Philippines ready to help in Europe's refugee crisis (Business Mirror (Philippines))

The Philippines is ready to help in the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, since the country is signatory to the international convention on refugees, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Tuesday.

Foreign Affairs Spokesman Charles Jose said, We will abide by our commitment under the United Nations framework, and it is our position that the international community should do all it can to help the countries from which these refugees are coming in order to address the issue at its source.

Asked what kind of help the Philippines could extend, he said: If ever it will be like we did before, as a processing center and transit area for eventual resettlement in third countries.

Jose cited the country’s stand during the Rohingya crisis earlier this year, in which the Philippines shared best practices, not material aid, in an attempt to resolve Asia’s refugee crisis involving thousands of people from Myanmar’s ethnic Rohingya minority.

We abide by our commitment under the international convention, but we also have to look at our resources and economic condition; we’re still in rehabilitation state post-Haiyan [Supertyphon Yolanda], which devastated the Visayas in November 2013, causing death to some 10,000 persons.

Some Filipinos have asked why the DFA remains silent in the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe in the social media.

Thousands of refugees from Iran, Iraq and Syria have escaped on lifeboats and flimsy watercraft in the Mediterranean headed to Germany, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Italy, seeking shelter and new lives to evade the wars in their countries. The crisis took on a human dimension, when the body of a 2-year-old boy washed ashore, after their boat sunk in the Mediterranean, along with his mother.

Although poor and economically wanting, the Philippines has a history of accepting refugees of whatever stripe. The most vivid of this is when the country accepted 1,350 Jews fleeing from Hitler in World War II. Recto Mercene

We accepted Vietnamese, Russian, Jewish and Rohingya refugees, and they repaid us back with more than what we have offered them in aid, according to a social-media commentator.

The writer cited as example Vietnam, where thousands of citizens were processed in Palawan before they were brought to the United States for permanent settlement.

In return, Vietnam donated millions of dollars to help the victims of Yolanda.

Whatever acts of kindness we showed before, we have been repaid and remembered well. Filipinos are talented in many fields, such as sports, academics and the arts. But, if there is anything we need to show the world, it is that we Filipinos also have a heart, the social- media writer said.