DND: Readiness of forces for deployment in the Middle East remains

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Friday, January 10, 2020 that the plan to deploy assets and troops in the Middle East amid the tension there remains despite the lifting of the mandatory repatriation of the Filipinos living and working there.

“Mandatory repatriation from Iraq remains in effect, while Filipinos in Iran, Libya and Lebanon who wish to come home because of the recent tensions will be assisted by the government. Personnel to be deployed in the conflict areas will exclusively assist in the repatriation and humanitarian operations,” Lorenzana said in a statement.

He said the Department of National Defense is in close coordination with the concerned government agencies should they be given the green light to push through with the repatriation efforts to ensure the safety of our fellow Filipinos in the Middle East.

Ealier, Lorenzana said they will be deploying two battalions of soldiers to assist the evacuation and repatriation of the Filipinos in the Middle East amid the tension between the United States and Iran following the killing of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani during a US strike last week.

Lorenzana also said the military’s resources such as ships and air assets were already prepared to ferry Filipinos who wish to come home for their safety.

Ealrlier, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said Filipinos in Iran and Lebanon are no longer covered by the mandatory repatriation as alert levels in both countries were already lowered down. (SunStar Philippines)