By Daniela Lorraine Brutas

PHOTO: UpdateM

The Philippines will open its doors to accept refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control over its capital Kabul, said Malacañang on Tuesday, August 17.

“Since time immemorial po, the Philippines has had jurisprudence even before the convention on refugees welcoming asylum seekers,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.

Roque further recalled that the Supreme Court even said the Philippines will not hesitate to admit individuals fleeing their homelands because of fear of persecution.

“So welcome po ang mga asylum seekers sa Pilipinas. Lahat po ng kinakailangan ng kalinga dahil sila po ay pine-persecute sa kanilang bayan, mayroon po kayong lugar dito sa Pilipinas,” he added.

However, the spokesperson would leave it to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to respond to questions on whether or not the Philippines would recognize a Taliban-led government.

According to the DFA, at least 35 Filipinos from Afghanistan were evacuated to Doha, Qatar, awaiting their chartered flights back to Manila. 

While there are 132 Filipinos residing in Afghanistan, the DFA earlier assured that it is already facilitating repatriation of the remaining Filipinos in the country.

The repatriation efforts follow the move of the DFA to raise alert level 4, meaning mandatory evacuation from Afghanistan due to security concerns.