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Philippines allows citizens to stay in Iran, Lebanon, sees Middle East tensions ‘eased’

Philippines allows citizens to stay in Iran, Lebanon, sees Middle East tensions ‘eased’

The Philippines will no longer require its citizens to leave Iran and Lebanon as worries of a broader conflict in the Middle East eased, officials said on Thursday. Washington and Tehran have backed away from the brink of further conflict in the Middle East.

However, the mandatory evacuation order for workers in Iraq remains in force. Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, named by President Rodrigo Duterte as special envoy to the Middle East, left for Qatar on Thursday to oversee the evacuation effort. “The situation is unpredictable,” he told reporters.

More than 2 million Philippine citizens live and work in the Middle East, sending home billions of dollars in annual remittances, Reuters said. More than 30,000 of these are in Lebanon, and more than 1,000 in Iran, excluding undocumented laborers.