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Ukraine seeks Filipino workers to rebuild destructed cities

29 March: Kyiv’s envoy, Denys Mykhailiuk, said on Wednesday that Ukraine wants to hire Filipino workers to assist in rebuilding its cities that were devastated by Russia’s attack.

Russia launched a massive assault on Ukrainian territory and major cities in February last year, causing severe damage to vital infrastructure, hundreds of thousands of homes, and displacing more than 8 million people to neighboring European countries.

According to a World Bank report released last week, the country’s reconstruction will take at least 10 years and cost $411 billion. As leaders plan for the postwar period, Mykhailiuk, chargé d’affaires of the Ukraine Embassy in Malaysia, which covers the Philippines, was on a four-day visit to the archipelagic nation to explore possible cooperation.

He told reporters in Makati City that they would soon start talks about Filipino workers joining the reconstruction effort as “whole cities (were) wiped out.”

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He added that “hardworking Filipinos” and investors from the country “will be very much welcomed.” Ukraine also intends to increase bilateral trade and open an embassy in the Philippines later this year, Mykhailuk said, describing the Southeast Asian country as a “priority nation” in the region.

“Unfortunately, since the war started, they have a drop of 94 percent in bilateral trade. We want to remedy (this), and we proposed to our partners of the Republic of Philippines several ways to do so,” Mykhailuk said.

Kyiv, a major exporter of wheat, has offered to help Manila build a “grain bank” and work together in information technology and e-governance, the envoy said. Mykhailiuk’s visit comes about a month after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had their first phone call, during which the two leaders discussed how to enhance bilateral cooperation.

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