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Philippine embassies in Middle East told to review contingency plans

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay urged yesterday Philippine embassies in the Middle East to prepare and review their contingency plans should tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran escalate.

“We should be prepared for any contingency as early as now,” he said.

“I urge the Philippine embassies in the Middle East to prepare and review their contingency plans should we need to evacuate or repatriate our OFWs.”

Embassies can use funds intended for emergency purposes, he said.

Binay is in the United Arab Emirates for a three-day visit.

He assured the more than 800,000 Filipinos in that country of their safety despite tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“You can rest assured, you can sleep soundly, your embassy is ready for whatever may happen as a result of the Iran and Saudi Arabia problem,” he said during a meeting with the Filipino community in the UAE.

Binay held dialogues with OFWs and UAE officials led by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Labor Minister Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash on issues covering investments, job opportunities and workers’ welfare.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it is ready to assist Filipinos who may be affected by the rising tension in the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia and Iran severed diplomatic ties.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran were strained following Riyadh’s execution of Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr recently.

Around 800,000 Filipinos are in Saudi Arabia and around 4,000 in Iran, the DFA said.

Most Filipinos in the two countries are professionals and some are married to Iranian nationals.

ACIRC

BINAY

CROWN PRINCE OF ABU DHABI SHEIKH MOHAMED BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN AND LABOR MINISTER SAQR GHOBASH SAEED GHOBASH

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

IRAN AND SAUDI ARABIA

MIDDLE EAST

MOST FILIPINOS

NIMR

SAUDI ARABIA

SAUDI ARABIA AND IRAN

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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