First batch of Pinoys repatriated from Iraq arrives
MANILA, Philippines — Thirteen Filipinos, including two minors, arrived in Manila from conflict-torn Iraq on Wednesday afternoon under the government’s mandatory repatriation program.
They were the first batch of Filipinos repatriated from Iraq amid tensions between Iran and the United States.
Many of the adults, whose identities were not disclosed, were undocumented workers and suspected to be victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking.
Nine, including the two minors, came from Baghdad, while the rest were from Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region in the north.
Those who came from Baghdad were initially held at its airport for visa fraud but eventually given proper documentation by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“Our plea to you is not to return. This repatriation is literally ‘buwis-buhay’ (risky). Please share (with) our other countrymen that where you came from is really dangerous and tell [those still in Iraq] to (come) home,” Foreign Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola told the Filipinos during a briefing.
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