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DFA ready to evacuate OFWs if Middle East tension escalates

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is ready to raise the alert and order the mandatory evacuation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) if the tension in the Middle East escalates.

The DFA said it was closely monitoring developments in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq.

“We are very much concerned with what is happening in the Middle East,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said.

“There is no need to be alarmed at this point, but if the situation escalates, we can be expected to respond and lead our kababayans out of harm’s way,” he added.

There are close to two million OFWs in the Middle East, mostly in Saudi Arabia, according to the DFA.

The DFA is also closely watching the situation in Lebanon, which has almost 30,000 OFWs, after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates ordered their citizens to immediately leave the country. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan

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