Duterte orders mandatory evacuation of Filipinos in Iran, Iraq
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the mandatory evacuation of Filipinos in Iran and Iraq and to bring them to safe place, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
The order came as tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated with Iran launching missiles to Iraqi military bases hosting American troops.
The attacks were Iran's retaliation on the killing of its top commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad airport last week through America's airstrike.
"The instruction has not changed. It's the repatriation of the Filipinos in the areas of conflict. Right now the concern is the evacuation of these Filipinos to a safe place," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters.
"Well the President has ordered the mandatory evacuation of Filipinos in those areas to put them in safety and out of harm’s way," he added.
However, Panelo noted the government could not force Filipinos who are married to Iranians to evacuate if they refuse.
"On the other hand, in Iraq, our problem is most of the workers there are working in bases. They are technicians in the military bases. That's why it's dangerous," Panelo said.
Before Filipinos could be repatriated to the Philippines, they could be brought first to a safer place like Qatar, he added. Celerina Monte/DMS