MOSCOW—Fourteen of the 17 Filipino workers in Moscow who were detained on May 16 have been released on the evening of the next day and are coordinating with the Philippine Embassy to address their concerns. Three remain in custody.
Since May 16, the Philippine Embassy made urgent representations with Russian officials and continues to do so for the remaining three detainees.
It is also in close coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of Migrant Workers Affairs.
While in detention, the Philippine Embassy was constantly in touch with the detainees, provided them with food and made sure that they were treated well.
“In our discussion with Russian authorities, we emphasized that the detainees are victims and not criminals. They are victims of illegal recruitment and should not be punished. They should be set free,” Ambassador Sorreta said.
“Filipinos in Russia obey the law, are hardworking and do not cause problems. There is also a lot of goodwill between the Philippines and Russia today, with increasing prospects for cooperation in a wide range of areas. These factors helped us in securing the release of our Filipinos,” Ambassador Sorreta added.
The Philippine Embassy is also working to see if the released Filipinos can stay and continue with their work. For those who will not be allowed to stay, the Philippine Embassy is ready to prepare their documentation, assist in the necessary government clearances and provide airfare.
“We would like to advice those seeking to work in Russia to follow both Philippine and Russia laws. For those already here, please continue to observe the laws of the country, be respectful to lawful authorities and do not call attention to yourselves,” said Ambassador Sorreta.
The Embassy thanks the Filipino Community in Russia for their kind thoughts and prayers for the detainees and its efforts to gain their freedom.