The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has called for the mandatory evacuation of Filipino workers in Iraq due to escalating US-Iran tensions, following an order from President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement posted on the DFA website and its official Facebook page, the agency expressed deep concern over the recent events in Iraq and its implications of peace and security in the region. It raised the alert level in the whole of Iraq to Level 4 and has tasked the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad to evacuate Filipinos estimated to be around 1,640 in the country.

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An Alert Level 4 is issued when there is “large-scale internal conflict or full-blown external attack,” according to the DFA website.

The ongoing conflict in the Middle East continues to rise after the United States launched a targeted airstrike in Baghdad that killed Iran’s top general, Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Friday, January 3, 2020. Iran retaliated by attacking two airbases in Iraq that housed American troops on Wednesday, January 8.

In a live video posted on the official Facebook page of the Philippine Embassy in Iraq last Tuesday, January 7, Chargé d’Affaires Jomar Sadie asked Filipinos in the country to keep their Philippine passport with them at all times and to coordinate closely with the embassy and their respective employers.

An exit visa and ticket, which must be secured through employers, are needed during the evacuation, he added.

Kung walang employer o biktima ng human trafficking, tumawag sa amin para matulungan naming kayo o pumunta directly sa embassy,” Sadie said.

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Earlier, the DFA also advised Filipino communities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia “to be vigilant against potential security threats, observe security measures and protocols established by the Saudi government, and abide by the laws, rules, and regulations of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

The DFA also called on Filipinos to cancel their travels to Iraq and to “coordinate closely” with the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad.

Overseas Filipino Workers may call the embassy at 07816066822, 07516167838, and 07508105240 or email them at baghdad.pe@dfa.gov.ph or mbaphilbaghdad.secretary1@gmail.com.

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This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.

Minor edits have been made by Femalenetwork.com editors.

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