Malacañang on Wednesday expressed solidary with Lebanon after a massive explosion rocked its capital Beirut and killed at least 100 people and injured more than 4,000 others.
“The Philippines is in solidarity with the people of Lebanon in this period of great grief. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lebanese people,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Roque also sympathized with the families of the Filipinos who died or were wounded in the blast.
“We are one with the families and friends of Filipinos who passed or were injured,” he said.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar also expressed his “utmost sympathies” with the people and the government of Lebanon and all of those who have been affected, including the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), by the “unfortunate blasts”.
“We assure everyone that our government is ensuring the safety of our OFWs there through the Philippine Embassy in Beirut and that concerned government agencies are providing the assistance their families need,” Andanar said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Lebanon as the country strives to rebuild from the aftermath of the blast amidst these trying times.”
In an interview on CNN Philippines, Roque said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will continue to assist all Filipinos affected by the explosions through the Philippine embassy in Beirut.
“I believe the DFA will intensify our efforts to bring home our kababayan (countrymen) in that war-torn area,” Roque said.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez, in a text message to reporters, said the embassy is now in touch with the Filipino community in Lebanon to assess the situation and provide assistance.
Two Filipinos were killed, eight injured, and 12 missing in the massive explosion that ripped through Beirut, the DFA said.
In an Anadolu Agency report, Lebanese President Michel Aoun cited ammonium nitrate as the source of the massive explosion, which leveled a three-story building and was heard across the city and its suburbs.
It was the most powerful explosion in years in Beirut, which is already grappling with a spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infections.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Around 33,000 Filipinos are residing in Lebanon, 75 percent of whom are in the Greater Beirut area, according to the DFA. (PNA)