Deployment of OFWs to Iraq, Libya under review

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 03 2012 02:19 AM | Updated as of Jul 04 2012 06:34 AM

Manila, Philippines - Filipino workers might be deployed to Iraq and Libya soon.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) might amend the previous non-certification of the two countries.

The POEA governing board is reviewing the certifications in light of latest developments, she added.

Libya and Iraq are among the remaining 19 countries yet to get approval from the POEA governing board as required under the Amended Migrant Workers Act.

Other countries awaiting certification and POEA approval are Afghanistan, Chad, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, Haiti, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Palestine, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, Monaco, and the Vatican.

The law restricts the sending of Filipino workers to countries without certification as a safe destination by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The POEA governing board must approve the certification.

Last Friday, the POEA board approved a resolution declaring 32 more countries as compliant or considered safe destination for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Baldoz said the DFA has certified these countries following the recommendation of the Congressional Committee on Overseas Welfare Affairs.

Under the qualification, the POEA may continue to deploy OFWs to these countries, while the DFA continues to negotiate for the better protection of household service workers.

Of the 203 countries hiring OFWs, the DFA has certified 184 countries.

Previously, the DFA declared 41 hiring countries including Iraq as non-complaint, but eventually withdrew the non-certification and sought a three-month deferment in the implementation of the deployment ban.

A new requirement for a host country to be considered compliant is for it to have an existing bilateral agreement with the Philippine government.

The government has imposed a deployment ban to Iraq and Libya due to prevailing hostilities.

Early this year, however, the government allowed deployment of returning workers to Libya.