Thursday, January 7, 2016

No urgent threat against Pinoys in Saudi, Iran –DFA

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday said there is no immediate threat against Filipinos in Saudi Arabia and Iran amid the diplomatic fallout between the two powerhouse Middle East states, but said contingency measures are in place should tensions escalate in the region.   
Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose also said the Philippine government is not even considering issuing a travel advisory nor raising a security alert level at the moment in the two countries.  
“We have contingency measures in place if we need to activate it but there is no need for a travel advisory. There is no immediate threat against our overseas Filipino workers there,” Jose told reporters.
Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran were strained following Riyadh's execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday.
Protesters in the Shiite-majority Iran attacked Saudi’s embassy in Tehran hours after the execution, forcing Riyadh to cut ties with Iran.
Jose said the DFA is monitoring the development “very closely” as it may impact on the large presence of Filipinos in the Middle East.
In Saudi Arabia alone, Filipino workers are estimated at 800,000. There are no available figure for Iran, but Jose said most of Filipinos there are married to Iranian nationals.
“This development in the Middle East, particularly the relations between Saudi and Iran, is important to us,” Jose said. “We have a strong interest in the maintenance of peace and stability in the Middle East because we have many workers there.” —KBK, GMA News

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