Press Release
July 19, 2006


Senator Bong Revilla Jr. today urgently calls for the evacuation of all Filipino overseas workers in Lebanon as the bombing continues to pound in the said country. Revilla is deeply alarmed over the belated response of the government on evacuating the more than 30, 000 OFWs trapped there. He said other countries like France and the United States have immediately sent boats for their nationals to evacuate to safer grounds as early as Sunday, while the rest of our countrymen are lost as to what safety plans our government has for them.

We need to send our own chartered boats or planes to Beirut no matter how costly it is because its the only immediate way to get our countrymen to safer grounds. I hope the Department of Foreign Affairs would not grapple with their assessment anymore on the safety and security of our OFWs as they did over the past few days. Tens of thousands of lives are at stake here. Revilla referred to an earlier statement by a DFA official last Monday that there is no widespread movement yet and Filipinos had been advised to stay put and wait for instructions. This is not very reassuring to our countrymen who are already facing dangers right before their very eyes. What we need right now is a concrete plan of action.

Revilla said not only the Filipinos trapped in Lebanon are gripped with fear and confusion, but also the families they left here in the country. With chaos reigning in Lebanon, it is very important that our Filipinos get assurance from their government and their loved ones that everything is being done to bring them to safety. Likewise, the families here need to be assured also of the safety of their relatives who are currently in Lebanon. With this, Revilla appeals to all the major telecommunications company to open hotlines to Lebanon where Filipino OFWs and their families can avail of free calls to assure each other of their safety and to keep them updated of the situation. I really am counting that our major telecoms would mobilize their teams and provide public service in trying times such as this. This is part not only of their corporate responsibility but it is also part of their humanitarian service to their fellow Filipinos who have patronized and embraced their companies.

As this develops, Revilla joins the international community in calling for a ceasefire from the Israeli government even for just a day to give time for evacuation of those who are non-Lebanese. Of course, we plea for these bombing to stop not only for the sake of our own people but also for all nationals trapped in there.

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