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DSWD not yet alerted on Middle East tensions

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has not yet been called in to join a government effort to map out contingency plans for the evacuation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as tension worsens in the Middle East.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said they would wait for the request of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) if there was a need to mobilize their personnel and resources for the returning displaced workers.

“We will be called by DOLE if we need to ensure assistance to those who will come back. Right now, we haven’t been called,” Soliman told The STAR.

In the event they are called in to join the government effort, Soliman said the department could tap its disaster quick response fund.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has formulated a regional contingency plan to ensure the safety of OFWs in the Middle East amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The contingency plan was formulated in a command conference called by the DFA in Jordan on Jan. 20 to 23, which was attended by ambassadors and consuls based in the Middle East and North Africa.

Saudi Arabia had cut diplomatic relations with Iran following the attacks on Saudi diplomatic premises in Iran, prompted by the execution of Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia.

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT

JAN

MIDDLE EAST

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

NIMR

SAUDI ARABIA

SAUDI ARABIA AND IRAN

SOCIAL WELFARE SECRETARY CORAZON SOLIMAN

SOLIMAN

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