Home Muslim World News Philippines likely to reopen embassy in Baghdad

Philippines likely to reopen embassy in Baghdad

By Xinhua,

Manila : The Philippines is likely to reopen its embassy in strife-torn Iraq within the year as the situation there continues to improve, an official from the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.

The decision to reopen the embassy in Iraq would depend on security reports from the U.S. government intelligence, Philippine TV network GMA News Reported, citing Jesus Yabes, assistant Foreign Secretary for the Middle East and African affairs.

“Every month we make an assessment on the situation in Iraq. There are U.S. intelligence reports that the situation in Iraq is improving. And if the situation improves, we will reopen our embassy there, perhaps before the end of the year,” Yabes said.

The Philippine embassy in Baghdad was relocated to Amman, Jordan in January 2005 due to worsening security condition in Iraq.

Yabes said aside from the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait have also committed to set up an embassy in Iraq.

“One of the reasons also why we didn’t open immediately (an embassy there) was that these countries still have not opened their embassies. We are waiting also for them to open,” Yabes said.

More than 6,000 Filipinos are currently in Iraq, most of whom are illegally recruited or managed to sneak into the country due to a deployment ban imposed by the Philippine government.

In May, a Filipino cook named Dionasis Saguid was killed in a mortar attack inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

The 32-year-old Saguid was convinced by an illegal recruiter to defy the travel ban and earned 1,000 dollars a month in Baghdad, reports said.

Filipinos usually sneak into Iraq through neighboring areas such as Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Dubai.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has no way of monitoring the Filipinos who defy the travel ban, Yabes said.

Employers, mostly American contractors, have devised other methods of recruiting workers, he added.

“These transactions are done in the internet and it’s very difficult to monitor it,” said the assistant secretary.