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13 Pinoys from Iraq set to arrive

Thirteen Filipino repatriates from Iraq were scheduled to arrive in the country yesterday afternoon via Doha, Qatar.

However, nine of them – seven adults and two minors – were held by Iraqi immigration official hours before their flight back to Manila, the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

The DFA said the nine Filipinos, belonging to the first group from Baghdad, were held at the Baghdad International Airport for “baseless allegations of visa fraud.”

“There were some visa issues that needed to be resolved, and they were resolved through quiet diplomacy,” DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez said.

The second group composed of four Filipinos is from Erbil.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will provide assistance to Filipinos affected by the current unrest in Iraq.

OWWA said each returning OFW from Iraq shall receive cash assistance of P20,000 for active OWWA members and P10,000 for non-active OWWA members.

Post-repatriation assistance will also be provided to OFWs such as airport assistance, provision for temporary shelter, stress debriefing, counseling, medical assistance, legal assistance, and provision of transportation allowance. (Roy Mabasa and Leslie Aquino)