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Philippines orders evacuation of Filipinos from Iraq

SeattlePI.com Wednesday, 8 January 2020
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government said Wednesday that it has ordered the mandatory evacuation of Filipino workers from Iraq and the coast guard said it is sending a vessel to the Middle East to ferry its citizens to safety in case hostilities between the United States and Iran worsen.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said the government has raised the alert level in Iraq to the highest level, requiring Filipinos to leave the country due to escalating security risks. Filipinos can leave on their own or escorted out with the help of their employers or the Philippine government.

Other Asian nations with large populations of expatriate labor may face similar decisions after Iran fired missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. forces in a major escalation of hostilities. The strikes were retaliation for last week’s killing of Iran's top general in a U.S. drone attack.

There are an estimated 1,600 Filipinos and their dependents in Iraq, including many who work for U.S. facilities and commercial establishments. President Rodrigo Duterte and top officials have been holding emergency meetings since the weekend to discuss evacuation plans.

Duterte said late Tuesday that he has deployed a special envoy to get assurance from the leaders of Iraq and Iran that Filipinos would be spared in case of any major outbreak of violence.

“Just to get the assurance that my countrymen will have the egress just in case hell breaks loose,” Duterte told reporters.

Philippine officials were finalizing details of evacuation plans in the increasingly tense Middle East but Manila’s coast guard said a new patrol vessel en route to the Philippines from France has instead been ordered to head to the Middle East in case Filipino workers need to be immediately extricated from any danger. The vessel can ferry up to...
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Philippines orders evacuation of Filipinos from Iraq

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