DFA to send team to Kurdistan as fighting escalates
The Philippine government will be sending a team to Kurdistan to assess if overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) should be evacuated amid ongoing conflict in the nearby city of Mosul in Iraq.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said Secretary Perfecto Yasay has already ordered that a rapid response team (RRT) be sent to Erbil, Kurdistan to assist the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad in monitoring and preparing for contingency plans.
“Although the prevailing situation does not require a change in the current alert level, Secretary Yasay said appropriate steps would have to be taken to ensure that the Philippine government is ready to lead overseas Filipinos workers in Kurdistan out of harm’s way,” the statement said.
The assessment of the team will be the basis of advisories and alerts for Filipinos living and working in Erbil and nearby areas.
There is no established Philippine diplomatic or consular presence in the Kurdistan Region or Iraqi Kurdistan, which is an autonomous region north of Iraq. Because of this, the Philippine Embassies in Baghdad, Ankara, and Tehran have been tapped to form crisis teams in case OFWs will have to cross their borders.
Recent reports said Iraqi forces were able to seize parts of Mosul, which is a few kilometers away from Erbil, from the Islamic State.
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