Manila gets tough on Filipinos violating travel ban to Iraq

DUBAI — The Philippine government, through its diplomatic missions in the Gulf region, is studying ways to prevent the Filipino workers from slipping into Iraq despite the existing travel ban.

By Criselda E. Diala

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Published: Mon 27 Aug 2007, 8:48 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:00 AM

Official sources said that they are still receiving reports of Filipinos who travel to Iraq for employment despite the travel ban imposed in 2004. Most of these workers use neighbouring Gulf countries like Kuwait and UAE as entry points to the war-torn country.

“Recently, we’ve learned of new tactics being used by some individuals to facilitate the entry of Filipinos into Iraq. We want to plug their operation for the safety of our nationals,” said Roy Cimatu, Philippine special envoy to the Middle East, who was recently in Dubai.

Cimatu, together with Philippine officials from Kuwait, Oman and Iraq met with representatives of the Philippine Consulate-General in Dubai. The gathering had been aimed at drafting specific recommendations to address the issue of violations against the ongoing Iraq travel ban.

The special envoy also confirmed that their group investigated a recent report that a Kuwaiti contracting firm allegedly kidnapped some 51 Filipinos by bringing them to Baghdad to work on the construction of a new United States embassy.

While admitting that there are still few Filipinos who have managed to slip into Iraq, Cimatu said that the number has dwindled significantly over the past two years.

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