OFW deployment ban to five countries stays - DFA

Posted at 04/01/09 9:56 PM

The deployment ban to five countries remains following an assessment of its security and labor conditions, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

DFA Undersecretary for Migrants Workers’ Affairs Esteban Conejos Jr., identified the countries where deployment of overseas Filipino workers are still banned as Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Nigeria.

“The government maintains and reiterates the ban on labor deployment to these places,” Conejos said in a press statement posted on the DFA’s website.

Conejos appealed to the public to respect the existing policy of banning labor deployment to the five countries.

“Our purpose is to keep away our overseas workers from harm and avoid further risks to their lives,” Conejos added.

The DFA undersecretary said that Filipinos who would like to seek employment abroad may consider alternative countries where their safety will not be compromised.

According to Conejos, the security situation in Afghanistan remains unstable and volatile. Last March 20, a Filipino carpenter was killed and another injured in a rocket attack in Kandahar.

There is also an existing labor and travel ban to Iraq due to continuing security concerns. Labor deployment to Nigeria is also on hold, especially to those working or traversing the Niger Delta, the hotbed of local militancy.

With the improved security situation in Lebanon, the DFA statement said the lifting of the labor deployment ban is being considered given some progress in the conclusion of a bilateral labor cooperation agreement that will ensure the protection of the welfare of Filipino workers, specifically minimum wage, reasonable rest periods and decent working and living conditions. The Philippine government issued the ban on deployment to Lebanon in 2006.

There is also a current ban in the deployment of household workers to Jordan.

“For Lebanon and Jordan, we are in the process of negotiating the bilateral cooperation agreements. We are coming closer to signing these agreements,” Conejos said.

He said the DFA, the Department of Labor and Employment, and other concerned agencies are continuously monitoring and assessing the situation in the five countries while concerned Philippine embassies and consulates provide regular updates to the DFA.