MANILA -- Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has instructed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to closely monitor the situation in Thailand after the Thai Army declared martial law in the country.
In a statement released Tuesday, Baldoz said she issued the instruction to POEA officer-in-charge Ameurfina Reyes before she left Manila to attend the ASEAN Labor Ministers' Meeting in Myanmar.
"I have instructed the POEA to immediately convene the Governing Board to decide on a deployment ban in response to the events in Thailand. I strongly advise Filipinos in Thailand to be vigilant, avoid public places, restrict non-essential movements, and stay in their houses as much as possible," she added.
Baldoz chairs the POEA Governing Board, while the POEA administrator is the vice-chairperson.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has raised the alert level for Thailand following the declaration of martial law in the country.
Under Alert Level 2, Filipinos in Thailand are instructed to restrict non-essential movements and avoid public places and prepare for possible evacuation if necessary.
The POEA Governing Board earlier banned the deployment of newly-hired overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) intending to work in four specific areas in Thailand in late January when Thailand authorities declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and other surrounding areas stemming from the series of protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Ying Luck Shinawatra.
Baldoz said Republic Act 10022, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act, authorizes the POEA Governing Board, after consultation with the DFA, to impose a ban on the deployment of Filipino migrant workers in pursuit of national interest, or when public welfare so requires.
POEA data show that the Philippines deployed 8,659 overseas Filipino workers to Thailand in 2013, most of them teachers, engineers, production and related workers, and composers, musicians and singers.