Philippines in talks with US to temporarily host Afghanistan refugees: Report

File photo.

Media reports say that the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday confirmed “discussions” with the United States to help the US address the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applications of refugees who fled Afghanistan.

“While the proposed arrangement is humanitarian in nature, it will not involve the admission or hosting of Afghan refugees,” said the DFA in a statement quoted by

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez had earlier told CNN Philippines that the request was lodged in October 2022.

Romualdez said Washington will cover all costs should the request be granted, and that Afghan refugees were meant to head straight to the US once their applications are finally processed.

The DFA said discussions concerned refugees in the last stages of the infamously long process of securing an SIV.

Amid criticism from officials, including Senator Imee Marcos, the DFA said Manila “has not entered or finalized any agreement with the United States on the matter.”

“Consultations with relevant Philippine government agencies are ongoing,” the DFA added.

“The information that we so far have received is that there are about 50,000, which includes the families of the Afghan citizens who worked with the United States government,” Romualdez said.

This comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken participated in a signing ceremony to renew the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of State and #AfghanEvac on Monday, June 12.

Addressing the ceremony, Blinken said they stay committed to the pledge President Joe Biden made regarding the evacuation of Afghanistan nationals.

“We’ve relocated more than 24,000 Afghans to the United States and third countries since September 2021,” Blinken said.

He added that overall, they have relocated more than 97,000 Afghans to the United States.

The United States evacuated at least 120,000 people to safety during the evacuation process in August 2021.

AfghanEvac is a coalition of more than 200 organizations working alongside the US Government to support Afghan relocation efforts.

It is comprised of hundreds of volunteers who represent all 50 states and a cross-section of America.