Despite risks of catching Ebola Virus, only two out of 806 Filipino workers in West African countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have registered for repatriation to the Philippines.
The information was disclosed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday, November 6.
Earlier, the Philippine government raised alert level 3 over the three countries following the rising death toll due to Ebola virus. Alert level 3 calls for voluntary repatriation of all 806 Filipinos.
During a press briefing, DFA spokesman Charles Jose said: “It’s our mandate to look after their welfare and if in our assessment we determine there is a threat, it’s our responsibility to keep them out of harm’s way.”
Jose said the low number of Pinoys signing up for repatriation indicates that majority of them think they are relatively safe and are not at risk from the epidemic.
According to Jose, the DFA cannot force the Filipino workers to go home if they don’t want to since repatriation is an “individual decision”.
Most of the 806 overseas Filipino workers in the region are professionals, but none of them work in the health sector.
Training for Deployment
Despite the low turnout of Filipinos registering to return to the country, the government will be deploying a team to the region to assess the situation of Pinoys there. They are also anticipating that many Filipinos will change their decision and decide to go back to the Philippines.
“They are being sent there to assess the situation of Filipinos and to supplement the efforts of the Philippine Embassy in Abuja, which has jurisdiction over West Africa,” he said.
Upon arrival, Filipinos who will return home from the three West African countries will be obliged to undergo a three-week quarantine program.