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Ph gov’t capable of providing jobs for Filipinos who could be displaced by Saudi-Iran conflict

DAVAO DEL SUR, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday assured that the government could help provide employment to Filipinos who might be displaced by the row between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
President Aquino told reporters during a media interview here that according to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, the government could help these workers gain employment in case they get repatriated.
The Chief Executive estimated that 23 percent of these workers are employed in households and they can be given new jobs, for instance in Japan’s special economic zones.
“Walang pangamba si Secretary Baldoz na kung kakailanganin ay makaka-provide ang gobyerno ng retraining at saka job placement for these returning countrymen of ours,” he said.
President Aquino however noted that there is still no assessment that the current situation in the Middle East could deteriorate further.
Nonetheless, he said, Philippine embassies and consular offices in the Middle East are reviewing their respective contingency plans.
He said he has instructed foreign affairs officials during a recent meeting to ensure an open and effective line of communication between the embassies and different organizations working with the government in case of evacuation.
Philippine embassies in the Middle East have ample experience on handling mass repatriation, he said, citing their handling of the evacuation of 20,000 of 26,000 Filipinos from Libya by chartering a ship to take them and other nationals out of the North African country.
He however emphasized that what the government wants is to help restore peace in the Middle East.
“Talagang hinahabol natin na makatulong doon sa panunumbalik ng katahimikan sa Gitnang Silangan dahil malaki talaga ang epekto nito, ‘yung refugee problem, ‘yung ating economy—world economy, bumabangon pa lang,” the President noted.
“Handa tayong dumamay at tumulong, at matagal na tayong tumutulong din doon para nga magkaroon ng kapanatagan sa Gitnang Silangan.”
The recent Saudi-Iran crisis stemmed from the execution of a prominent Shi’ite cleric that prompted angry Iranian protesters to storm the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran.
Iran has also accused Saudi Arabia of deliberately bombing its embassy in Yemen, injuring some members of its diplomatic mission there.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.