Press Release
June 21, 2023

Tolentino sees no security risk in temporary hosting of Afghan refugees

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Senator Francis 'TOL' N. Tolentino said he sees no security risk in the temporary hosting of Afghan refugees in the Philippines as they have been vetted by the United States (US) and United Nations (UN) before sending them here and will be confined in a specific area the Philippine government designates.

"Sa pagkakaalam ko...naka-confine sila. Para mas maliwanag sa ating mga kababayan, ano po ang naka-confine? Naka-quarantine sila sa isang lugar, hindi sila makakalabas hangga't hindi natatapos ang pagpoproseso ng kanilang visa, siguro po napakahaba na ng ninety days at saka pa lang sila aalis," Tolentino explained during an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday, June 21.

(To my knowledge...they are confined. To be clear to our compatriots, what is confined? They are quarantined in one area, they cannot go out until the processing of their visas are done, maybe the longest is ninety days and then they leave.)

Tolentino, vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said the Afghan refugees' destination after their temporary stay in the Philippines could be Germany, Canada, Australia, or United States.

The senator disagreed with the "sovereignty issue" being raised in hosting the Afghan refugees, noting that the Philippine government is not being dictated upon by any other country, and it determines how many of them will be accommodated in the country and where to host them.

He said the temporary hosting of Afghan refugees is legal, citing the UN Declaration of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, and Article 17, Section 7 of the 1986 Constitution, among other laws and treaties promulgated.

"I don't see any reason to hype the hysteria all over again. Is it legal to help a fellow human being in need? Is it illegal to provide temporary shelter to someone in need?" he iterated.

Senator Tolentino assured that the Philippine government will not spend for the hosting of Afghan refugees because the country sending them and the UN High Commission on Refugees will shoulder all the expenses.

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