Filipino Migrant Workers & Middle East Crossfire

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 12/23/2011 04:15:00 PM
What is the responsibility of a migrant-sending nation to its people overseas during times of trouble o'er yonder? I suppose it depends on the level of encouragement that the nation in question provides to finding work abroad. In the case of the Philippines with its substantial state infrastructure for helping its citizens find work overseas, perhaps a larger burden of ensuring safety when push comes to shove is placed on the government. insofar as the government is seen as a promoter of large-scale migration, its obligations are more extensive. Hence the constantly depressing coverage of seafarers picked off by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

Additionally, something striking has been how overseas Filipino workers manage to find themselves caught in virtually every shakeout in the Middle East in recent years. You name it: Lebanon in 2006; Egypt and Libya in 2011...and this year ain't over yet. Compared to those conflagrations, the situation in Syria has been protracted:
The Philippines on Thursday offered to fly its 5,000 citizens in Syria home for free as it again urged them to leave immediately to escape escalating violence, the foreign department said. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the government would help all Filipinos arrange passage out of the Middle East country, which has been torn by deadly protests against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"In view of the escalating violence in Syria, the Department of Foreign Affairs will be raising alert level 4 for the entire country of Syria effective today," he said in a statement. That alert status meant all Filipinos would be repatriated at Philippine government expense, the ministry said.
Yet, alike in those other countries, the notable thing is how these workers are ambivalent about evacuating the strife-hit Syria even when offered a ticket home by the Philippine government. If the pay is relatively good and your workplace is not in the direct line of fire, some may think "Why go?" Once you head home, there is no guarantee that you will be able to find your way back.