Filipinos in Iraq told to remain vigilant

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The Philippine Embassy in Baghdad again reminded Filipinos in Iraq to remain vigilant in the wake of the latest suicide car bomb attack that killed as many as 83 people and wounded more than 200 others in the Iraqi capital early Sunday.

The Embassy, at the same time, said it has not received any report of Filipino casualties in the attack, which it described as one of the deadliest, if not the deadliest to strike Baghdad this year.

“The Philippine Embassy joins the people of Baghdad in mourning the loss of many innocent lives,” Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato said in an advisory the Embassy issued to the more than 2,000 members of the Filipino Community in Iraq immediately after the incident.

“In anticipation of more attacks before the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the Embassy reiterates its call for our kababayans in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq to remain vigilant in the coming days and to restrict movement,” the advisory posted in the Embassy’s Facebook Page said.

“Filipinos are strongly urged to remain indoors as much as possible and to stay away from public places such as shopping malls, restaurants and markets. Those who wish to be repatriated should contact the Embassy so arrangements could be made for their return to the Philippines.”

The Embassy’s emergency contact numbers are: +964-751-616-7838 or+964-773-569-9562.
The Embassy estimates that there are 300 Filipinos who remain in Baghdad despite the government’s mandatory repatriation program that has been in place since 2014 when Iraq was placed under Alert Level IV due to threats posed by the Islamic State.

More than 1,500 members of the Filipino Community are based in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region while the rest are in Basra and in the southern provinces of the country that have been spared the level of violence that Baghdad and other provinces continue to be subjected to.