DFA to raise Lebanon repatriation budget

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2020 02:28 AM

MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Friday he would increase the budget for the repatriation of distressed Filipinos in Beirut, Lebanon.

In a tweet, he said the budget allocated for the repatriation was insufficient, saying there were too many deductions.

The Philippine Embassy in Beirut requested for $374,000, but he only signed for $340,000, Locsin said.

“...I'll sign another authority to make up for what was deducted. I assume we have accounting in Beirut anyway,” he wrote on Twitter.

"We want a detailed accounting of the costs. We don't want it to be a precedent on such a massive scale that we won't be able to trace the amounts. We don't want that, right? Send the accounting that @DFAPHL demands and you'll get the money," he told the embassy.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will repatriate Filipinos following the twin blasts that shook the Lebanese capital.

The flight scheduled on August 16 also seeks to bring home the remains of Filipino victims who died in the massive explosions.

"The President heard the clamor of our kababayans. This chartered flight is the most concrete, immediate and timely assistance that the Department of Foreign Affairs could provide given the current situation in Lebanon," Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said in a statement.

Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DFA began its repatriation activities from Lebanon to arrest the worsening condition of Filipinos in the country due to economic crisis.

"Since December 2019, the Department has repatriated at least 1,508 Filipinos from Lebanon. When COVID-19 struck, the DFA moved to provide assistance to our overseas Filipinos in the country," Arriola added.

For additional public information with regard to the chartered flight, the Philippine Embassy in Beirut may be reached through the following:

Telephones - +961 3859430,
+961 81334836, +961 71474416, +961 70681060 and +961 70858086
E-mail - beirutpe@gmail.com
Facebook - Philippine Embassy in Lebanon.