OFWs in Middle East urged to avoid online political commentaries


Posted at Jan 05 2020 12:54 PM | Updated as of Jan 05 2020 11:54 PM

An Iranian policeman man holds a picture of late General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, as people gather to mourn him in Tehran, Iran January 4, 2020. Nazanin Tabatabaee, WANA via Reuters

MANILA -- A migrant workers' rights group on Sunday urged Filipino workers in the Middle East to avoid political conversations and commentaries online.

The Blas F. Ople Policy Center warned that e-mails of Filipino workers may be accessed and used as evidence by intelligence forces in the region.

“The heightened security alert across the Middle East warrants the strict monitoring and tracking of political noise, offline and online," it said.

"An innocent post by an OFW even in the vernacular can easily be misinterpreted by the host government so it is best to stay silent and not to interfere or participate in political conversations."

Tension in the Middle East soared after the United States killed Iran's most prominent military commander Qassem Soleimani, who Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said was planning a "big action" that would have "put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk."

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said his department was ready to repatriate Filipinos in Iran, if needed.

The group advised some 1.26 million Filipino workers in the Middle East to familiarize themselves with the hotlines and social media pages of Philippine diplomatic posts.

"OFWs should have their company IDs and passports in their possession, avoid unnecessary travel, and notify the nearest embassy or consulate in case of any perceived security threat," it said.