Arroyo’s Iraq War Stance Backfires on OFWs in Jordan 4/6/2003 Ammar Mangorangca, Arab News Staff
MANILA/JEDDAH, 6 April 2003 — Filipino overseas workers in Jordan have reported being harassed due to their government’s support for the US-led war on Iraq, a spokesman for President Gloria Arroyo said yesterday.
“There is a report from our ambassador from Jordan that two Filipinos told him they were harassed but it was not specified how this was done,” presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said in a radio interview.
He said that the ambassador had advised Filipinos in Jordan to report other cases of harassment and warned them to stay away from gatherings where they may be victimized.
Bunye did not give further details on the incidents but stressed that “it is important that we prevent any possibility that our countrymen may be victimized.”
President Arroyo has been one of the staunchest supporters in Asia of the US-led campaign to topple the government of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
There have been concerns here that Arroyo’s position could endanger the estimated 1.5 million Filipinos who are working in the Middle East in countries where the governments or the public are opposed to the US-led campaign.
Filipino community leaders in Saudi Arabia had earlier warned Manila against openly airing support for the US invasion, saying that it could compromise the safety of OFWs in the Kingdom.
Group Seeks End to ‘Colonial War’ in Mindanao
In the southern Philippine province of Lanao del Sur, the Bangsamoro People’s Consultative Assembly (BPCA) yesterday appealed to President Arroyo to stop the Philippine government’s “colonial war” against Muslims in Mindanao.
In a manifesto titled “Call For Affirmative Action” which was e-mailed to Arab News, the BPCA also urged Arroyo to withdraw her government’s support for the “war of aggression” being waged by the United States and Britain against Iraq. “Wars of aggression defy the logic of reason and justice. These wars are waged not for any rational cause. They are underpinned by the barbaric law of the primitive period which prevailed during the Age of Ignorance (jahiliyah) that ‘might is right’. These were wars of conquest,” said the manifesto signed by BPCA chairman Abhoud Syed M. Lingga.
It said the US-UK war on Iraq is no different from the “equally vicious” colonial war that had been been “unleashed on the Bangsamoro people in Mindanao” and the MILF by the Arroyo government.
“This war has uprooted more than 200,000 innocent civilians from their communities and has destroyed their livelihood and properties,” Lingga said, referring to the military’s February offensive.
The manifesto also opposed the planned deployment of US combat troops anywhere in Mindanao and Sulu. The manifesto further asserted that “the resolution of conflicts … should be done through dialogues in the negotiating table, through democratic processes as prescribed by international laws … and/or through proper forums in the United Nations as befit civilized nations and peoples, and not through war and violence.” (Input from AFP)
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on April 7, 2003