Middle East OFWs to get aid if repatriated
MANILA, Philippines — Should rising tensions prompt the repatriation of Filipino migrant workers in Iran and Iraq, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) assured that job opportunities and livelihood assistance will be given to them.
“[The] DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] is already prepared for any eventual repatriation. They’re prepared. We’re just helping out because we don’t have a labor office there in Iran and Iraq,” Bello said, partly speaking in Filipino, during an interview with AM radio station DZBB.
“We don’t have bilateral agreements with Iran and Iraq. That’s why we couldn’t deploy anyone there legally,” he added. “But, having said that, there are still many who go there — illegally. They’re undocumented. We also coordinate with them. We help them DFA in attending to their needs.”
According to Bello, the agency will extend livelihood and financial assistance to repatriated OFWs. Their children will also get scholarships.
The DFA earlier advised Filipinos to cancel all travel to Iraq.
In an advisory, the DFA called on Filipinos “to cancel, until further notice, any travel to Iraq in view of the current situation in the country.”
Filipinos in Iraq were also “strongly advised” to coordinate closely with the Philippine embassy and their employers in the event that mandatory evacuation will be necessary.
This developed as tensions escalate in the region after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad.
Iran had vowed to seek revenge for death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, but US President Donald Trump warned that Washington will be targeting 52 sites in Iran should the latter attack American personnel or assets.
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