As the war escalates in the Middle East, the Philippine government didn’t just think about an evacuation plan but also the allocation of funds for the possible return of OFWs in the Philippines.
If the war worsens, millions of Filipino in the Middle East will be greatly affected. Because of this, President Duterte called on Congress to allocate funds for the repatriation process of Filipinos from Middle East countries.
According to the speech of President Duterte during the signing of the 2020 budget, he strongly appealed to lawmakers to prepare a necessary fund allocated for the mass repatriation of Filipinos in case the conflict of the United States and Iran takes a full-scale.
It can be recalled that a top Iranian general lost his life following a drone attack perpetrated by the United States. Recently, Iraq is considering the possibility of expelling US troops out of its soil. In Iran, millions of citizens mourn the passing of the top general, Qassem Soleimani.
Philippine President Duterte expressed his concern regarding the conflict of two countries which could spread like wildfire in US allies in the Middle East such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, which houses a huge number of Overseas Filipino Workers. Only in Saudi Arabia, there are more than one million Filipinos and in Israel, an estimated 100,000 are currently living. As for the entire Gulf region, there are about 1.9 million Filipino migrant workers.
“I do not have anything to worry [about] were it not for the fact there are a lot of Filipino there. And it would take a huge gargantuan effort just in case total war breaks out [and we have] to bring them back safely,” says Duterte.
Duterte assigned the Congress in sourcing out the funds and where it will be allocated.