The Department of National Defense said on Sunday that President Rodrigo Duterte tasked the Armed Forces of the Philippines to prepares its resources to evacuate Pinoys living in Iran and Iraq if US-Iran-Iraq tensions escalate.
Duterte earlier called AFP and national intelligence for an emergency to plan on the repatriation of Filipinos in Iran and Iraq. Tensions between the Middle East countries and the US sparked after the US assassinated Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani.
According to Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong, there are 1,600 Filipinos in Iran and 6,000 in Iraq.
“The President has tasked the AFP to prepare its air and naval assets to evacuate and bring home our countrymen if and when open hostilities erupt in the Middle East that may endanger their lives,” Andolong said in a statement.
A US drone strike on Baghdad’s international airport killed Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, last Friday.
As a result, Iran’s supreme leader vowed “severe revenge” for Soleimani’s death.
US President Donald Trump answered and threated to hit 52 Iranian sites “very hard” if Iran attacks Americans or US assets.
Also read: Donald Trump impeached today
ACTS-OFW says US-Iran-Iraq tensions may endanger lives of Filipino migrant workers
ACTS-OFW chairman John Bertiz III said Sunday the heightened tensions between Iran and the US might affect not only the OFWs’ jobs but also their lives.
“Right now, hundreds of Filipino sailors on Western oil and gas tankers navigating through the Strait of Hormuz every day are already in harm’s way, given that Iran has warned of swift and severe retaliation,” Bertiz said.
“Any eruption of open hostilities in the Middle East involving the US is bound to drag its major military allies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, both of which host large numbers of Filipino workers,” Bertiz added.