Filipinos ordered to evacuate Iraq amid US-Iran tensions, Latest World News - The New Paper

Filipinos ordered to evacuate Iraq amid US-Iran tensions

This article is more than 12 months old

MANILA The Philippines has ordered its citizens to leave Iraq, the Philippine Foreign Ministry said yesterday, after Iran attacked US forces there in response to the US killing of an Iranian commander last week.

"The alert level in the entire Iraq has been raised to alert level 4 calling for mandatory evacuation," said Mr Eduardo Menez, ministry's spokesman.

The department said there are 1,600 Filipinos working in Iraq, more than half in the Kurdistan region and the rest at US and other foreign facilities in Baghdad and in commercial establishments in Erbil.

A Philippine coast guard patrol vessel, newly acquired from France and en route to the Philippines, was ordered to sail to Oman and Dubai to assist Filipinos who may need to be extricated.

"Overseas Filipino workers will be brought to safer ports where there may be airlifted, as the need arises," the coast guard said in a statement.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who heads a newly created committee to prepare the evacuations, said on Tuesday the government was preparing aircraft for Filipinos in Iraq and Iran who wished to come home or move to safer areas.

About 2.3 million people from the Philippines are working in the Middle East. They sent home US$5.4 billion (S$7.3 billion) in remittances in January to October last year.- REUTERS