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14 detained Pinoys in Russia released

MANILA, Philippines - Fourteen of 17 Filipino workers detained in Moscow have been released after Russian authorities found they were victims of illegal recruitment.

The Philippine embassy in Moscow said the 14 Filipino workers were detained on May 16 and released the next evening.

Authorities are now coordinating with the embassy to address the workers’ concerns while three other Filipinos remain in custody.

The embassy estimates there are 8,000 Filipinos in Russia.

It made urgent representations with Russian officials and continues to do so for the remaining three detainees, in close coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of Migrant Workers Affairs.

The Philippine embassy was constantly in touch with the detainees, providing them food and making sure that they were treated well.

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“In our discussion with Russian authorities, we emphasized that the detainees are victims and not criminals. They are victims of illegal recruitment and should not be punished. They should be set free,” Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said.

“Filipinos in Russia obey the laws, are hardworking and do not cause problems. There is also a lot of goodwill between the Philippines and Russia today, increasing prospects for cooperation in a wide range of areas. These factors helped us secure the release of our Filipino workers,” Sorreta said.

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