MANILA – Vice President Jejomar Binay expressed hopes that the Philippines and Iraq would soon sign a protocol that would pave the way for the deployment of Filipino workers to the Middle Eastern country.
Binay was referring to the protocol on the implementation of the Philippines-Iraq Agreement on the Mobilization of Manpower.
"The Department of Foreign Affairs is coordinating with the concerned government agencies to finalize the protocol," Binay said during Iraqi Ambassador Ahmed Kamal Hasan Alkamaly's courtesy call to the Vice President.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration lifted the 6-year deployment ban to Iraq in July 2013. The Philippine government had imposed the ban on the deployment of OFWs to Iraq in 2007 due to the US invasion of the country.
Binay said that labor experts estimate at least 10,000 Filipinos to be hired as a result of the lifting of the ban. Iraq previously was host to some 4,000 Filipinos.
Binay met with the Iraqi ambassador to talk about ways on strengthening bilateral relations.
Iraq, Binay said, is keen to attract Philippine companies to participate in the construction of housing units, roads, and other infrastructure that will be subsidized by the Iraqi government.
Binay said Iraq is also interested in forging a government-to-government arrangement for the recruitment of nurses to operate Iraq’s hospitals.
"We hope and pray that under his term (Iraqi Ambassador), there will be greater bilateral relations between Iraq and the Philippines," Binay said.