AFP: Military ready to rescue OFWs in Middle East

AFP military in middle east

After another missile strike in Iraq green zone by Iran, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are ordered to get ready to comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders to bring home Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) should a full blown war breaks out between the US and Iran in Iraq. There are 7600 Filipinos in Iran and Iraq.

Statement by the Armed Force of Philippines:

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under the Department of National Defense (DND) was tasked by the President and C-in-C to plan and prepare for possible repatriation of fellow Filipinos in Middle East”.

Not only armed forces but Philippine naval forces are also getting ready as the government of Philippine might charter cruise ship to help evacuate the overseas Filipinos in Middle East region especially in Iraq and Iran.

As per Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana “this is aside from the plan to send one of the Philippine Navy’s landing dock vessels, the BRP Davao del Sur LD-602, which is capable of carrying 2,800 tons of cargo and about 500 troops.

Statement by the Philippine Navy:

“The Navy’s concept of support in the repatriation of affected OFWS in the Middle East (is) one landing dock and possibly escorted by one Del Pilar (class offshore patrol vessel),” said Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, Navy spokesperson.

She more added that the readiness to assist our Filipino brothers and sisters in the Middle East is in response to President Duterte’s order to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to make ready its air and naval assets for possible deployment.

The military said that the crucial task does not only provide for transportation but a humanitarian mission to make sure that Filipinos safely arrive in the Philippines.

“Notwithstanding the challenges we face to carry that out, we are prepared to embark on that mission not only because it’s our mandate, but it is also in pursuit of the Commander-in-Chief’s directive. In both cases, they are because of care and compassion for our Kababayans,” the AFP said.

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Duterte met with top military officials yesterday to discuss the situation in the Middle East following the tension between the United States and Iran sparked by the air strike assassination of top Iranian military commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad by the US last week.

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President Trump has labelled Soleimani an international terrorist; Iran and several allied countries said the assassination was an act of terror.

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“The sole agenda was how to ensure the safety of our countrymen in the Middle East especially those in Iraq and Iran as the tension between the US and Iran rises,” the Philippine defense department said.

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