MANILA — A Palace official on Thursday said the Philippines is holding dialogue with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) on how the country can help thousands of boat people from Myanmar and Bangladesh.
”We are in continuing dialogue with the local office of the UNHCR on how the Philippines may be able to meaningfully fulfill its commitment to the attainment of the UN’s humanitarian objectives,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a press statement.
Coloma said the Philippine government has reaffirmed its commitment to provide humanitarian succor and relief as a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Convention relating to the status of refugees and stateless persons.
”We are mindful that we are constrained by resource limitations, especially considering that we are still in the midst of implementing a massive rehabilitation and reconstruction program for areas affected by typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan,” he explained.
The typhoon Yolanda, one of the strongest to hit land in the world, left over 6,000 people and 1.5 million homeless.
Coloma said the Philippines has in the past demonstrated its commitment through its cooperation with the UN in establishing the Philippine Refugee Processing Center in Morong, Bataan in 1980. It operated up to mid-90s.
“This Center was funded by the UNCHR, and its programs were supported by various international aid agencies,” Coloma said.
He said the center assisted refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in seeking admission to resettlement nations such as the United States, Canada, Norway and France.