Duterte to discuss US-Iran conflict with AFP officials
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has called for a meeting with military officials about the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, a close ally of Duterte, said on Sunday.
Among those invited by Duterte is Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., newly installed chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
They are set to discuss the possible effects of the US airstrike on Baghdad in Iraq which killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
“President Duterte today called for a meeting with the new Armed Forces chief of staff, including the service commanders and the intelligence community to discuss the possible effects here in the country, especially among groups sympathetic to Iran,” Go said in Filipino in an ambush interview.
Go assured the public though that the government would do everything to maintain domestic security while monitoring the situation in the Middle East for the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“The President will ensure security here in the country, and of course, our government is monitoring the situation in Iran, Bahrain, regarding the incident’s possible effect on our countrymen, especially those working in the Middle East,” Go said.
“Our Armed Forces is prepared if ever there is a need to conduct repatriation operations,” he added.
The fear that Iran would retaliate for the death of Soleimani has sparked tension and talks of a full armed conflict between the Western superpower and the Islamic country.
Labor groups in the Philippines have already raised possible scenarios that would require OFWs to be repatriated.
Economic concerns were also mentioned, as the airstrike has already pushed oil prices up by over 4 percent — prompting groups to urge the government to suspend the excise taxes on oil products and to stock fuel products to shield people from possible inflation effects.
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