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Hundreds of OFWs in Iraq to lose jobs

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
Hundreds of OFWs in Iraq to lose jobs
Foreign and local travelers flock to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on December 22, 2023.
STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — With the impending pullout of the United States from its bases in Iraq, hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are expected to lose their jobs, migration expert Manny Geslani said yesterday.

He projected that between 400 and 500 OFWs working in US bases in Iraq could be affected by the shutdown.

“At stake are the 400 to 500 OFWs working for international contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root hired by the US Department of Defense doing a variety of jobs like the maintenance of the bases, logistics, catering, housekeeping, motorpool and some clerical positions,” Geslani reported.

According to Geslani, the OFWs have been working in the US bases since 2011, when the Iraqi government requested the presence of US  and NATO military presence to combat the growing threats of Islamic terror group Daesh.

Citing news reports, Geslani said the Iraqi and US governments have started talks on the timetable for the shutdown of the US bases.

Geslani said the OFWs working in Iraq were among those employed in US bases in Afghanistan but lost their jobs when then US president Barack Obama decided to withdraw US troops.

Once the timetable has been decided by the US and Iraq officials, Geslani said, the OFWs in the US bases would start going back home.

Geslani said there are over 4,000 Filipinos living in Iraq, most of whom are married to Iraqi nationals.

The Philippine government’s ban on OFW deployment to Iraq is still in effect.

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