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ME  fears ease,  but  plans for OFWs must continue


E CARTOON JAN 16, 2020
After  the   rise in world  fears of a  new  war between the United States and Iran, following the US drone killing of Iran top general  Qasem Soleimani,  the fears have considerably subsided in  the wake of  recent  events.

With that drone  killing, US President Trump  demonstrated  the US  ability to  dispose of its enemies anywhere in the world.   Iran could not just  submit to it, and it fired rockets at a US base in Iraq in retaliation.  As  no one  was killed in the rocket attack, President Trump said the US would  take no further action.

Then came  the totally unexpected  downing of a  Ukrainian passenger plane  preparing to land in Teheran.  After  a  few days  during which the world wondered  who  did it, the Iran government admitted it was  responsible.  It was  an  unintentional  downing  of  the plane by military forces, an “unforgiveable mistake,” it said.

The world  appreciates  Iran’s  readiness to admit its mistake. It no  longer seems bent  on  carrying out any war with the US. The killing of so many civilian plane passenger s, many of then Canadians,  who had nothing to do with the conflict, may have persuaded  Iran’s  leaders  that their military is in no position to fight a war against the US.  It might be better  to  leave the matter to an international investigation at some future date.

The world has responded with hope to these developments.  After the  Soleimani  incident, world oil prices had surged to their highest  in four months, but now they have slumped back to their former levels.  “The  possibility  of the war between the United  States  and Iran has disappeared,”  an analyst on world investments  and market prices  said.

At the start of the conflict,   with  the  exchange of war  threats by the US and Iran, the  Philippines  was quick to act on the danger  our Overseas Filipino Workers(OFWs)  would face in case of such a conflict in the region.   We thus prepared to  bring  them  home.

But  the latest  developments have considerably lowered the danger of war and, consequently, the need  to bring the OFWs home to  safety. The danger  may have sufficiently   subsided, so that many of our OFWs may have decided to stay there.

At the height of the mobilization of resources  to bring them  home,  the problem of finding jobs for them was raised and the government was considering redeploying them in  Japan, Canada, Gemany, China, and Russia, or helping them  find local employment  in  the ongoing infrastructure programs or n possibly  starting their own businesses.

The danger  to our OFWS  in the Middle East may have subsided, along with the need to bring them home, but the planning for domestic employment  programs should continue. We take pride in our OFWs, whose  remittances have boosted the national economy, but at the cost of social dislocations affecting so many families. We look forward to the day when foreign employment will be an option, not an  urgent need, for our Filipino workers.


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