July 18, 2006 at 3:27 PM #36490
By JONATHAN VICENTE, The Manila Times Reporter
The government can only afford to evacuate the Filipinos trapped in strife-torn Lebanon by land, a more dangerous option than bringing them out by sea.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is looking for buses and trucks to ferry the Filipinos wishing to leave Lebanon to neighboring Syria, Assistant Secretary Gilbert Asuque, DFA spokesman, said Tuesday.
Records showed 30,000 Filipinos are working and living in Lebanon, many of whom want to get out before the conflict escalates.
Asuque said the Philippine Embassy in Beirut has suggested chartering a ship to take the Filipinos to Cyprus.
He said evacuation by sea is safer than by land. Presidential Chief of Staff Mike Defensor said, however, that the sea passage would cost more, and the government has to work within a budget of $500,000.
The fare for each Filipino would be $300 to $400, Defensor said.
He acknowledged that evacuating the Filipinos by land was riskier.
What’s more, only 100 people could be evacuated by land at a time, Defensor said.
Asuque said Manila is negotiating with the warring sides in Lebanon to grant the vehicles ferrying Filipinos safe passage.
Ambassador Roy Cimatu, special envoy for the Presidential Middle East Preparedness Team, is going to Cyprus to look for a ship they can charter, Asuque said.
Defensor said the suggestion to use Philippine Air Force C-130 transport planes to fetch the Filipinos was also turned down because the government will have to spend P280,000 for every hour of flight at 100 persons for every trip.
Evacuation must be made soon
Asuque said whatever the route Manila decides, the evacuation has to be made in the next few days because the embassy in Lebanon was preparing to raise the alert level to four, the highest degree of emergency.
He said about 120 Filipinos facing immigration cases in Lebanon and who are now at the Miraculous Medal Church in Beirut, about eight kilometers from the Philippine Embassy, could be the first to leave.
Some Filipino workers face a problem with their travel documents, having been left behind by their Lebanese employers who fled without giving them back their passports.
Defensor said abandoned Filipino workers were advised to proceed to any of the three churches in Beirut’s Christian district designated as relocation areas.
Lenard Ayo, who has been working as a cook for 14 years in a Japanese restaurant in Beirut, bore out the problem.
He said among the immediate concern of the Filipinos in Lebanon is their passports.
Interviewed over radio station DZMM Tuesday, Ayo is worried that his continued stay in Beirut could be jeopardized in the absence of his passport.
Embassy could not be contacted
He also expressed dismay that Filipino workers in Lebanon could not contact any of the consulate and embassy officials because the embassy has only two telephone lines, which are always busy.
Asuque said 120 Filipinos were staying at the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church, which is run by a Filipino priest.
Speaker Jose de Venecia said he was working on a plan to move Filipinos to northern Beirut in the seat of the Maronite Catholic Church under Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Butros Sfeir in Bkerki.
Sfeir is a member of the College of the Cardinals and heads the 900,000-member Maronite Catholic Church.
De Venecia worked throughout Monday to put in place the contingency plan to relocate as many as 10,000 Filipinos to Bkerki.
“This contingency plan is to evacuate our OFWs and their families to the high mountains in northern Beirut, instead of evacuation under the most dangerous condition by air, which is impossible, or by sea to Cyprus,” de Venecia said.
The safest way
“This plan is the safest route of evacuation at no cost to the government,” he said.
De Venecia said the road from Beirut to Syria is dangerous because it goes through the Bekaa Valley, which is “dangerously exposed” to rocket attacks, while the route from Beirut to Cyprus is a six-hour voyage by sea that is “extremely dangerous.”
The Saint Joseph Church and other Catholic churches in Beirut could not accommodate all Filipinos seeking refuge from the fighting, he added.
The DFA said almost all of the 34,000 documented Filipinos in Lebanon are working in the households of Maronite Christians in Beirut.
De Venecia’s evacuation plan was done upon consultations with Vice-President Noli de Castro and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.
De Venecia noted the evacuation plan could be activated, while the Western powers and international agencies like the Red Cross and Red Crescent could carry out emergency plans to rescue foreigners trapped in the fresh fighting that has already claimed more than 200 lives in south Beirut.
With Sam Mediavilla and Maricel V. Cruz
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MGA USMAK NA LIDER,TIPAKI NA SO MGA NA CORRUPT NINDO!!!!
July 18, 2006 at 12:26 PM #36487
Tama ka po diyan Manoy Pete …. U.A.E, sure kong punok diyan… I am missing ABU DHABI… so much!
July 18, 2006 at 11:25 AM #36485
pagmati ko si bichara ang ginibong ambassador sa lebanon ta lebanese baga ang mga bichara. herak man ang mga tugang ta diyan ta giyera na naman. pero mapondo man giraray ang iriwal diyan pag dakol na ang gadan. tapos mga pirang taon, maporoon na naman. dai na nag-orontok. kung ako yaon diyan, ma-iskusar na ako nin mababalyohan sa mga toninong na lugar arog kan uae, dubai, qatar.
July 18, 2006 at 9:18 AM #36480
Ika man nanggad naisip ko, ta narumduman ko naistorya mo na site nindo ang Lebanon for some building construction, marhay ngani nakaluwas ka. Herak man so nawalat nindo, I hope they will have the chance to go back to Saudi Arabia, sabagay, company man nindo matabang sainda bako man so inutil tang Embassy [hare ka Noy Bikolano baga ang Ambassador duman, sabi si Al Bichara daa, dating Governor gari iyan kan Albay]. Hilingon ta daw ngunian ang “orag” kan satong pig-papara-suportahan tang gobyerno, thru our remittances kung may maginibo man lamang:), matitibay sana mag-bilang kang mga US$$ na padara kan mga OFWs.
July 18, 2006 at 9:10 AM #36479
Hay salamat ta dai ako inabutan ning war sa lebanon, pero si duma me pang engineer nawalat pa duman pati duwang karpentero. si pig gibo ming mall dikitan pa daang tamaan. dakol kita duman mga kababayan na may mga kaso na gusto naman makauli.kung mapadara si ate glo ning eroplano para kuanon sinda, chance na ini ninda na maka uli.magayon talagang lugar ang lebanon kaya pig aaragawan kan mga kataning na bansa,pero kadakulang kan mga kababayan ta duman nag titios talaga sa mga amo ninda, mala ngani tasi mga nakasabay me sa airport na mga babae(mostly maid)siguro mga 15 sinda, 3 lang ang mayong tama sa hawak.igwa ning pig plansa sa likod, igwa ning binugbog ang grabe so pig rape.pabaya talaga ang mga opisyalis ta duman.
July 18, 2006 at 6:30 AM #36475
Philippines’ special envoy to the Middle East Roy Cimatu warned Filipinos, particularly those working near military installations and Israel-Lebanon border, to avoid going around the city until the situation stabilizes.
The ambassador also advised Filipinos bound for Lebanon to coordinate with their agencies and cancel their flights because the airport has been closed.
Amo baga yun su adviced ni Roy Cimatu (The PGMA appointee as Special Envoy to Middle East – a created position just to accomodate the former military general) sa satuyang mga pobreng kababayan natin sa Lebanon.
What a kind and stupid advice from the so called expert in crisis management. Bako man baga patal kan mga pinoy. Bakit naman mamamasyal kapa eh geyera na ngani — common sense baga yan! Kaya ngani sinarado na su airport dahil amo ngani kadtu unang binanatan ng mga Israel.
Pwedi nya man baga sabihon sa mga OFW duman na maging listo sa bawat sitwasyon at mag-ingat and assure them that helps is coming there soon!
Hay naku, I wonder why a General couldn’t handle properly a Major problem like this!
July 18, 2006 at 5:59 AM #36469
Manay Rose, kaya man palan niyako todokon nang-gad sa boot mo ang saimong mga journals/postings ta naka experience ka na palan na yaon sa war-zone (naka-aguing Gulf war). Makatakoton baga talaga, garo na ngane kamposantongdaeng celebrasyonsu atmosphere ka-idto, na puro gabos nasa accomodation sana nag lilimok-limok.
Tama ka tabi, na sana matawan ang kadaklan ki disenteng trabaho, na kung saen man, su mga tawo, aware man kan saidang contribusyon sa komunidad (paying taxes) tapos maguing conscious man sinda na dae na mag-para-aki pa kung dae ng ipapakaon. Saka naman ang pro-creation kun kayang sustenaran kan mag-agom.
Kaya lang, su pondo man para sa mga munisipyo, si-siba siba man kan mga unason. Makayuyogto!
July 18, 2006 at 5:59 AM #36468
i just hope na ligtas man lugod an satong mga kababayan na yaon sa Lebanon,
LALONG-LALO NA AN FAMILY KHALAF NA MGA TAGA-DUMAN, na mayong tyansa na makahali sa lugar ninda!
Mapundo naman lugod an kariribukan na iyan para sa ika-pupunok kan gabos!
July 18, 2006 at 5:22 AM #36466
I was in Jubail Manoy Claro during the Gulf War:) gari na baga sea of armour cars so hampang kang hospital mi, tapos for every position sa hospital may counter part na Americans.
Just imagine the scenario na sa situation ngunian sa Pilipinas na kadakol ang daing trabaho tapos mauli pa so almost 30,000 sa Lebanon, sain maduman idto, kaya dai man ako mangalas na i-prefer na sana kan mga kababayan ta na mag stay sa war zone kaysa magutom sa sadiring bansa. Maski kuta bakong masyadong halangkaw ang suweldo but at least a job for everybody then a reasonable cost of living, na ang suweldo puwedeng ibuhay ki pamilya,ok naman kuta, kaya lang mabalik na naman ako sa dati, sana daing corrupt government officials, I guess maski pano kuta ok man, pero dreaming the impossible an. Pa-umbasan ma elect to any public office to have a bigger portion of the cake, cake na bako man sinda nag bake:))
July 18, 2006 at 3:42 AM #36463
Manay Rose, na basa ko online may casualty ng Pinay. herak man, sana buhay siya. Naromdoman ko logod kan Gulf War yaon ako duman sa Al-Khobar nagpapaka-kan kan mga amerikanong naka-assign sa pag maintain kan mga military equipment, na nasanayan ko na sana baga kung mina-agi ang scud missles na pig-salubong man kan patriot. gusto ko man umuli, nasa-sayang ako kan earnings ko, ta pa-no man su mga pigpapa-escuela ko. Similarly, arog man ka ini an feeling kan mga kababayan ta duman sa Lebanon. Hilinga ngane baga, aram ta nang makatakoton sa Iraq, segi pa su mga makosog ang bo-ot na mag-trabaho duman. No-arin daw malang-kaw man ang sueldo ta sa Pinas, na kung halangkaw sana lamang, dakolon ang dae maralarga. Sisay baya ang gustong baya-an ang mga mahal sa buhay? Back na naman kita sa square one – an satuyang ekonomiya dapat talagang ma-improve ( using drastic measures. it may have its initial negative impact, but on the long run, maray ang magiging resulta, sana (ulit) ).
July 18, 2006 at 12:17 AM #36455
@ Kami pong mga OFWs digdi sa GCC countries [Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait], dai pa man po affected kan giyera sa Lebanon, we are far from that area, kaya so may relatives po digdi dai kamo maghadit.
Ang medyo makaherak lang po so yaon duman sa Lebanon, Israel, Syria [ and Iraq of course]. As usual as slow as the turtle ang satong gobyerno sa paghero kaya hilinga na an ta nalaom so satong mga kababayan na OFW sa Lebanon and Syria. Bata baga so Ambassador duman sarong Bicolano si Al Bichara, makasupog lamang!
I guess I have to mention, ining UAE pag abot sa pagtabang sa mga nationals ninda maski ngani ibang nationalities, right after the 1st day kan bombing, nagpadara tulos ki 8 planes everyday so UAE para magkua ki stranded na Emirates and other nationalities [na may visa sa UAE] para ibalik sa UAE, maski ngani so iba daing ticket sa eroplano sige sana so kua kan eroplano sa pasiring sa UAE. See how it works kung ang gobyerno may kunsensiya. Ang nangyari sa mga Filipinos duman, naghalat nguna na mag-grabe bago nag-gibo ki paraan, it is really so disappointing sa mga arog samong OFWs, kaya ngani we all have to be self-sufficient here, and don’t depend to any one, lalo na sa mga emergency cases.
So mga OFWs tabi na harane sa giyera, just take care and God Bless you all!
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