Anticipating a possible US strike against Iraq, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs has formulated an emergency evacuation plan for its nearly 1.5 million citizens, currently employed throughout the Middle East region, reported AFP.
Forecasting possible retaliatory use of non-conventional weapons by Iraq, the government devised the plan, which includes chartering commercial flights that will move Filipino workers deployed overseas out of danger to safer areas.
During the previous Gulf crisis of 1991, official figures indicate that some 25,000 Filipinos were sent home during the 1991 Gulf War, when the government dispatched military C-130 cargo planes.
Filipinos working overseas, mostly as caregivers and house help, repatriate each year over six billion dollars. Saudi Arabia hosts some Filipinos 750,000 and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—over 100,000 workers. In Israel, there are some 50,000 Filipinos working, but nearly half of them are not registered.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, each employ between 35,000 and 21,000 laborers. Some 16,500 Philippine citizens are registered in Lebanon, 12,000 in Libya and less than 1,000 in Iran and Iraq. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )