MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines will no longer deploy overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to 15 countries considered as unsafe.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Hans Cacdac said the POEA governing board has approved a resolution restricting deployment to 15 countries found not compliant with the requirements of the amended Migrant Workers Act starting July 15.
These countries are Afghanistan, Chad, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, Haiti, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Palestine, Somalia, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.
Cacdac said a copy of the resolution had been published in a national newspaper.
The government imposed a deployment ban in Afghanistan and Lebanon several years ago due to hostilities there.
Cacdac said a total deployment ban remains in effect in Iraq, except in Kurdistan, while the government is undertaking a review.
He said POEA is also awaiting the assessment and recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on the Vatican and Monaco.
“Our post in Monaco and the Vatican have something to look into, but it has nothing to do with the two countries being unsafe, that is why the deployment continues,” Cacdac said.
He said the country deploys very few OFWs to Monaco and the Vatican.
Upon the recommendation of the DFA, the POEA has allowed deployment to 184 out of 203 countries hiring OFWs.
In a related development, local recruiters have opposed plans to require all returning Filipino workers, particularly seafarers, to be tested for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.
Recruitment officials said HIV testing is unnecessary since all OFWs undergo extensive medical examination before leaving the country.