MANILA — An administration lawmaker on Tuesday urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to prepare its contingency plans for Filipinos amid the latest ballistic missile attacks against Saudi Arabia.
Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, vice chair of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, also asked the two departments to provide the public an update on the situation and ascertain the safety of Filipinos in the Saudi capital.
“Saudi Arabia is home to over a million overseas Filipino workers — the biggest in the Middle East — who could be at risk in case the situation between Yemen and Saudi Arabia deteriorates,” Castelo said.
He added that the DFA and DOLE should be ready for situations like this, noting that this is not the first time Saudi Arabia has been the target of missile strikes from Yemen.
“So this should be just routine exercise for the DFA and DOLE. Nevertheless, the two agencies have to be on their toes and be able to mobilize its personnel in Saudi Arabia at the touch of the button,” he said.
The Quezon City lawmaker stressed the need to maintain an inventory of OFWs in critical areas in Saudi Arabia so that they could be alerted at a moment’s notice.
“There should also be a quick monitoring and feedback mechanism so that authorities will immediately know the status of OFWs and assistance can be dispatched when necessary,” he added.
Houthi rebels in Yemen fired seven ballistic missiles towards Riyadh and several other areas in Saudi Arabia on Sunday (Riyadh time).
Ambassador to Riyadh Adnan Alonto said three missiles were launched towards Saudi’s capital, one towards Khalid Mushait, one towards Narjan, and two towards Jizan.
All were intercepted and destroyed by Saudi air defense systems.
Alonto said an Egyptian national was killed and two others were injured when missile fragments fell on their house in Riyadh.
Meanwhile, he assured that the Embassy and the Consulate General in Jeddah continue to monitor the situation.
“We request our kababayans to remain calm but vigilant and to immediately report to the Embassy or Consulate General any Filipinos who may have been affected by the attacks,” Alonto said.
The envoy said the missile attack was the third targeting Riyadh in the past four months. PNA-northboundasia.com