First batch of OFWs repatriated from Iraq to arrive in Manila

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
First batch of OFWs repatriated from Iraq to arrive in Manila
The repatriation from Iraq begins Wednesday with 13 Filipinos due to arrive in Manila this afternoon.
Philippine Embassy in Iraq

MANILA, Philippines — The first batch of Filipinos coming from Iraq after the government ordered mandatory repatriation will be arriving in Manila Wednesday afternoon.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said 13 overseas Filipino workers repatriated from the Gulf state will arrive via Qatar Airways at around 4:10 p.m.

The first group, composed of seven adults and two minors, will be coming from Baghdad. They were supposed to arrive Tuesday but were held at the Baghdad International Airport due to baseless allegations of visa fraud, the DFA said.

A second group composed of four adults will be coming from Erbil, a city north of Baghdad.

Both groups will be transiting Doha, Qatar before arriving in the country.

"More Filipinos from affected areas are expected to come home in the coming weeks," Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said.

Last week, the Philippine Embassy in Iraq raised alert level 4, which called for mandatory evacuation or mandatory repatriation.

The DFA will also be deploying rapid response teams to the Middle East to assist the repatriation of Filipinos in the region, particularly Iraq and Iran.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier announced that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will be sending two battalions of soldiers, as well as air and naval assets, to assist in bringing home Filipino workers from the Middle East.

The navy's BRP del Sur had departed from Manila last Tuesday for its repatriation mission for Filipinos in the Middle East.

The Philippine Coast Guard had also deployed offshore patrol vessel BRP Gabriela Silang to assist in the repatriation efforts.

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