THE Philippines has pledged USD100,000 (around P4.85 million) to the United Nations to assist the Rohingya refugees.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., in a video message for the virtual Donor Conference on Sustaining Support for Rohingya Refugee Response said on Thursday “the Philippines is announcing a modest financial contribution of USD100,000 for the UNHCR (High Commissioner for Refugees) to be earmarked for the response to refugees from Rakhine State but our offer really is — Come, the rejected by the rest of the world.”
Locsin said Manila would support the efforts of Myanmar to ensure the safe and voluntary return of displaced persons and the sustainable development of all communities in Rakhine State.
“(The Philippines) Myanmar and its Great Lady against the same schemes to subdivide their country like the one that divided Libya for easier exploitation. Together with the rest of ASEAN, we will continue to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected populations,” he said.
There are about 860,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar district and an estimated 600,000 Rohingya people in Rakhine State are facing violence and discrimination, said the UN agency.
According to the UNHCR, the Rohingya situation remains an “acute humanitarian and human rights crisis” more than three years after the August 2017 violence, which caused hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people to flee their homes in Myanmar to seek safety in Bangladesh.
Other countries in the region including Malaysia, India, Indonesia, are also hosting nearly 150,000 Rohingya refugees.
Locsin called on the international community to respond with “an unbridled concern for the well-being of others as for our own.”
“The never-ending recurring scenario of being driven away from one’s home because of strife, violence, and persecution is one of our species’ unnecessary heartbreaking invention. The only way to even this out is to respond with’malasakit,‘” he said.
“Post-convention and protocol, we opened our doors once again to both people from Vietnam, to Iranians, Indo-Chinese, and East Timorese refugees, among others,” Locsin said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, during the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly announced his “open door” policy for refugees, including Rohingya people fleeing for safety.
Manila’s humanitarian legacy goes way beyond the 1951 UN Refugee Convention when it welcomed 800 White Russians, about 1,300 Jewish refugees escaping the Holocaust, Spanish Republicans fleeing fascism, Chinese taking flight from Civil War, and a second wave of White Russians.