Aquino admin urged to prepare for Middle East conflict
Filipinos in the Middle East have asked President Benigno Aquino III to reactivate the Presidential Middle East Preparedness Committee (PMEPC) in case the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Syria worsens.
OFW leader John Monterona issued the appeal amid reports that the coalition backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia is preparing to penetrate Syria — a development that, he said, "may trigger World War III scenario" especially since Russia has vowed to help Syria.
"We can't simply dismiss and undermine the impact of the Midde East conflict—that is when the US-Saudi-led coalition started penetrating Syria amid pronouncement by Russia that it will help Syria against any foreign attack," said Monterona, who is based in Saudi Arabia.
"Many believe it may trigger World War III scenario that nations of the world would not want to happen," he added.
The PMEPC was created pursuant to Executive Order (EO) No. 6 dated September 2, 2010 and was headed then by Special Envoy Roy A. Cimatu. Its operation was extended until June 30, 2011 by virtue of Aquino's EO No. 20.
PEMPC was tasked to primarily provide continuing assistance to the Department of Foreign Affairs, as well as other government agencies concerned with OFW safety, security, and protection, and in the formulation of policies, plans, and modes of coordination in areas where there are significant presence of OFWs.
Monterona said once reactivated, the PMEPC that will be based in the Midde East will provide good insights to the DFA especially that DFA chief Albert del Rosario is retiring by March 2016.
"We want the DFA to talk about the threat of the Midde East conflict, dissimenate necessary information so that we, the OFWs based in the Middle East, will be fully informed and act according to the preparedness plan by the government," he said.
There are an estimated 2.1 million OFWs in the Middle East; more than a million are in Saudi Arabia. —KBK, GMA News