Press Release
January 15, 2010


After the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed almost 500,000, Senator Loren Legarda called on the DEPARTMENT of Foreign Affairs to expedite the search for missing Filipinos in the war-torn, disaster-stricken country.

"I extend my deepest sympathies to the victims and their families, and I call on the DFA to move fast, find out the whereabouts of all the Filipinos in Haiti and ensure their welfare," said Legarda.

There are almost 500 members of the Filipino community in Haiti, who are missionaries or employed in the garments, power and telecommunications sector.

"Our kababayans in Haiti, especially those in the peacekeeping forces, have chosen to leave the comforts of their home in the Philippines to do the noble task of keeping the peace in a war-torn country. It is our responsibility to them and their families in these times of disaster to make sure they are safe," she said.

The Filipino peacekeepers, tasked to provide security and support services to Minustah headquarters, were working with peacekeepers from other member-states in the recovery effort and in securing the area.

As of the latest count, 36 U.N. staffers, police and peacekeepers have been confirmed dead and up to 160 remain missing in the rubble.

The Philippine Mission to Haiti reported yesterday that it has accounted for all Filipino peacekeepers serving in Haiti but that four remained trapped inside the UN headquarters that collapsed following the massive tremor that hit Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.

Among Legarda's major advocacies is promoting the welfare of migrant Filipino workers, emphasizing that "their sacrifices - away from their families in strange, faraway places - bring us economic and social gains, and give us an important place in the international community. It is therefore government's responsibility to ensure their wellbeing."

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