By: Romina D. Sta. Clara
It’s the first time I joined the field operations of IOM-Philippines on assisted voluntary return. In this case, the Government of the Philippines through its embassy in Syria has requested IOM to assist with the voluntary return of about 60 Filipinos. For IOM, this means providing assistance in transportation (from Syria airport until they reach the Philippine airport) and ensuring that the returnees are properly endorsed to government authorities upon arrival at the Philippine airport. For this kind of work, routine coordination is made with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Bureau of Immigration (BoI), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).