The government is doing the necessary preparations in anticipation of the 72-hour ceasefire declared in Sudan, hoping it could provide an opportunity to bring home Filipinos stuck in the war-torn country, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Tuesday.
President Marcos made the remarks following a meeting with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) on current issues including the Sudan situation, particularly on how the government can bring Filipinos to safety.
“Right now, we are hoping that the 72-hour ceasefire that has been declared will hold and we will — we are preparing ourselves,” President Marcos said.
“So we’re trying — we’re watching this situation very, very closely and to see if there’s a window of opportunity na mailabas natin ang mga Philippine nationals natin.”
The President said Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople is on her way to the region in anticipation of the ceasefire effectivity, hoping to take advantage of the lull in the fighting to move people out of Sudan.
“Mailabas natin ang mga tao natin. So that’s what we’re working on now. Ang mahirap is that even the land routes are not completely safe. As yet, ‘yung mga airport binomba pa, hindi talaga magamit. So we are still trying to find alternative ways,” the President said.
The Philippine government, he added, is looking at Saudi Arabia and Djibouti in East Africa although the original plan was to take Filipinos to Cairo, Egypt, despite being a longer route than other locations.
The US announced on Monday that the warring factions in Sudan had agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire starting at midnight on April 24.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the agreement between the Sudanese Armed Forces, or SAF, and the Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, came following intense negotiation.