Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News
Posted at 01/07/16 8:25 PM
MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday said there is no need yet to raise alert levels for Filipinos in the Middle East amid tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Still, the Palace said measures are in place to ensure the safety of Filipinos in the Middle East.
“Sa kasalukuyan naman ang kanilang overall assessment ay hindi pa naman nagwa-warrant na magsagawa ng, o magpatupad ng anuman doon sa alert levels na nasa ating standard procedures. Kaya iyon ang tinukoy kahapon para ‘yung bawat kagawaran na mayroong partisipasyon diyan ay makapag-update, fine-tune, improve ‘yung kanilang mga patakaran at mga plano,” Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said.
“Ang importante dito ay matitiyak natin ‘yung kaligtasan at kagalingan, safety and well-being of all of our citizens, dahil marami silang nagtatrabaho sa Middle East at pinakaraming bahagi ‘non ay nasa Saudi Arabia,” he added.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said that is prepared to assist Filipinos who may be affected by the rising tension after Saudi Arabia and Iran severed diplomatic ties.
DFA spokesperson Charles Jose said the Philippine embassies in Riyadh and Tehran are closely monitoring the situation and are prepared should a conflict arise.
The DFA said there are around 800,000 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia and around 4,000 in Iran. Jose said most Filipinos in the two countries are professionals while there are some who are married to Iranian nationals.