The Philippines is open to accepting war refugees who took flight from their conflict-torn countries in the Middle East, provided that it will be under the framework of the United Nations convention on refugees, the Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said on Wednesday.
Jose said in a press briefing that the Philippines, as a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, is committed to extend a hand to war refugees.
“We have commitments and we will abide by those commitments but under the UN framework. It would be a multilateral undertaking,” he said.
The Philippines has once opened its doors to Vietnamese and Russian refugees, and even offered to help the Rohingya people, a minority group of Islamic people in Myanmar of Bangladeshi descent, who have been politically persecuted in both countries.
The refugee plight in Europe and the Middle East has cracked open European governments’ inaction in extending humanitarian help during the crisis.
Hundreds of thousands of people mainly from conflict-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan braved the Balkans and the Mediterranean Sea to reach wealthy EU nations in hope of better lives there.
The crisis has brought to light deep-seated views on race, religion and even humanitarian aid as some of the wealthy European nations shunned the refugees away, while others like the United Kingdom, promised to take in 20,000 of the refugees over the course of five years.
But it won’t be that easy for these refugees to reach the Philippines, or for Manila to open its doors to them.
Jose said the issue should still “be addressed at its source,” adding that, “the international community should help the countries where these refugees are coming.”