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 DFA: No need to evacuate Pinoys from Iran yet

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PostSubject: DFA: No need to evacuate Pinoys from Iran yet   Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:38 pm

MANILA, Philippines - Despite the ongoing tension in Iran, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained Tuesday that there is still no need to evacuate Filipinos living there, at least for now.

But DFA spokesman Eduardo Malaya said the Philippine Embassy there has a contingency plan that it can activate if the need arises.

"We donít see the necessity as of this time, although ang ating embahada in constant communication with members of our Filipino community there. At lahat na embahada ng Pilipinas ay may contingency plans so just in case ina-activate yan. But right now we do not see any necessity for doing that," Malaya said in an interview on dzXL radio.

[We donít see the need for it at this time but our embassy is in constant communication with the Filipino community there. All Philippine embassies have contingency plans that can be activated if the need arises. But right now we donít see the need for it.]

Reports said protests in Iran followed alleged electoral fraud in the 2009 Iranian presidential election against and in support of opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

Police and a paramilitary group called the Basij had violently suppressed the protests, firing into crowds and using batons, pepper spray, and other weapons.

Malaya said there are some 1,300 Filipinos in Iran, many of them professionals. He said most are married to Iranian nationals.

He said the Filipino professionals there include 30 doctors, 25 engineers and 30 teachers.

On the other hand, Malaya said that if civil war breaks out in Iran, the DFAís Office of Middle East and African Affairs is monitoring the situation and will take appropriate action.

It is in constant communication with Ambassador Generoso Senga, a former Armed Forces chief of staff, he added.

"I guess Ambassador Senga would be familiar on dealing with such situations, given his experience," Malaya said in Filipino.

He also said the Philippines is looking to the Iranian people as "great people who are very friendly and supportive of us particularly the search for peace in the south in Mindanao."

"And we are hopeful the Iranian people can resolve their internal differences in the shortest time possible," he said. - GMANews.TV
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