Philippines to deploy 2 battalions to Middle East

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo
File Photo: Soldiers parade for the change of command for the new Armed Forces chief at a military camp in Quezon City, Philippines. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

DEFENSE secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Wednesday, January 8, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be deploying two battalion of troops to the Middle East to ensure the safety of the Filipinos there amid the threat of war there.

“Sabi ni Presidente one Army and one Marine battalion... Pinagpre-prepare niya dalawang battalion,” Lorenzana said.

However, he clarified that the deployment of at least 700 forces was not for the conduct of combat operations but merely to assist the government officials in the repatriation and evacuation of the Filipinos, especially those staying in Iraq, who will be affected by the rising tension there, particularly between Iran and the United States following the killing of Iran top general, Qassem Soleimani, during a US strike on Friday, January 3.

Lorenzana said the soldier who will be deployed are now undergoing proper documentation with the help of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

He said they will be travelling to the Middle East as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, for his part, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano said he has already alert local government units to provide assistance to the Filipino overseas workers who will be coming back to their respective places.

“Now in all LGUs I am directing all the LGUs, local chief executives to provide assistance and accommodate our returning OFWs. They are displaced, untimely ang pag uwi nila so dapat tulungan natin sila. Sa akin ang part ko bilang DILG sabi ko nga kanina sisiguraduhin natin na mabigyan ng accommodation at assistance pagdating nila dito sa Pilipinas,” he said.

“Lahat ng puwedeng maibigay natin na assistance dyan as far as the national government is concerned but of course the President gave a word na even if financial ay magbibigay sya,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)