At least 14 Filipinos to return home from Middle East — Lorenzana
MANILA, Philippines — Around 14 Filipinos from the Middle East will soon return to the Philippines amid the tension between the United States and Iran, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Saturday.
In a statement, Lorenzana said the evacuees will be transported from Doha, Qatar to Manila on Sunday, noting that the number of evacuees from the Middle East may still increase.
“The first batch of evacuees numbering 14 are now at the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. They will be transported to Doha, Qatar from where they will be flown to Manila on Sunday 12 January 2020,” Lorenzana said.
“This number may increase, however, as the Embassy continues to call on other Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who wish to come home,” he added.
Lorenzana also noted that Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, special envoy to the Middle East, is “implementing the repatriation on the ground in Qatar.” Cimatu is also “constantly assessing the situation in Iran, Iraq, Libya, and other neighboring states.”
The Defense chief added that BRP Gabriela Silang, a Philippine Coast Guard ship, is now Malta to prepare to sail in nearby countries and transport Filipinos to safer areas.
The Department of National Defense is also monitoring Kuwait, which is currently raised to maximum security level.
“The Alert Level within an area covering a 100-km radius from and including Tripoli, Libya was raised to Level 4 (mandatory evacuation). Outside the said 100-km radius, it remains at Alert Level 2,” Lorenzana said.
Filipinos in Iraq, Tripoli, Libya are also advised to contact the “nearest Philippine mission to facilitate their mandatory evacuation.”