overnment readies aid for Filipinos leaving Egypt

02/06/2011 - FILIPINOS coming home from Egypt, in light of the massive protests against President Hosni Mubarak, are assured of government assistance.

Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications and Strategic Development Office said on Saturday that skills training programs, among others, are to be offered to Filipinos coming home from the violence-stricken country.

“Meron naman tayong reintegration programs, ang Tesda may mga skills training, meron din entrepreneurship (programs) at meron namang pondo para magpautang sa mga small businesses,” said Carandang.

At least 26 Filipinos are expected to leave Egypt and arrive in the Philippines Sunday.

Twenty more have also availed of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) offer to come home. More than 6,500 Filipinos live in Egypt, mostly based in Cairo.

“For those who want to leave, the DFA has made arrangements and they can come home. For those who want to stay, we’re urging them to remain away from the areas where there are demonstrations,” added the Palace aide.

While the government has no control over the decisions of the Filipinos who may still wish to come back to Egypt after the protests, Carandang said that for the meantime, assistance will be provided for their livelihood.

Carandang also assured that the Philippine embassy in Egypt is working 24/7 to ensure the security of the Filipinos there, which they also report to the government.

“I can tell you, kahit 2 a.m., tumatawag ako sa embassy sa Egypt at lagging may sumasagot, lagi silang may report sa atin so maganda ang trabaho ng embassy natin sa Egypt,” he said.

The Palace is not hopeful that the unrest in Egypt will not end soon as Mubarak has not signified any intention to step down from his post despite the rallies against his 30-year rule.

It is, however, pleased that no untoward incident was reported during the massive protest organized Friday (Egypt time)(Sun Star)

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