PH orders emergency evacuation of Filipinos in Iraq

Evacuation of Filipinos in Middle east

The Philippine government today on Wednesday (08/01/2020) announced that it is enforcing mandatory evacuation of Filipino workers in Iraq amid heightened tensions in the area.

Alert Level 4 – the highest security warning given by the Philippines on countries that pose security risks to Filipino travelers and workers due to armed conflict or disaster – was announced as Iran fired rockets at Iraq’s al Asad airbase, which hosts US forces.

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There are at least 16000 Filipinos in Iraq. More than half are working in Kurdistan region and the rest are in the Baghdad area. In Baghdad, many are employed by the US and other foreign facilities, while some work for regular commercial establishments.

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“Filipinos in Iraq and the Kurdistan region of Iraq are assured that the Philippine government would repatriate any Filipino who may be affected or displaced by the ongoing crisis,” said Philippine Chargè d’ Affairès Jomar Sadie.

Affected Filipinos requesting repatriation or any other form of assistance may contact the Philippine embassy in Baghdad.

In view of the current security situation, Filipinos there were advised “to remain vigilant, exercise caution and maintain situational awareness at all times.”

What is Alert level 4?

Under alert level 4, all Filipinos there are asked to leave and join the ongoing evacuation being offered by the Philippine government.

Iran vowed to retaliate against the US for killing its top commander, Qassem Suleimani, in an attack authorized by President Donald Trump.

Suleimani, who led the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and accused by the Pentagon of “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” was killed by an American drone at Baghdad airport Jan. 3.

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On Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs convened an Inter-Agency Command Conference on the Situation in the Middle East to draw up emergency plans for Filipino workers who may be affected by the brewing hostilities between the US and Iran.

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The conference was attended by representatives from the Office of the President, House of Representatives-Office of the Speaker, Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Security Council, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Transportation, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and Office of Civil Defense.

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