Marcos: ‘No deal yet’ on Afghan refugees

Marcos: ‘No deal yet’ on Afghan refugees

THE Philippines may turn down the request of the United States to temporarily host Afghan refugees in the country because there are security, legal and logistics issues involved, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Thursday.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Photo from Presidential Communications Office

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Photo from Presidential Communications Office

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Contributed Photo

Speaking to reporters after the launching of Cebuana Lhuillier’s Kanegosyo Center in Parañaque City, Marcos said the Philippines has to be « conscious » of these concerns.

« There are many issues involved [in the US request] that is why I was a little surprised when I saw some of the news reports, there’s a deal between the US. There is no deal. We are still looking exactly at how to make it work if we can. It’s entirely possible that we will not find a way to make it happen, » Marcos said.

If there are no drastic changes to the plan, then there is no problem, he said. « But what plan ran exactly as you had hoped. »

There had been reports that the President had approved the US request to provide temporary asylum to Afghan nationals who worked for the American government and companies before the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021.

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The fall of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul triggered a chaotic pullout of American forces.

The Afghan nationals that managed to leave their country must wait until they are issued special immigration visas before they are resettled in the US.

Marcos said the Philippines has a « long tradition » of taking in refugees, but this case is « different » since the Afghan nationals are not refugees.

« They are Afghans who are being resettled primarily in the United States and we are going to be the third country. That is the proposal of the United States, » the President said.

« We are only going to be a, how do you say it, a transition area. Dadalhin sila dito, ire-relocate sila. Ang sabi ng mga kaibigan nating Amerikano, ika nila, hindi palalampasin ng 1,000 tao kung sakali man ay matutuloy itong request na ito (They will be brought here and relocated later. Our American friends said they would not go over 1,000 people if this request pushed through), » he said.

The President said the Philippines and US continue to discuss the matter. « We will continue to study. Let’s see if there is a way we can do it without endangering the security of the Philippines. We will see if we can actually manage it and to make sure that if things do not go as planned, ano ‘yung mga pwede nating gawin (we will know what we can do), » he said.

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