Gov't stops OFW deployment to Gaza

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 26 2014 09:37 AM | Updated as of Jul 26 2014 05:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The government has stopped the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Gaza amid threats to security due to the continued armed conflict between Israel and the Palestinians’ Hamas.

But the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has imposed a partial deployment ban to Israel and the West Bank, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

Baldoz said the POEA governing board issued a resolution prohibiting the deployment of Filipino workers to Gaza, where the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had raised crisis alert level 4.

“Under alert level 4, a total ban on the processing and deployment of all workers is imposed,” she said.

Baldoz said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)’s Quick Response Team is closely working with the DFA for the repatriation of Filipinos in Gaza.

The POEA banned the deployment of newly hired workers in Israel and the West Bank, where crisis alert level 2 remains in effect.

However, Baldoz said vacationing OFWs are allowed to return to Israel and the West Bank.

The labor chief said local job opportunities are open to returning OFWs from Libya and other war-torn countries. The DOLE reported that 13 Filipinos were set to arrive from Libya last night and 54 more are scheduled to arrive today.

DOLE has been coordinating with a local construction firm and power plants, which offer jobs similar to the occupations of repatriates from Libya.

“These are management positions such as design managers, engineering managers, site managers, construction managers, commissioning managers and quality control managers,” Baldoz said.

She said returning OFWs may visit Phil-JobNet, where 50 positions in construction and 313 in engineering are vacant as of yesterday.