MANILA – Malacañang on Monday urged Filipinos in Afghanistan to prepare for repatriation after Alert Level 4 was raised in the wake of the Taliban’s stunning takeover.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque urged Filipinos to coordinate with the Philippine embassy in Pakistan, which has jurisdiction over Afghanistan, to facilitate their repatriation.
“Nanawagan tayo sa mga Pilipino. Nag-alert level 4 na po tayo. Gumagawa na po tayo ng hakbang para tuluyan kayong ma-repatriate. So pupuwede po kayong makipag-ugnayan sa ating embassy, para po kayo ay ma-repatriate na dito sa Pilipinas (We appeal to Filipinos, it is already alert level 4. Let us take steps to facilitate your repatriation. You can coordinate with our embassy there),” he said in a Palace press briefing.
Alert level 4 is raised when there is a large-scale internal conflict or full-blown external attack. Under this level, the government undertakes the mandatory evacuation of Filipinos in the area.
Citing the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Roque said 32 Filipinos have already been evacuated and are currently in Doha, Qatar awaiting their flight back home.
A group of 19 more Filipinos are also set to leave Afghanistan, he said.
According to DFA figures, there are an estimated 130 Filipinos in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Roque said he would leave it to the DFA to release a statement on matters concerning the entry of Taliban forces in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan on Sunday.
“Hindi ko po alam kung ano ang magiging desisyon ng ating pamahalaan pagdating sa Taliban regime, pero sa larangan po international law, hindi naman po element ng statehood ang recognition (I do not know what will be the decision of the government when it comes to the Taliban regime, but in the field of international law, recognition is not an element of statehood),” he said.
“Iyong recognition po ay just declaration na mayroon pang estado at iyong pagri-recognize ng isang gobyerno ay isang mensahe na handa tayong magkaroon ng bilateral relations doon sa bansang iyon. Iiwan ko na po iyan sa DFA iyang ganiyang desisyon (The recognition is just a declaration that there is a state and a government recognizing this is a message that we are ready to have bilateral relations with that country. We leave such matters to the DFA),” he added.
Since the US begins its final troop withdrawal from Afghanistan last May, the Taliban forces have started to swiftly seize several areas.
In just weeks, the Taliban has overrun most provinces with little resistance and on Sunday took over Kabul and the presidential palace.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, effectively collapsing the government, as chaos and fear gripped the capital and thousands tried to escape.
After entering Aghanistan's abandoned presidential palace, heavily-armed Taliban fighters announced the group's plans to rename the state as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
According to the Anadolu Agency report, a total of 64 countries signed a joint statement late Sunday calling for the safe and orderly departure of anyone who wants to leave Afghanistan.
Among the countries that signed the joint statement were Canada, France, Germany and the UK.
“Given the deteriorating security situation, we support, are working to secure, and call on all parties to respect and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country. Those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility—and accountability—for the protection of human life and property, and the immediate restoration of security and civil order,” said the statement.
“Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so; roads, airports and border crossings must remain open and calm must be maintained, The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. We in the international community stand ready to assist them,” it added. (PNA)