Ambassador Ricardo Endaya (seated far left) talks to Pinays and their families about the Philippine government's repatriation program in Iraq.
BAGHDAD – Filipinos married to Iraqi nationals are urged to avail of the Philippine government’s repatriation program to bring them out of harm’s way.
Ursula Fabro, Aurora Selmo, and Amelia Forro are just three of the Filipinas who married Iraqi nationals. They live in Baghdad with their husbands and children while another Pinay is in Hilllah and another one is based in Basra.
“Nasa isip ko kasi wala akong pera kaya hindi ako makapag-desisyon talagang umuwi ako. Pero pag grabe na talaga kahit wala kaming pera, uwi na kami by force,” said Selmo.
Selmo has been living in Iraq for 23 years now and war is no longer new to her. She was there during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Forro, on the other hand, has decided to come home to the Philippines. But she will leave behind her two children and husband in Baghdad. Forro has been living in Iraq for 31 years.
“Ako lang po ang uuwi kasi may trabaho yong anak ko, yong isa mag-enrol ng masters. Gusto nilang sumama, pero mas gusto nila dito,” said Forro.
For them, they have been used to the tension.
“Parang normal na, parang normal kagaya nang laging may bomba para kasi laging may gulo dito kaya para di mo na-fefeel talagang magulong-magulo nga,” said Fabro, who has been a residing in Iraq for 24 years.
Like Selmo, Fabro and her husband fled to Baghdad from Kuwait during the 1990 Iraq invasion. She is also having second thoughts about going back home to the Philippines with her two children.
“Life goes on. Pagdarasal, iyon lang naman ang ano mo dito, mag-dasal. That’s the only thing that you can do. Wala naman tayong magagawa. Dasal lang ang pwede nating gawin yon ang magpapalakas ng loob,” she said.
Should they decide to finally go home, they will be provided with free tickets and the embassy will also prepare their travel documents.
“Sana magbago pa ang isip nila. Sana tugunin nila ang panawagan ng ating pamahalaan dito sa mandatory repatriation at kung sakalin naman talagang ayaw nila at dito nila gustong manatili i-mo-monitor na lang natin ang kanilang kalagayan at bibigyan natin sila ng mga kaukulang payo para sa kanilang kaligtasan,” said Ambassador Ricardo Endaya, head of the Philippine Rapid Response Team.