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UN cites PH for protecting refugees

By: Genalyn D. Kabiling

The Philippines will remain a friendly place not only for tourists but also refugees and asylum seekers, Malacañang assured yesterday, after the country was praised by the United Nations for its efforts to protect them.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said several government agencies recently forged an agreement on the protection of asylum seekers, refugees, and stateless persons in the country.

“The Department of Justice, which leads 15 other agencies of the government, signed an interagency agreement that would give legal ground for asylum seekers, refugees, stateless persons, and other persons of concerns to avail themselves of government services they need in the country,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

“This proves that Filipinos are hospitable people who would warmly welcome travelers and tourists and extend the same warmth and support to refugees and asylum seekers,” he added.

He noted that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has “commended the Philippines for its continuous support to protect refugees.”

The inter-agency agreement on the protection of refugees and other persons of concern was sealed during a ceremony last month.

Among the government offices included are the Supreme Court, Department of Education, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Bureau of Immigration, Public Attorney’s Office, Commission on Higher Education, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., and Professional Regulation Commission.