Tolentino calls on DFA, DMW to protect Pinoys in ME

April 15, 2024 People's Tonight 147 views

As Iran attacks Israel with drones, missiles

SEN. Francis “Tol” Tolentino has called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to protect Filipinos in the Middle East as Iran attacked Israel with drones and missiles.

According to the DFA, about 2,221,448 overseas Filipinos (running estimates as of 2020) resided in the Middle East in 16 countries. Most of them were in Saudi Arabia (865,121), the United Arab Emirates (648,929), Kuwait (241,999), and Qatar (241,109).

Other Middle Eastern countries with a significant number of overseas Filipinos include Bahrain (55,790), Oman (52,760), Jordan (40,538), Lebanon (33,424), and Israel (29,473).

Residing as permanent residents, temporary residents, and undocumented/irregular migrants, from more than 100 to more than 5,000 overseas Filipinos, were recorded in Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine, and Yemen.

Tolentino said the overseas Filipinos now residing in Israel immediately need government action to secure their safety and repatriate them when necessary to avoid the loss of life should the situation escalate further.

With full trust in the DFA and DMW, he hopes that these two agencies have ready-to-implement contingency measures to protect overseas Filipinos in the worst scenarios, such as when caught in the middle of armed conflict while in foreign lands.

“I would say that at present, the immediate action needed is to determine the number of overseas Filipinos per country in the Middle East, assess the danger where they are now, and determine appropriate action based on their proximity to the place of conflict. That means that we must now take action for our compatriots who are in Israel,” Tolentino said.