The Straits Times
Published on Sep 11, 2012

Nearly 300 Filipinos fleeing Syria fly back home


MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Nearly 300 Filipino workers fleeing the civil war in Syria have returned home in the biggest single repatriation negotiated between the two governments.

The workers, all of them young women who worked as babysitters and maids, say they were scared for their safety and could not sleep at night because of aerial bombardments. They sought shelter at the Philippine Embassy in Damascus and last week, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario traveled to Syria to organise their evacuation.

After welcoming them at the Manila airport Tuesday, Mr del Rosario said he was able to secure a waiver of exit fees and other bureaucratic formalities for the workers. He said up to 600 more want to return home.

The rest of an estimated 3,000 Filipino workers decided to stay in Syria.