Thursday, February 2, 2012
News Update Pinoy workers banned in Iraq as alert rises
Pinoy workers are banned from going to Iraq as the government raises the alert level to Alert level 3. At the same time, the Department of Foreign Affairs is also urging remaining overseas Filipino workers in Iraq to return to the Philippines. Under alert level 3, Filipinos who wish to leave Iraq are offered voluntary repatriation at the government's expense, the DFA said in a statement Wednesday. The raising of alert level was prompted by the higher than expected surge in terrorist and sectarian violence in Iraq following the withdrawal of United States military forces in December last year. Filipinos are advised not to travel in areas covered by the alert level 3 which include all regions of Iraq except the northern autonomous region of Kurdistan, near the country's border with Turkey, DFA added. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has ordered the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad to contact all remaining OFWs in the country to avail of the DFA's repatriation offer. According to the DFA, there are currently 192 OFWs in Iraq's Kurdish region and 279 in the rest of the country that are registered with the embassy. A ban on further deployment of Filipinos in Iraq is automatically imposed in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment, the statement added. DFA said embassy officials will also meet with the respective employers of Filipinos who will choose to stay in Iraq to review the security protocols of those companies. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has assured that their government is ready to provide any assistance to the repatriation efforts, Del Rosario said.