A Catholic bishop in Manila welcomed the decision of the Philippine government to open the country’s doors to refugees who are fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Bishop Ruperto Santos, vice chairman of the Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of the bishops’ conference, said the move “will be our gift to the whole world.”
“That is good news to our humanity. We have done that before and we did it successfully and fruitfully,” said the prelate.
Bishop Santos said the Church continues to offer prayers for an end to the war between Russia and Ukraine.
“We, chaplains, are offering Holy Masses for conversion of Russia, to foster peace and to stop the invasion,” he said.
Last week, Philippine Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra announced that Ukranians who will seek refuge in the Philippines “will be accepted.”
“Ukrainians fleeing from the war in their country are of course welcome in the Philippines for humanitarian reasons,” he told reporters.
He said that to date, no Ukrainian has sought asylum in the Philippines.
“But should there be any, his/her application for refugee status will be evaluated in accordance with our laws and the recently signed executive order,” said the Justice chief.
On February 28, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 163 that institutionalizes efforts to protect refugees, stateless persons and asylum seekers to comply with the Philippines’ obligations under international agreements.