In what could be an effort to meet demands of insurgents holding a Filipino hostage, the Philippines' peacekeeping contingent in Iraq will head home when its current stint ends next month

Even as the government made its announcement today, video on Al-Jazeera (search) television in Baghdad showed the hostage begging his government to withdraw its soldiers. Angelo dela Cruz (search)'s captors say they'll behead him if Manila does not pull out.

Today's statement appears to be a blow -- at least in the short term -- to the U-S-led coalition. But the statement made no mention of any further action on the four thousand Filipino contract workers in Iraq who are much more crucial to Washington. The Philippines has barred travel to Iraq by any additional contract workers.

The Philippine government has appealed for dela Cruz's release.