13 OFWs in first batch of repatriates from Iraq – DFA

Published January 15, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Roy Mabasa

Nine of the thirteen Filipino repatriates from Iraq — seven adults and two minors — were held by Iraqi immigration authorities hours before their flight back to Manila, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

Department of Foreign Affairs (MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Foreign Affairs (MANILA BULLETIN)

The DFA said the nine Filipinos, belonging to the first group from Baghdad, were supposed to arrive yesterday but were held by Iraqi immigration officials at the Baghdad International Airport for “baseless allegations of visa fraud.”

“There were some visa issues that needed to be resolved, and they were resolved through quiet diplomacy,” DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez told reporters.

All in all, the DFA said 13 Filipinos will be arriving at 4:10 p.m. Wednesday at the NAIA Terminal 3 via Doha, Qatar.

The two groups, the first batch of the repatriation process being conducted by the Philippine Embassy, are coming from the Iraqi capital Baghdad and Erbil.

The other four adults coming from Erbil, a city located north of Baghdad, form the second group.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the repatriation of all Filipinos in Iraq following the brewing tension brought by the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani by a United States drone strike at Baghdad International Airport last Jan. 3.

On Jan. 8, the Philippine government hoisted Alert Level 4 over Iraq due to growing security threats in the Middle East.