With the Philippine government’s deployment of two battalions of military combatants to the Middle East, the Duterte regime is adding more fuel to the fire in an already conflict-ridden region. Their presence as foreign combatants sent by a warmongering president who holds a pro-US default position makes this military contingent a hostile force in the region and is therefore a menacing threat to the safety and security of OFWs. This only goes to show that the Duterte regime is apathetic to the welfare of Filipino migrants in the Middle East. If there is any genuine concern and sincerity on the part of the Philippine government for the imperiled OFWs, it should be sending social workers, health care professionals and translators instead of militarizing evacuation operations.
Lest we forget that in 2003, it was none other than OWWA which confirmed that no evacuation took place at all during the US-Iraq War despite the release of US$293,500 to Cimatu. Instead, the budget allocation was used to purchase military assets and the troops sent were actually ordered to aid the US military in its terrorist war of aggression in Iraq. We fear that the evacuation fund allocated for this operation might once again be converted into a ‘war fund’ with Cimatu being tapped anew as mission envoy by the corrupt Duterte administration.
Migrante International reiterates our ardent call and challenge to the Duterte regime to save OFWs in the Middle East and renounce the US imperialist war of aggression against the people of Iran.