May 29, 2015 2:44 PM
Reuters photo of the coordinated blasts that took place close to midnight Friday in Baghdad. At least 21 Filipinos were working in one of the targeted sites, but there were no OFWs among the casualties, said the embassy.
BAGHDAD—The Philippine Embassy on Friday reiterated its call for Filipinos to leave Baghdad after 10 people were killed and almost 30 others wounded in car bomb explosions that targeted two prominent hotels in the Iraqi capital, including one that employs a number of Filipinos.
The Philippine Embassy said there were no reported Filipino casualties in the coordinated car bomb attacks that took place shortly before midnight on Friday.
“We urge our kababayans to seriously consider leaving for the Philippines in view of the latest wave of violence in Baghdad,” said Minister Elmer G. Cato, who assumed a few days ago as Chargé d’Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad.
As many as 21 Filipinos were working in one of the two hotels that was targetted. “None of them was hurt but they were all shaken by the incident as it was a very close call for them,” said Cato, who was at the hotel at the time of the attack.
Six people were killed and several wounded in the first explosion that rocked the Babylon Warwick Hotel at Jadriyah District, which is within walking distance from the Embassy. The explosion near the VIP entrance triggered a fire, damaged several parked vehicles and shattered the hotel’s glass windows up to the 15th floor.
It was followed minutes later by another explosion at the Cristal Grand Ishtar in Karrada District that killed another four and wounded several more. Both hotels, which overlook the Tigris River, are frequented by foreigners, government officials and wealthy Iraqis.
“While we would like to underscore that the Mandatory Repatriation Program for Iraq, except Kurdistan, under Alert Level IV is still ongoing, only Filipinos who expressed their desire to participate will be assisted in going back to the Philippines,” said Cato.
The Embassy, at the same time, encouraged Filipinos in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq to register with the embassy so they can get important information and updates during emergencies. “We are encouraging our kababayans in Iraq to register and update their contact details with the Embassy,” said Cato. “This is especially important given the fluid security environment in Iraq.”
He urged families of Iraq-based overseas Filipino workers would persuade their loved ones to register with the Embassy. “This will also help us monitor their conditions with their employers,” he added.
Filipinos in Iraq may register with the Embassy through the OFW Online Registration System: https://philembassybaghdad.wordpress.com/services-and-fees/ofw-online-registration-system/ and follow the registration steps.
They may also visit or call the Philippine Embassy to register their contact details. The Embassy is located at House No. 4 Zukak No. 22, Mahalat 915 Hay Al-Jamia, Al-Jadriyah, Baghdad and can be contacted through these numbers: (+964) 7817046564(+964) 7817046564, (+964) 7714709842(+964) 7714709842, (+964) 7706464769(+964) 7706464769, and (+964) 7828811037(+964) 7828811037.