Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. ordered the deployment of a Rapid Response Team (RRT) to Erbil, Kurdistan as fierce fighting rages in Mosul.
The DFA said the RRT will assist the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad in monitoring and preparing for any contingency that may arise as a result of the escalating fighting in Mosul, which is a few kilometers away from Erbil.
Although the prevailing situation does not require a change in the current alert level, Yasay said appropriate steps must be taken to ensure that the Philippine government is ready to lead overseas Filipinos workers in Kurdistan out of harm’s way.
Yasay instructed Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Jesus I. Yabes to immediately deploy the RRT to Kurdistan, assess the situation in Mosul, issue advisories and alerts, and engage with the Filipino community in Erbil and nearby areas.
The Secretary said this is a proactive measure to assure OFWs in Kurdistan of the Philippine government’s readiness to assist them in times of crisis.
There is no established Philippine diplomatic or consular presence in the Kurdistan Region and as such, the Philippine Embassies in Baghdad, Ankara, and Tehran have been instructed to activate their crisis teams to prepare for contingencies in the event OFWs are transported across their borders.