THE PHILIPPINES will be accepting Afghan refugees only under government-to-government agreements, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. said on Monday.  

“The Philippines will not accept nor listen to any proposition to accept any refugees unless it is government to government and only by their respective Foreign and Justice ministers; especially of the UK, the US, and other Western countries most active in the evacuation,” Mr. Locsin said on Twitter. 

He said the country will not entertain any request for asylum coming from non-government organizations or any other non-state parties, citing potential illegal transactions under such arrangement.   

“I believe that refugees will be the next lucrative order of business, having plenty of cash in hand or in foreign bank accounts. The temptation will be resistible to help them and help oneself to them. That will never happen under the administration or in my watch,” said Mr. Locsin.  

He said he wanted to ensure the Philippines “aren’t dragged into a racket.” 

The Palace earlier said the country would open its doors to Afghans fleeing Taliban rule. “Asylum seekers are welcome in the Philippines,” the President’s spokesperson said. The Justice chief also said mechanisms are in place for processing refugees from Afghanistan under the department’s Refugees and Stateless Persons unit.   

The Philippines has already completed the evacuation of its citizens from Afghanistan. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan