(Eagle News) – An overseas Filipino worker tells his story of how he was able to leave Afghanistan and save other Filipinos stranded in the capital of Kabul.
Elmer Presa posted on his Facebook page photos of him and other Filipino workers who managed to get a ride on a United States military plane at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul Afghanistan. In his post, he also thanked the US Airforce for their assistance in Kabul.
“Thanks be to God. Thank you all for your prayers for our safety. Thanks to Sir James and fellow workers who stand as a brother and sister and as a true leader during this hard times. Thank you US Airforce Air Mobility Command, Doha Qatar for your assistance, we truly appreciated it,” he said in his Facebook photos.
The photos showed him with “hundreds and hundreds of people of Afghanistan flying out of HKIA, Kabul Afghanistan” on Tuesday, Aug. 17.
A report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) quoted Presa’s radio interview recalling how he secured the permission of the Taliban to get his other fellow workers stranded in Kabul.
The Philippine government-run PNA said Presa and his group were already inside the airport in Kabul since their boss had facilitated their access. But he noted that there were still some Filipinos stranded at the Swedish and US embassies in Kabul “where no local drivers dared to go after the hardline Islamist group seized Kabul.”
After getting the permission of his boss to get the other Filipinos, Elmer went out of the airport and encountered the Taliban securing the airport perimeter.
He then asked the Taliban if he could fetch other Filipinos in Kabul. After the Taliban agreed, he said he was able to move freely in Kabul.
“Malaya naman po akong nakakilos hanggang na-retrieve ko po yung mga tropa nating mga Pilipino,” Presa was quoted by the PNA report as saying, citing a radio report.
“Sabi ko, sa salita nila, may kaibigan akong Pilipino, pwede ko ba silang kunin nang walang problema? Hinayaan po nila ako. Actually wala po tayong problema sa kanila at binigyan po ako ng opportunity kaya sinamantala ko po yung pagkakataon,” the PNA report said. A Manila Bulletin report quoted the interview from ABS CBN News.
After getting the Taliban’s permission, Presa was able to retrieve the other Filipinos and managed to get them safely to the airport. They then were able to board the USAF C-17A cargo aircraft from Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul bound for Al Udeid airbase in Qatar.
He also managed to take photos of him and the other passengers, including Afghans fleeing their country, inside the USAF C-17 cargo aircraft.
One of the photos was a selfie with Presa flashing a victory sign together with two other children from Afghanistan inside the US cargo plane.
In his latest Facebook post on Aug. 19, Presa posted a photo of him already inside the US military airbase in Doha, Qatar.
(Eagle News Service)