Filipinos in Yemen urged to return home

08:23, June 22, 2011      

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The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs renewed on Tuesday its call to all remaining Filipinos in strife-torn Yemen to leave as soon as possible when tension in this Middle East state continues to escalate.

Since the government ordered the evacuation of all Filipinos in Yemen on May 30, only 178 of the estimated 1,200 Filipinos have returned home.

Manila raised the crisis alert level in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa to alert level 4 on June 6, where mandatory evacuation and repatriation at the expense of Philippine government is in effect. The government has also banned work deployment and all kinds of travel to the country.

Philippine ambassador-designate to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago, who leads a crisis team in Yemen, said Filipinos "should not wait until it is too late for them to leave Yemen."Manila does not have an embassy in Yemen.

Tago said most Filipinos refused to leave, saying their employers have a contingency plan for them if security conditions become worse.

Others, he added, are committed to fulfill their contractual obligation with their employer to get their salaries and benefits in full or are willing to stay as long as they are not in danger.

Tago said the Filipinos were advised to call the crisis teams in capital Sanaa and Aden if they feel unsafe in the area they are residing so they can be moved to a safe area.

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