PH to deploy 2 battalions to help repatriate Mideast OFWs

PH to deploy 2 battalions to help repatriate Mideast OFWs




The Philippine government is making sure that the repatriation plan will be smooth sailing despite the meager resources the country has.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte proposed the sending of two battalions of Philippine troops, but will solely to facilitate the evacuation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Iraq, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said. 



"Ang idea ni Presidente is magpadala tayo dun just in case na kailangan ng mga tao natin ng proteksyon (The idea of the President is to sent troops there just in case our people will need protection). The two battalions will not be there to engage in combat to anybody but to facilitate or help assist in the repatriation of the OFWs, especially in Iraq," Lorenzana said.

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The troops will come from the Philippine Marine Corps and the Philippine Army's Special Operation Command.
A battalion is composed of about 350 to 500 officers and enlisted personnel.
Lorenzana, however, said these troops can also protect the Filipino evacuees and those helping them in the repatriation.


There is no Rules of Engagement as of the moment for the Philippine troops we will be deploying in the Middle East.

"Wala pa ngayon dahil we are still in the planning stage. We are still preparing the troops tapos si (Foreign Affairs) Secretary (Teodoro) Locsin naman ay nakikipag-negotiate, nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga ibang bansa dun kung ano ba yung kailangang mga papeles para pumasok yung mga tao natin and other logistics kasi magpapadala tayo ng barko at mga eroplano -- saan sila magla-landing, saan sila magdo-dock, so yung mga refurbishment, refueling, supplies, lahat yun aayusin natin (There is none for now because we are still in the planning stage. We are still preparing the troops while Secretary Locsin is currently negotiating and coordinating with other countries on what documents are needed before the entry of our people and other logistics because we are going to send ships and airplanes -- where they will land or dock. We will arrange all the refurbishment, refueling, supplies)," Lorenzana added.

Filipinos from Iran and Iraq, even those in Libya, who are willing to come home due to the tensions will be brought home, especially if they are in danger.


The government’s greatest challenge will be those OFW’s  to go home as they don't want to leave their jobs.
"But hopefully, we will be able to convince them -- if their lives are in danger -- to come home," he added.

PH Coast Guard’s BRP Gabriela Silang
The brand-new Philippine Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel, the BRP Gabriela Silang, which is now in Malta after leaving Saint-Nazaire, France last December, is headed for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and is expected to be there by Thursday.


"We will hold them there for a while so that if we will use it as a shuttle (of OFWs) from Iran or Iraq to Qatar and then from there we can maybe charter a plane or charter ships to bring them home," he said.
Lorenzana explains that other floating assets from the Philippine Navy such as the two landing docks, the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602), which were acquired from Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL PERSERO in 2016 and 2017, are capable of carrying 500 troops or passengers.
The Defense Secretary also said there are plans to use commercial planes and c of cruise ships in the evacuation of OFW’s.

"Kung marami talaga ang sabi ni Presidente at saka ni (Department of Finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez (If there are really many OFWs who want to go home, the President and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said, we might lease or hire (a) cruise ship, alam mo yung (You know a) cruise ship, mga 3,500 ang capacity nyan (It has a capacity of 3,500 passengers). Ngayon kung kunti-kunti lang, siguro (Now, if there are only few OFWs, maybe) we can charter a plane," the DND chief said.
"Kung marami talaga ang sabi ni Presidente at saka ni (Department of Finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez (If there are really many OFWs who want to go home, the President and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said, we might lease or hire (a) cruise ship, alam mo yung (You know a) cruise ship, mga 3,500 ang capacity nyan (It has a capacity of 3,500 passengers). Ngayon kung kunti-kunti lang, siguro (Now, if there are only few OFWs, maybe) we can charter a plane," the DND chief said.







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