Duterte orders AFP to prepare naval, air assets to evacuate Filipinos as tension between US, Iran rises

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to prepare naval and air assets that may be used to bring home Filipinos if open hostilities erupt in the Middle East as tension between United States and Iran rises.

President Duterte called the AFP chief, Philippine National Police (PNP) Officer-in-Charge, National Defense Secretary Lorenzana, and high officials of Army, Navy, and Air Force for an emergency meeting on December 5.

“The sole agenda was how to ensure the safety of our countrymen in the Middle East especially those in Iraq and Iran as the tension between the US and Iran rises,” DND said.

It noted that there are 1,600 and 6,000 Filipinos in Iran and Iraq, respectively.

“The President has tasked the AFP to prepare its air and naval assets to evacuate and bring home our countrymen if and when open hostilities erupt in the Middle East that may endanger their lives,” DND said.

The Office of the President also said that the President also tasked concerned agencies to prepare for any possible impact of the recent developments on the Philippines.