Sunday, January 23, 2005

Philippine Workers in Iraq Refuse To Leave

The Philippine Administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration said only 49 Filipinos so far had taken advantage of a program run by his office under which they can be repatriated due to safety concerns. There are about 6,000 Filipinos working in Iraq, many of whom went there despite a government ban imposed last year. The Filipinos even hide from government officials because they do not want to return to the Philippines. Manila has warned workers in Iraq that they are vulnerable to abductions and attacks ahead of the country’s post-Saddam Hussein elections on Jan. 30 and should seek help from the Philippine embassy. In July, the Philippine government withdrew its troops serving with US-led coalition forces in Iraq to save the life of Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz who was held hostage by militants. De la Cruz was released, and the government banned the deployment of more Filipinos to Iraq. Despite the ban, numerous Filipinos continue to seek work in Iraq, many of them with civilian firms providing services for US forces.
Kudos to those Filipinos