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DFA, DOLE ready to assist Sri Lanka-based Filipinos who want to come home

Philstar.com
DFA, DOLE ready to assist Sri Lanka-based Filipinos who want to come home
University students and police clash during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the country's crippling economic crisis, in Colombo on May 19, 2022.
AFP / Ishara S. Kodikara

MANILA, Philippines — While it has yet to receive repatriation requests, the Department of Foreign Affairs said it is prepared to assist home any Filipino based in Sri Lanka, which is currently facing its worst economic crisis.

In a statement published late Tuesday evening through its OFW Help page, the department said it is already coordinating with its foreign service posts as well as the Filipino community leaders there.

“For now, most of the OFWs are still able to continue their employment despite the on-going crisis,” the department said.

“Should circumstances necessitate the return to the Philippines of OFWs, this will be coordinated by all concerned agencies, led by the DFA and the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment),” it added.

Sri Lanka is under its worst economic crisis since it became independent from Britain in 1948, experiencing record inflation with a national consumer price index going up 33.8% year on year in April. There have been reports of food, fuel, and medicine shortages as well as long periods without electricity.

READ: ‘We are going to die’: Sri Lanka warns of food shortages

The country had recently hiked its fuel prices to a record high, which may push inflation to rise further in May. Officials reported that bus and taxi fares have surged 50% since. 

Its economy has collapsed since the pandemic struck in 2020, affecting even foreign worker remittances.

READ: Explainer: How Sri Lanka spiralled into crisis

However, the Philippine Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh and the Philippine Honorary Consulate in Colombo has yet to receive repatriation requests from OFWs there. — Kaycee Valmonte with Agence France Presse

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