OFWs in Afghanistan happy with extension to work in US bases

Posted at 08/29/11 11:56 AM

MANILA, Philippines - More than 6,000 Filipino workers in Afghanistan cheered Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.'s recent announcement that OFWs working in US facilities there are not covered by the deployment ban.

In a statement, Filipinos in Afghanistan (FIA) expressed gratitude to the administration of President Benigno Aquino for respecting their right to work inside the safe and secure confines of US bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"FIA is now requesting that the Department of Foreign Affairs to issue immediately the memorandum to the US and international contractors embodying the spirit of the order of Malacanang in allowing the workers to continue working way past the deadline of Dec. 31, 2011," the group said.

Ochoa, who is the chairman of the Overseas Preparedness Response Team, said over the weekend that Filipinos who are working in US facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq are not covered by the deployment ban.

"After making an assessment of the conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq based on input from Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), we have recommended that Filipino workers who are already employed in US military bases and installations in these countries be allowed to remain there to continue their employment," Ochoa said.

However, the overall deployment ban to the two countries still remains.

Majority of the 6,000 OFWs are working inside two US bases in Afghanistan - Bagram and Kandahar Airfields.

The NATO Commander of Kandahar issued recently an order setting the expiration of the badges/ IDs of all Filipinos for Dec. Dec. 31.