MANILA, Philippines?The first batch of Filipinos fleeing the upheaval in Egypt will be arriving this afternoon, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.
The DFA said 26 Filipinos had availed themselves of its offer of voluntary repatriation and would be leaving Cairo on Sunday. Of the repatriates, 14 are women and 10 are minors.
The first batch of repatriates consisted of Filipino scholars at the Al Azhar University and their families, three nurses from the Dar Al Faoud Hospital, and household workers.
The DFA is also making arrangements for the repatriation of a second batch of about 20 repatriates to leave Cairo either on Monday or Tuesday.
Originally, 27 Filipinos were scheduled to leave Saturday, but four of them belonging to one family changed their mind and decided to stay. Another three joined the first batch.
The embassy said most of the Filipino community members considered themselves relatively safe in their residences and neighborhoods, and were hopeful that the political crisis in Egypt would be resolved soon.
Charge d?affaires Eduardo Pablo Maglaya said supplies of food and water in Cairo have stabilized. Banks have reopened, and people can withdraw money from automated teller machines, he added.
?There is no need for a mandatory evacuation of Filipino community members at this time. Nonetheless, all those who feel that their safety is at risk can avail of the embassy?s voluntary repatriation program,? Maglaya said.
Meanwhile, Malacañang has assured the Filipino workers who fled Egypt that if they decide to stay in the country for good, there will be reintegration programs being readied for them.
?(We) have integration programs. Tesda has skills trainings and they also have entrepreneurship programs and I believe we also have funds for loans for small businesses,? Communications and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang told state-run dzRB radio.
?The government is ready to take care of returning Filipinos,? he said.
Carandang said Filipinos remain safe in Egypt even after a huge demonstration on Friday.
?It appears that there was no violence. The rally was very peaceful. We didn?t receive reports of untoward incidents so our countrymen remain safe in Egypt,? he said.