PH implements forced repatriation in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 8, 2020   •   718

The Philippines has implemented forced or mandatory repatriation in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon amid the rising tension between the United States and Iran.

There are currently 36,799 Filipinos in the three said countries.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said several government officials facilitating the repatriation process will leave the Philippines by next week.

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Bernard Olalia will fly to Lebanon, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac will travel to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, while DOLE Usec. Claro A. Arellano will fly to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Bello said the government officials will travel with the Rapid Response Team (RRT).

“They will bring with them the RRT or the Rapid response team so that they could immediately brief our OFWs there of the situation and the action that our department together with the other department will take in order to ensure a well coordinated and safe repatriation of our OFWs,” he said.

The Labor Secretary also said they created a crisis management committee to provide further assistance to Filipinos in the Middle East.

“We have a crisis management center and you can call this center through the hotline of DOLE,” Bello said.

The public can contact DOLE at 1349 and OWWA at 1348.

Meanwhile, there are a over 2.1 million Filipinos expected to repatriated from the Middle East in case a full-scale war erupts.

The government calls on Filipinos to voluntarily return to the Philippines if they know that the situation in their area may possibly worsen.—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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Remains of two Filipino fatalities in Abu Dhabi blast set for repatriation — DFA

Marje Pelayo   •   September 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday (September 10) reported that the remains of the two Filipinos who died in the gas leak explosion on August 31 in Abu Dhabi, UAE are now being prepared for repatriation to the Philippines.

The repatriation was set after all matters were cleared by authorities. 

Meanwhile, embassy officials and DFA regional representatives along with personnel from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) are now working closely with the families for the acceptance of the remains.

The DFA-DOLE composite team recently visited one of the families in their hometown, while Ambassador Hjayceelyn Quintana met with the widow and brother of the other deceased Filipino in Abu Dhabi, the DFA said.

The embassy arranged the viewing of the remains by family members, and is currently monitoring discussions between the families of the deceased and their employers. The families are also being assisted in the processing of the death benefits they will be receiving from the Philippine government.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Quintana spoke by phone to a Filipino survivor who was injured from the accident and now recovering well in the hospital.

The embassy expressed gratitude to the UAE government for ensuring that the affected Filipinos are cared for. 

The embassy also thanked members of the Filipino community whose prayers and expressions of support lent healing and comfort to the families of the victims.

DFA expedites repatriation of OFWs in Beirut, Lebanon

Marje Pelayo   •   August 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The national government is shelling out P15 million to fund the repatriation of overseas Filipinos in Lebanon following two massive explosions in Port of Beirut.

This was revealed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin in a post on Twitter. 

The said amount will fund a chartered flight with Qatar Airways to fly the Filipinos in Lebanon back home to the Philippines. 

Meanwhile, the Philippines Embassy in Beirut is processing the repatriation of the remains of all four Filipinos who died in the incident. 

Their remains are expected to arrive on August 16.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said about 400 overseas Filipinos from Lebanon are expected to board the chartered flight. 

Before the blasts, the agency has been doing repatriation of Filipinos from Lebanon whose jobs have been impacted by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

To date, there are a total 124, 717 Filipinos who returned home from Lebanon since February. 

U.N. expert deems U.S. drone strike on Iran’s Soleimani an ‘unlawful’ killing

UNTV News   •   July 10, 2020

The January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Thursday (July 9).

The United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani’s convoy as it left Baghdad airport, said Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The attack violated the U.N. Charter, Callamard wrote in a report calling for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones and for greater regulation of the weapons.

Callamard presented her findings to the Human Rights Council, giving member states a chance to debate what action to pursue. The United States is not a member of the forum, having quit two years ago.

Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran’s campaign to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq, and built up Iran’s network of proxy armies across the Middle East. Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.

The Jan. 3 drone strike was the first known incident in which a nation invoked self-defence as a justification for an attack against a state actor in the territory of a third country, Callamard added.

Iran retaliated with a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base where U.S. forces were stationed. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran.

Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over Soleimani’s killing and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on June 29, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. (Reuters)

(Production: Cecile Mantovani)

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