MANILA — The Philippines has placed its embassies in Washington and Mexico on a higher state of readiness to allow them to immediately assist Filipinos who may have been affected by Hurricane Irma.
“We should not be taking any chances and should be ready to assist our nationals who may get caught in the middle of this storm,” said Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano in a statement. “We have seen how powerful and destructive Hurricane Irma is.”
Cayetano received initial reports of the damage the category 5 hurricane had inflicted on several Caribbean islands.
The DFA chief instructed Chargé d’ Affaires Patrick Chuasoto of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. and Ambassador Eduardo De Vega of the Philippine Embassy in Mexico to be ready to deploy teams to hurricane-affected areas in case there are Filipino nationals who would need assistance.
Cayetano also ordered Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola to make sure that funds are available to assist Filipinos who will be affected by the hurricane.
Irma has left at least nine dead and untold damage after it swept across the islands of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Barthelemy, and St. Martin.
The DFA is still waiting for reports on the condition of Filipinos in the affected areas. Hurricane Irma is expected to make a landfall in Florida if it continues its present destructive path.