Saudi Arabia’s Rift with Iran Worries Filipinos in Kingdom

January 5, 2016 5:15 PM

MANILA – Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia have started to worry about the kingdom’s rift with Iran, with which it has recently cut diplomatic ties, according to Migrante-Middle East.

In statement issued on Tuesday, John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator of the migrant rights group, summed up the mood of Filipinos there as “apprehensive but vigilant due to the perceived volatile political rift between the Saudi government and Iran.”

The break in ties happened after Iran, a Shia Islam exponent, condemned Saudi Arabi, a Sunni Islam exponent, for executing Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, an influential Irania cleric critical of the Sunni royal family.

Shortly after, Bahrain and Sudan also cut ties with Iran. Other Middle East countries, particularly those belonging to the Gulf Cooperaton Council, were expected follow suit, according to Monterona, who is based in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

The GCC, established in May 1981 in Riyadh, is composed of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.

So far, Monterona said, there had been no big demonstrations in Saudi Arabia that could destablize the government.

But he adviced Filipinos in the kingdom to avoid activities that could be perceived as terroristic in nature, especially after four Filipino were reportedly nabbed recently, along with 40 other suspects of other nationalities, for alleged terroristic activities.

Monterona called on the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the Philippines to validate the report.

He added that that Philippine government should monitor developments between Saudi Arabia and Iran in case the situation worsens and it would be necessary to evacuate Filipinos living in the kingdom.

According to estimates, there are about 1.2 million Filipinos, both legal and undocumented, in Saudi Arabia, the top destination of overseas Filipino workers in 2015.



Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker