Precisely as how we saw it coming, the US-Saudi conflict with Yemen has now escalated into a full-blown ground battle advancing ever deeper into Saudi’s inland territory. Yet despite our repeated warnings in the past few weeks, the Duterte regime is proving to be even more retrogressive in handling an imminent humanitarian disaster that now threatens almost 40 thousand Filipinos in the border regions of Asir, Jizan and Najran. Up to this very moment, the Duterte regime is still unable to present clear and concrete contingency measures to bring safety and security to imperiled OFWs.
Right at the beginning of June, the Yemeni Houthi forces were reported to have already crossed the Saudi border seizing 20 positions as a retaliation to the numerous airstrikes in Yemen conducted by the US-Saudi military coalition. The surprise attack is believed to have claimed hundreds of troop casualties from the Saudi side according to major news outlets.
On monday, a short video clip was released by the Houthi-operated Al Masirah TV suggesting more strikes on Saudi airports and even possible attacks in the UAE. Last week, a Japanese tanker employing 21 Filipino seafarers was hit by a strong blast. The tanker was navigating at the Strait of Hormuz and as contradictions in the US-claim of Iranian involvement in the attack are getting pointed out, it is apparent that this false flag incident was meant to justify a US imperialist war of aggression in the region against Iran and Yemen. All 21 Filipino sailors were rescued by the Iranian navy.
Time waits for no one and the clock ticking to its deadliest last moment does not seem to ring any sound of alarm on Duterte’s stone-deaf ears as doom appears to lunge towards land-based and sea-based OFWs in the Gulf region. Has the government never really learned anything from the lessons of Libya and Iraq? Or is it really addicted to scrambling at the last minute?
Instead of burying their noses preparing for the worst possible outcome of this flaring Saudi-Yemen conflict, Philippine embassy and consulate officials in Saudi Arabia have been exhausting several weeks of their energy in conducting seminars to rally support for the US-Duterte regime’s brutal counterinsurgency program. OFWs who were present in the seminars recounted how consulate officials demonized and red-tagged progressive groups like Gabriela and Migrante as legal fronts of armed Communist insurgent groups.
This blatant use of people’s resources like consulate facilities to propagate the regime’s lies and falsehoods will in no way address the miseries of OFWs who have long suffered under the government’s corrupt labour export program. It does not in any way unify members of the Filipino community who might need to be mobilized soon for emergency relief and evacuation.
The US-Duterte regime is hell-bent in using all forms of deception to conceal its gross inutility in safeguarding the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers. The more he vilifies the legitimacy of progressive groups championing the democratic interests of the Filipino people, the more that Duterte exposes himself as a worthless fool spawned by a corrupt and dysfunctional system. One can’t help but ask as to where his moronic thoughts are wandering anew at this time when thousands upon thousands of OFWs are facing a clear and present danger on the other side of the world.
We will never allow the Duterte regime and his slavish minions in government to be rendered blameless in their gross indifference. The day of reckoning will come. For our part, Migrante International will continue to advance the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants wherever they may be in the world today.