THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that 13 Filipinos repatriated from Iraq would arrive in the country this Wednesday afternoon.
Alert Level 4 or mandatory repatriation of Filipinos in Iraq was raised on January 8 due to growing security threats in the Middle East following the killing on January 3 in Baghdad of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone airstrike ordered by United States President Donald Trump.
The DFA, through the Philippine Embassy in Iraq, said the Filipinos would come from Baghdad and Erbil.
“The first group from Baghdad, which comprises seven adults and two minors, was supposed to arrive on Tuesday but was held by Iraqi immigration officials at the Baghdad International Airport for baseless allegations of visa fraud,” the DFA said.
The other four adults coming from Erbil, a city located north of Baghdad, form the second group. They are expected to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 at about 4 p.m.
“Both groups will be transiting Doha, Qatar before arriving in Manila,” the DFA said in a statement.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. had said that the DFA would do all that needs to be done to get Filipinos out of harm’s way.
He also said that the DFA was deploying Rapid Response Teams to the Middle East, especially to Iraq and Iran, to help facilitate the repatriation of Filipinos in the region.
“The repatriates arriving today comprise the first batch of Filipinos coming home after the government ordered mandatory repatriation,” said DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola.
The DFA coordinates the repatriation of distressed Filipinos abroad. “More Filipinos from affected areas are expected to come home in the coming weeks,” Arriola said.