IRAQ: Filipino Workers Flood Baghdad Despite Dangers

BAGHDAD has become more dangerous but Filipinos keep pouring in to find jobs there, charge d'affaires Eric Endaya of the Philippine embassy in Iraq said Friday.
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INQ7.net

BAGHDAD has become more dangerous but Filipinos keep pouring in to find jobs there, charge d'affaires Eric Endaya of the Philippine embassy in Iraq said Friday.

"It's more deadly now than say three months ago. I now go around with a bodyguard. I communicate with the Filipinos there mostly via e-mail. I discourage them from going to the embassy because of the high risks involved," he said.

Endaya, who is in Manila for the training on the registration for the overseas absentee voting, said he expects the Baghdad diplomatic post to register more than 6,000 Filipinos during the OAV registration period from October 1, 2005 to August 31, 2006.

His estimates are 2,000 more than the official government figures on the number of OFWs there. He said he based his figures from the Filipino coordinators among the OFWs who work mostly in the United States military camps doing laundry, catering, and construction work.

"For example, previous figures in one camp would say there are only 100 Filipinos, now it's 1,000 already," he said, adding that about 15 percent of the 6,000 Filipinos in Iraq are women.

Endaya said OFWs who are going against the Philippine government deployment ban to Iraq are entering through Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi.

He repeated government warnings against going to Iraq. "Sobrang delikado talaga (It's really very risky)," he said.

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