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Pinoy Abroad

RP Embassy worker in Iraq killed

February 12, 2009 8:21pm
MANILA, Philippines — Proposals to resume deployment of Filipino workers to Iraq face yet another obstacle with the killing of a staff of the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad.

Vice President Noli de Castro on Thursday identified the unfortunate worker as Vergine Elias Jamil, a caretaker of the Philippine chancery since November 1985.

Jamil and two other companions were killed by unknown assailants on the night of Feb. 5, said De Castro, who is also the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

De Castro said a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) report gave no further details on the killings. He said the result of police investigation on the case could weigh heavily on whether the government should lift the ban on deployment of Filipinos to war-ravaged Iraq.

“We are closely coordinating with our Philippine Embassy in Baghdad as to the outcome of the Iraqi police’s investigation. This incident will be considered in our deliberation on the possible lifting of the deployment ban," De Castro said.

A team led by Ambassador Roy Cimatu, head of the Middle East Preparedness Team, will be leaving for Iraq this month to study the possibility of lifting the ban. Cimatu’s team will also visit Lebanon and Nigeria—two other countries with existing OFW ban.

“Ambassador Cimatu will reassess the security risk in these countries, whether it will be safe for OFWs to be deployed in said countries," De Castro said.

Earlier, De Castro proposed a selective ban on these countries, seeking to lift travel and deployment restrictions in areas considered as centers of economic activities and where security situation have normalized.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo stopped sending Filipino workers to Iraq following the kidnapping of a Filipino truck driver in 2004 and an accountant in 2005.

Before the ban, around 6,000 Filipinos are working in Iraq and confined inside US military camps due to the volatile security condition in the country.

But the figure, according to Iraq’s Embassy in Manila, has swelled to 15,000, most of them working for foreign companies in Iraq’s northern region. The workers reportedly entered Iraq either via the United Arab Emirates or Jordan. - GMANews.TV
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