A blast is seen in the TV tower in Kyiv on March 1, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. — REUTERS

ABOUT 141 Filipinos in Ukraine have declined or are still considering whether to take up the Philippine government’s offer for repatriation, an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday. 

DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said those who are opting to stay for now include 45 Filipinos who are still in the capital Kyiv, among the urban centers heavily bombarded by Russian forces.  

The others are staying in Lviv, a city about 70 kilometers from the border with Poland, or have moved to areas near Ukraine’s border with other countries such as Hungary.  

“They want to stay there for a while. This is the wait-and-see attitude,” Ms. Arriola said in a mix of English and Filipino in an interview with Teleradyo. 

“The rest of them are scattered already. They’re quite spread out right now but many have already crossed the border,” she added. 

The DFA also confirmed on Wednesday the safe arrival of 21 Filipino seafarers in Moldova from Ukraine, bringing the total to 27. It said Philippine Honorary Consul in Moldova Victor Gaina organized the extraction of the all-Filipino crew of MV S-Breeze, a bulk carrier. 

On Tuesday, 13 Filipinos arrived in Manila via an Emirates Airlines flight. The group was part of 40 evacuees who left Kyiv for Lviv and were welcomed by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. at the Poland border.  

All repatriation expenses, including transport, food, accommodation, RT-PCR test, and airfare to Manila were paid for using the DFA’s Assistance-to-Nationals fund. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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