OFW BAN: Philippines Warns Citizens About South Sudan

A man from Dinka tribe holds a rifle in a cattle-herders camp near Rumbek in central South Sudan on Dec. 14 - Reuters/Goran Tomasevic.  

The Philippines Government yesterday said it was ready to repatriate Philippine Nationals wanting to escape the violence in South Sudan and urging the compatriots not to travel to the troubled East African country.

Foreign affairs spokesman and assistant Minister Raul Hernandez said in a statement that Philippine National in South Sudan could ask for repatriation assistance from the Philippine embassy in Kenya or from the rapid response team the Philippine government was dispatched since Monday night (December 23, 2013).

"A total OFW (overseas Filipino workers) deployment ban will also be imposed," said Mr. Hernandez.

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Mr. Hernandez said there are an estimated 95 Philippine Nationals working in South Sudan, with 23 of them on their way to Kenya while 15 are already in Uganda and the remaining 57 are still in the troubled South Sudan.

"Those who are in Kenya are planning to return to the Philippines while the OFWs now in Uganda intend to stay there until the security situation in South Sudan becomes stable," he added.

He said eight Filipino workers will soon be evacuated by their employers from South Sudan while the Philippine embassy is trying to book a Manila-bound flight for five others. He added that the government is verifying a report that an undetermined number of Filipinos have recently evacuated to Khartoum in Sudan.

"Efforts are now under way to locate these groups and the remaining OFWs in South Sudan," Mr. Hernandez said.

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Fighting in South Sudan between the forces of President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar, broke out in the East African capital of Juba earlier this month and has spread across the world's newest nation. Several nations have evacuated their citizens from South Sudan.

Mr. Hernandez said the Philippines has already requested the Ugandan government to allow Filipinos to stay within its territory. He said the Philippine embassy in Uganda and the country's honorary consul will assist Filipinos leaving South Sudan. – Wall Street Journal

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