By Staff writer
A total of 37 distressed workers were flown from Beirut and Baghdad on Christmas Day
The Philippines has assisted 37 distressed overseas workers who were repatriated back to their home country from Lebanon and Iraq, with each worker receiving around $59 each in financial assistance upon their return.
Irene Dumlao, a spokesperson for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), told the state-backed Philippine News Agency (PNA) 37 workers in distress had been transported from Beirut and Baghdad back to Manila on December 25 last year.
On Friday, January 3, the US conducted a strike against a vehicle convoy in Baghdad and the Pentagon confirmed the death of Qasem Soleimani, Commander of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force and Abu Mehdi Muhandis, leading to increased tensions in the Middle East.
Two days later, President Rodrigo R. Duterte ordered the country’s armed forced to put their air and naval operations on standby in the event more Filipino workers in the Middle East need to be evacuated from the region.
"The situation in the area is still unstable and our contingencies for massive repatriation are still in place," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on media statement to the PNA.
Dumlao said those repatriated were given financial assistance worth PHP3,000 ($58.85) each, while those travelling with children were given an extra PHP2,000, the report said.
“They were also interviewed to assess and identify other appropriate services that they may need from the government as they return to their families,” she was quoted as saying.