Filipino workers sneaking into Iraq

More than 2000 Filipino workers have sneaked into Iraq to work for US military camps despite a Philippine government ban imposed last year, recruitment agencies said.

    President Gloria Arroyo banned non-government travel to Iraq

    The workers leave the country with forged travel papers and use Dubai as a jump-off point into Iraq, according to formal complaints presented by recruitment agencies to a government task force enforcing the travel ban.


    On average, 100 Filipinos have been leaving for Iraq every month to work in about 60 US military-run camps in Iraq, they said.


    "These (60 camps) have to generate 500,000 meals a day and they need more workers to handle the job," an official from the task force said.


    There are about 6000 Filipino workers in Iraq, and the government has offered to repatriate them free of charge as violence continues in the war-torn country.


    "Deployment bans have never been successful since OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) will always find ways to go around the ban," the official said.

    Porous borders

    "In this case, Iraq has many porous borders like Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and even open cities like Dubai and Bahrain," the official said.


    "Deployment bans have never been successful since OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) will always find ways to go around the ban"

    Filipino official

    President Gloria Arroyo banned all non-government travel to Iraq last year after a Filipino truck driver was kidnapped.

    The driver was freed after Arroyo pulled out a small contingent of troops serving with coalition forces.


    The fate of a Filipino accountant seized in Baghdad in November remains unknown.


    Two Filipino civilians were killed in attacks in Iraq this year, while five others were injured in ambushes.



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