Philippines mulls on repatriation of migrant workers from Iraq due to unrest


As tension in the region escalates, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has urged Filipinos in Iraq to coordinate closely with the Philippine Embassy and their employers in case a mandatory evacuation becomes necessary.

A United States airstrike on Friday killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad’s international airport in Iraq, triggering a fear of retaliatory conflict and a wave of backlash against President Donald Trump for supposedly instigating war.

“Based on info from our embassy – The crisis alert level for all areas in Iraq is Alert Level 3 (Voluntary Repatriation) except for the Iraqi Kurdistan region which remains under Alert Level 1 (Precautionary Phase),” Assistant Secretary Ed Menez said in a statement.

Alert Level 3 is issued in the event of violent disturbances or external aggressions in a limited area where expatriates like overseas Filipino workers are advised to return to their own country.

The next highest crisis status is Alert Level 4 (Evacuation/Mandatory Repatriation), which is issued when large-scale internal conflict or full-blown external attack occurs.

“There is also an existing deployment ban of new workers and household workers to Iraq,” Mendez said.

“The situation in Iraq is being closely monitored and the DFA is prepared to send a rapid response team should it be deemed necessary. Direct conflict in Iran itself is presently unlikely.”

Meanwhile, Filipino travellers have been urged by the DFA to cancel all trips to Iraq until further notice as a precaution. (Source: Philippine Star)