Police officers stand on a beach after some property was set ablaze overnight by unknown arsonists on Manda island in the Indian Ocean off the northern coast of Kenya. Photo by Siegfried Modola, Reuters
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) governing board has halted the deployment and processing of newly-hired overseas Filipino workers to Kenya.
The POEA decision was made in light of the continuing deterioration of the political and security situation in Kenyar.
"The deployment is in accordance with the Department of Foreign Affairs’ issuance of the Crisis Alert Level for Kenya from Alert Level 1, or Precautionary Phase, to Alert Level 2, or the Restriction Phase," Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, POEA governing board chairman, said.
In recent weeks, there has been a string of attacks and massacres in the coastal region of Kenya, with around 100 killed. Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked Shebab has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Lamu island, a top tourist destination.
Under the DFA Alert Level 2, only OFWs with existing employment contracts are allowed to return to Kenya, subject to their compliance with documentation requirements.
"I encourage every OFWs in Kenya to be very vigilant and to contact the Philippine Embassy in Kenya in any eventuality," Baldoz said.
The government estimates there are 440 Filipinos in Kenya. In 2013, the POEA said 243 OFWs were deployed to Kenya, who were mostly males employed in the manufacturing industry
If the situation in Kenya worsens, Baldoz said the government is prepared to provide appropriate assistance for returning OFWs.