DFA sends response teams to Iraq

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has deployed two rapid response teams to Iraq to facilitate the repatriation of Filipinos from the Middle Eastern nation, an official said yesterday.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said four Filipinos from Iraq’s northern province of Erbil arrived on Friday afternoon, including two who were victims of trafficking.

The new arrivals brought the number of Filipino repatriates from Iraq to 21 since Alert Level 4 was declared earlier this month.

Arriola said the recent arrival of repatriates is part of the efforts of the rapid response teams deployed in Iraq.

“Following the inter-agency meeting facilitated by Secretary (Teodoro) Locsin, the DFA sent two rapid response team to Iraq, one in Baghdad and another in Erbil, to expedite the process of repatriation of those who express their willingness to go home,” she said.

The teams arrived in Baghdad and Erbil on Jan. 20 and 21, respectively.

“Our embassy and rapid response teams are under strict instructions to provide repatriation assistance to every Filipino who wishes to go home,” she added.

The alert level was raised in Iraq after the United States killed a top Iranian general outside Baghdad International Airport on Jan. 3.

Fifteen repatriates arrived on Jan. 15, followed by two from Baghdad on Jan. 17, one from Erbil on Jan. 21 and another from Basra on Thursday.            


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