MANILA, Philippines - The Iraqi Kurdistan (IKR) region is safe for overseas Filipino workers, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said on Monday.
Baldoz received a report from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) saying the peace and order situation in IKR is "generally stable and immune from the violence" in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
"Kurdistan is now recognized internationally because of the relative safety that led to its economic growth, which in turn, gives greater incentive for the Kurdistan Regional Government to maintain the satisfactory level of peace and security of the region," she said, in a statement.
Based on the DFA report, there are representatives from 24 countries in the IKR, which shows international recognition of the region.
"The presence of multinational companies, a growing expatriate community, and the existence of a vibrant international tourism industry also attest to its congeniality," Baldoz said, quoting the report.
The report also noted that OFWs are welcomed by the Kurdish population.
Baldoz said the IKR was excluded in the total deployment ban of OFWs to Iraq under Governing Board Resolution No. 03 Series of 2012 of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
O the 452 OFWs in Iraq recorded by the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad, 178 are in the Kurdistan region, 154 of which are in Erbil while the remaining 19 are in Suleymaniyah. The OFWs are mostly employed in the oil and petroleum, telecoms and hotel industries in the region.