MANILA, Mar 11 (Mabuhay) — A total deployment ban to Ukraine is “forthcoming” amid Russia’s military action there, the head of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said Friday.

OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the ban will be issued by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

“Sa ngayon, Alert level 4 ang itinaas ni [Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.]. Of course, yung pagtaas niyan means mandatory repatriation (For now, Alert Level 4 was raised by Locsin. Of course, it means mandatory repatriation),” he said.

“So what’s forthcoming is sa POEA magkakaroon ng deployment ban, total deployment ban (POEA will impose a total deployment ban). For the meantime, mandatory repatriation,” he added.

The DFA raised Alert Level 4 in Ukraine on March 7 due to the deteriorating security situation that threatens the safety of Filipinos there.

Ukraine was home to nearly 400 Filipinos and since the war broke out, the Philippine government was able to bring home dozens of Filipinos from the eastern European state.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), a total of 169 Filipinos have been evacuated since Russia launched its operations in Ukraine in late February.

Cacdac said 114 Filipinos have been repatriated since the start of the invasion.

“Patuloy pa ang repatriation. Higit kumulang, sa bilang namin, 114 na ang na-repatriate kasi meron nang at least eight batches na dumating, mga seafarers and land-based workers,” he said.

Meanwhile, a total of 259 Filipino received help from the government amid the conflict, the DFA said.

On Thursday, Manila’s top diplomat to Washington said President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his willingness to open Philippine facilities to the United States military if the Russian-Ukraine crisis spills over to Asia.

“He says if they’re asking for the support of the Philippines he was very clear that if push comes to shove the Philippines will be ready to be part of the effort especially if this Ukrainian crisis spills over to the Asian region,” Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez said.

“He offered that the Philippines will be ready to open its doors especially to our ally the US in using our facilities, any facilities they may need,” he added.

The Philippines joined 140 countries in denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine before the United Nations, expressing “explicit condemnation” against “the use of force against the political independence and territorial integrity of any state.” (MNS)

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