DFA vows to help OFWs in Mideast amid activists’ protection call

MANILA -- Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. on Friday, January 10 assured that the Philippine government is exerting efforts to ensure the security and welfare of Filipinos in the Middle East.

“For one, ‘yong pinatay sa Kuwait, sinabi ko na, a life for a life, no compromise, none, I don’t like ransom. Two, kahit na parang wala nang giyera, in spite of that, there will still be a massive repatriation effort to bring our people back home,” he said.

(For one, the Filipino killed in Kuwait, I said life for a life, no compromise, none, I don’t like ransom (blood money). Two, even if there seem to be no war happening, there will still be massive repatriation to bring our people back home.)

Locsin assured that the taxes of the Filipino people will be put into good use as he vowed to bring all those who are requesting repatriation, particularly those covered by the mandatory evacuation order in Iraq.

The remarks come after militant groups held a rally in front of the DFA office in Pasay City calling for the protection of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East.

The same protesters also condemned the government’s plan of deploying soldiers to assist in the evacuation of Filipinos in Iraq, seeing the proposal as “adding fuel to the fire” in the conflict-ridden region.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on the repatriation of OFWs in the Middle East, has repeatedly assured that the planned deployment of Filipino troops is only to assist in the repatriation and humanitarian operations.

Malacañang also clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte merely issued a “friendly caution” that Washington will get Manila’s support if Tehran deliberately attacks Filipinos in the Middle East.

Tensions flared up in the region after the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani due to a US airstrike on January 3, followed by the ballistic missiles fired by Tehran against two airbases hosting American troops in Iraq.

US President Donald Trump said no casualties were reported from Iran missiles attack and that it “appears to be standing down”. (PNA)


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