Israel urges Philippines to lift labor ban

Posted at 11/28/12 10:11 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Israeli government asked the Philippines on Wednesday to lift its ban on sending Filipino workers to the country.

Israeli Ambassador Menashe Bar-On, in a meeting with Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs Jesus Yabes, said the security situation in his country has improved since its ceasefire with the Palestinian Hamas group.

"I expressed my concerns to the Honorable Undersecretary to reconsider the enforcement of the deployment ban," he said in a statement. "I hope that within days, the ban will be lifted for the benefit of the Israeli employers and the Filipino workers."

"We have also assured the Philippine government that the OFWs are given the same security and protection as any other citizen or foreigner in Israel," Bar-On added.

He praised overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Israel for their hard work and dedication. "The OFWs in Israel have a good standing."

Fresh wave of violence between Israeli troops and Hamas militants prompted Manila to stop sending workers to Israel.

Around 41,000 Filipino workers, mostly caregivers, are in Israel, according to the DFA. Most are relatively safe and have not been affected by  the violence, the agency said.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in an advisory Wednesday, said OFWs who went home to the Philippines on vacation will still be allowed to return to the southern and central Israel cities and towns of Sderot, Beersheva, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem.

The deployment ban only covers new hires, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz explained. Rehired OFWs are not covered by the ban.