The Department of National Defense (DND) is prepared to repatriate the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in Taiwan should its tension with China escalate.

During the organizational meeting of the Senate Committee on National Defense on Wednesday, DND Officer-In-Charge Jose Faustino said the department already has “a detailed plan” on how to conduct the repatriation of some 140,000 Filipinos, including the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and residents, from the self-governing island.

“And may timeline po tayo. Nakaprepare po tayo (We also have a timeline. We’re really prepaed),” Faustino said.

Faustino warned of a “humanitarian crisis” if the Taiwan-China conflict escalates.

The Philippines, he said, will be affected as refugees from Taiwan, just located north of the country, are expected to come.

“Next is we know very well that yung area na ‘yun, yung Taiwan Strait, ay daanan talaga ito ng ating, it’s a sea lane of communication… This time we’re talking about the sea lanes kung saan dumadaan ang almost $5 trillion of economy ng buong mundo (that the area, the Taiwan Strait, is a sea lane of communication. This time, we’re talking about the sea lanes, where almost $5 trillion of the world’s economy passes through),” he added.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada, committee chairman, told reporters in an interview that the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have assured him of their preparedness for the worst case scenario.

“We’re hoping and praying na hindi naman mag-escalate yung tension (that the tension would not escalate),” Estrada said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (