Press Release
September 10, 2021

Dispatch from Crame No. 1145:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on PH allowing entry of Afghan refugees

I commend Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. in spearheading the efforts to accept Afghan nationals who are seeking asylum after the Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan. This gesture is a breath of fresh air amid the current depressing state of the world, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's not surprising to me that this notable act of humanity is made while Locsin is at the helm of DFA. He's got a heart for refugees and humanitarian causes. Welcoming Afghan refugees into the country will not only save their lives, but also their future and culture that the Taliban seeks to destroy.

It is hard to imagine any other stance being taken in the face of such a humanitarian crisis, not to mention the fact that the Philippines is a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. It is, in no way, an easy situation, especially the current pandemic situation the world is facing. But it is during difficult situations that the true strength and commitment of a government to doing what is right that is tested.

In light of this, I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take notice and support the passage of my Proposed Senate Bill No. 379, or the Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Act. It is high time to enact a law to set a firm and clear mechanism in determining the status of refugees and stateless persons, and in protecting them in our country.

Ang mga refugees ay biktima ng panggigipit, pang-aabuso at pagmamalupit sa kanilang bansa. Sa ibang dako ng mundo, milyon-milyon pa rin ang naiipit sa deka-dekadang hidwaan, binabangungot ng takot at dahas. Marami pa rin ang mga magulang na ang tanging inaasam lang ay mailayo at mailigtas ang mga anak mula sa kaguluhan, at mga batang ni hindi pa nakatutuntong sa paaralan, walang masilungan at matuluyang tahanan.

Ipakita natin ang totoo at mabuting katangian ng lahing Pilipino—ang pusong mapagmalasakit at bukas-palad na pagtulong sa kapwa. We have to do our share as a responsible member of a global community ready and willing to provide refuge and comfort to others in their time of need.

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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