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Filipino workers in Kazakhstan moved to safer grounds

October 23, 2006 6:06pm
Some 600 Filipino oil workers in Kazakhstan have been moved to safer grounds following violent clashes between rival Zazak and Turkish workers in Tengiz which have left 40 persons killed and scores others injured, officials said Monday.

An embassy report said there had been no Filipino casualties in the riot sparked by differences in pay and benefits.

"Filipino workers are now being moved to a secured place away from the barracks of the Kazaks and Turks to avoid being caught in the middle of another possible confrontation ," said Philippine Ambassador to Pakistan Jaime Yambao, whose office has jurisdiction over Kazakhstan.

The riots have forced work to stop at the drilling project, while the Kazakhstan government is putting in place security measures. The Kazak government has deployed 75 security personnel but is expected to increase further.

"No work is going on at present (at the site) but our overseas nationals are safe and secure," the report said.

There are about 600 Filipinos in the oil drilling project employed as electricians, pipe fitters, welders and other construction and technical jobs.
The drilling site is a project by United States-based construction firm Bechtel and Turkish firm Enka.

Apart from Filipinos and the warring Turks and Kazaks, Indian nationals are also working on the drilling project.

The embassy report said the Philippine recruitment agency International Skills Development has set up a 24-hour call center where families and relatives of the workers could be reached – 5501036.

International Skills Development brought 447 Filipinos to the site.

Yambao said Bechtel also contacted the agency and assured that it is ready to move out of harms way the Filipino workers and will shoulder all the costs. - GMANews.TV