• Melo Acuna

DFA still hoping to bring back Filipinos from Afghanistan


Filipino worker in Afghanistan recounts experience leaving troubled country


MANILA – A dog handler for ten years said he is grateful having left the troubled nation.


Speaking from Doha, Qatar, Elmer Presa said he was an employee of an American company before he moved to a British company and had the title as K9 Deputy Manager for Afghanistan and Deputy Kennel.


“We are just supervising operations for diplomatic missions, United Nations and foreign embassies and major airports,” he told Undersecretary Rocky Tobias Ignacio over Laging Handa briefing. He said he is as concerned as every Filipino working in Afghanistan because they suddenly lost their work.


Presa said they are about eleven Filipinos inside the Air Mobility Command Center of the US military,


“We’ve been monitoring the daily situation during the last three months. In less than three months, the Taliban aggressively moved towards the different districts and provinces even before the US forces planned to leave Afghanistan before September 11. Kabul fell into their hands. This is where we have our main office,” he added.


Asked how he felt leaving Afghanistan, Presa said he has considered Afghanistan his second home.


“I speak their language. My superior asked me to help in retrieving our compatriots. The Taliban agreed to my requests. However, we have compatriots who failed to leave because they are from the United Nations and UN projects. They are safe as I was in constant communication with them,” he added.


Presa added Filipinos are found in different dangerous provinces and Filipinos need to study their culture and adapt to their ways.


He said he looks forward to returning to Manila at the soonest time.


Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said they have already evacuated 158 Filipinos. They could have also been assisted by their employers.


The Philippine Embassy in Islamabad was able to arrange the evacuation of 30 Filipinos currently in Pakistan.


Ten other Filipinos left Kabul for different destinations, eight for Dubai, 1 for Doha, and another one for Paris.


More Filipinos have been evacuated to the United Kingdom, and their status are being verified by the Philippine Embassy in London.


Five other Filipinos helped by Indonesia are still in Jakarta and the Philippine Embassy’s preparing for their flight back home.


The statement said all evacuated Filipinos who request to return to Manila will be assisted. The Department of Foreign Affairs hopes to extract of the remaining Filipinos in Afghanistan.


The DFA said there were 158 Filipinos who already left Afghanistan or have been evacuated. They say there are still 49 Filipinos in the country with 42 requesting for repatriation. (Melo M. Acuña)



Filipino worker from Afghanistan identified as Elmer Presa. (Screen Grab from Laging Handa August 21,2021/Melo M. Acuña)

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