Partido Reporma standard-bearer Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Sunday said the government to take all the necessary measures to protect Filipinos in Ukraine and any other possible effects on the country’s economy should Russia invade Ukraine.
Lacson noted there are some 380 Filipinos who are living in Ukraine, based on official figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), thus the government should be proactive in approaching the issue and take all the necessary measures to protect them there like what other nations have already been doing.
Apart from the US and Great Britain, several other European Union member states like Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Netherlands already advised their citizens to leave Ukraine. Australia, Israel, Japan, Norway and New Zealand have also issued similar advisories to their citizens in Ukraine, according to reports.
The senator said the Philippine government should lose no time in preparing safety nets to protect Filipinos from a possible economic fallout caused by Russia’s “imminent” invasion of Ukraine.
“We might think that Ukraine is far away, and that there is no danger for the Philippines, but we are all living in a global village. What is happening in Ukraine may create instability and other potential flashpoints in the world including that of our region,” Lacson said.
During an interview with the Manila Bulletin last month, Lacson made known his anti-war stance on the Russo-Ukrainian conflict and hopes that other power nations, particularly the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) could intervene to prevent it from happening.
Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, said the ongoing crisis in Ukraine after the annexation of Crimea by Russia “could trigger a third world war” which the world just cannot afford to have right now.
“I hope it does not escalate any further because nobody wins in a world war, we all know that—first world war, second world war—and we cannot afford, especially a warfare this modern? We cannot afford a third world war,” Lacson told the Manila Bulletin in a January 28 interview.
The senator said the government must prepare a contingency plan should there be a possible global economic fallout from an imminent invasion of Ukraine as he expressed fears of a potential spill over effect on the ongoing conflict across Europe.
“An invasion of Ukraine may adversely affect the stock markets all over the world. Prices of basic commodities and fuel may increase. We need to be prepared for this, not to mention that we are still suffering from the pandemic and are far from economic recovery,” he noted.
“We hope that there are contingency plans for potential increases in prices, disruptions in supply chains and possible repatriation of Filipinos not just in Ukraine, but in neighboring countries as well,” Lacson said.