Alert level up in Iraq, down in Yemen—DFA
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is set to raise to level 3 (voluntary repatriation) the alert rating for the more than 470 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Iraq, citing the “escalating bombing incidents and apparent diminution of security” in the strife-torn country.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who just concluded his first official visit to Baghdad, on Tuesday said he had informed his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, of the Philippine government’s intention to raise the alert level.
“We discussed the security situation in Iraq in light of the bombings in Baghdad after the withdrawal of the US military,” the secretary said.
Del Rosario said Zebari assured him “the Iraqi government will be providing all the assistance in order to protect your nationals and bring them out of harm’s way.”
According to the DFA, 279 OFWs were based in the Iraqi capital while 192 were in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region.
In Yemen, meanwhile, the DFA lowered alert levels for the more than 1,200 OFWs there.
In a statement, the DFA on Monday said that Malacañang had approved its recommendation to lower the alert level in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital, from four (mandatory repatriation) to three (voluntary repatriation).
For the rest of Yemen, which is located at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, the foreign office lowered its alert level from three to two (restriction of movements).
The lowering of the alert levels “reflects the current situation” in the country, noted the DFA.
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