates was deferred “because the airplane could not land” in Kabul.

Gumpal is the president of the Filipino expatriate community Samahang Pilipino sa Afghanistan (SPA) and is among those who signed up with the Philippine Embassy for the repatriation flight from the Afghanistan capital.

On Tuesday, 35 Filipinos from Afghanistan arrived in Manila on board a chartered flight via Doha, Qatar.

The 35 Filipinos were mostly employees of the United States Embassy in Kabul.