MANILA (DWDD) – Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano has assured families of Filipinos working in Kurdistan the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad is looking after their loved ones in Iraq’s autonomous northern region.
“We assure our kababayans in Kurdistan and their families back home that there is nothing to be seriously concerned about,” Secretary Cayetano said.
Secretary Cayetano gave the assurance after he was told about the concerns of families in the Philippines of overseas workers in Iraq’s northern region following last week’s referendum where Kurds voted overwhelmingly for independence.
Other than Iraq’s decision to suspend all international flights to and from Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, Secretary Cayetano said the latest report he received from Baghdad indicate that the situation in the region remains stable.
“The Embassy continues to be in touch with our kababayans in Kurdistan and has a team on the ground that is ready to assist them if needed,” Secretary Cayetano said.
The Secretary requested the members of the Filipino Community in Kurdistan to remain calm and to continue to monitor the Embassy’s advisories. He also urged them to register themselves so they could be contacted in case of emergencies.
Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato said there are an estimated 3,000 Filipino engineers, teachers, nurses, hotel and restaurant employees, and household service workers who would be impacted by Baghdad’s decision to suspend all international flights to and from Kurdistan.
Chargé d’Affaires Cato said this means that Filipinos returning home for their vacations would have to transit through Baghdad on their way to and from Manila.
Chargé d’Affaires Cato said the Embassy has requested information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad on visa requirements for Filipinos working in the region.
Chargé d’Affaires Cato said Filipinos who would need assistance in returning to the Philippines should get in touch with the Embassy so arrangements could be made for their repatriation. www.dfa.gov.ph/MCAG