MANILA, Mar 3 (Mabuhay) –No Ukrainian citizen has sought asylum in the Philippines yet, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

In a message to reporters, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Ukraninans fleeing from the war are welcome in the country for humanitarian reasons.

“So far, no Ukrainian citizen has sought asylum in the Philippines,” he said.

Ukraine is currently fending off attacks from Russia. The conflict has resulted in undetermined number of deaths to civilians and soldiers.

On Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order institutionalizing access to protection services for refugees, stateless persons, and asylum seekers.

Under the EO, the Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Unit of the DOJ is tasked to examine and process claims to refugee or stateless status.

“Should there be any, his/her application for refugee status will be evaluated in accordance with our laws and the recently signed executive order,” he said.

The EO defines a refugee as a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his or her former habitual residence as a result of such events is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it. (MNS)

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