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Philippines orders mandatory evacuation of Filipinos in Iraq after tensions with Iran

Christian Fernsby |
The Philippines said today that it is imposing a mandatory evacuation of Filipinos in Iraq amid increasing tensions in the Middle East.

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"As a result of the government's coordination meetings on the situation in the Middle East in the past few days, the alert level in entire Iraq has been raised to 4 calling for mandatory evacuation," Philippine Foreign Assistant Secretary Eduardo Menez said in a brief statement.

Menez, however, did not say how the Philippines will go about the mandatory evacuation of its citizens.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) convened on Tuesday night an inter-agency command conference on the situation in the Middle East after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered government agencies to draw up emergency plans for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in that region.

The DFA earlier said that Iraq is home to 450 undocumented and 1,190 documented Filipinos. More than half are found in the relatively safer Kurdistan region and around 847 in the Baghdad area.

In the Baghdad area, the DFA said many Filipinos are working with the United States and other foreign facilities. In other areas, particularly in Erbil, the DFA said Filipinos work in regular commercial establishments.

However, Arsenio Andolong, the spokesperson for the Philippine Department of National Defense, said there are approximately 6,000 Filipino workers in Iraq.

The Philippines has yet to issue a statement if there are any Filipinos harmed when Iran launched missile attack at Al-Assad airbase in Anbar province and a base in Irbil in Iraq where U.S. forces are based.

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