List of 'OFW-friendly' countries bared

By Estrella Torres, BusinessMirror

Posted at Nov 02 2011 07:19 AM | Updated as of Nov 02 2011 10:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued the list of 125 countries where Filipino workers can be deployed and 41 countries where sending of workers will have to be reconsidered owing to their failure to adopt domestic laws that protect migrant workers.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the POEA governing board issued two more resolutions on deployment of OFWs to compliant, noncompliant countries based on the requirements of Republic Act (RA) 10022, or the amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.

The decision of the POEA will take effect in 15 days from the date of publication in major newspapers.

She said as of May this year, the POEA, an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment, listed a total of 125 countries where overseas Filipino workers can be continuously deployed.

“On the other hand, the third resolution, GB Resolution 7, specifies a list of 41 countries where OFWs cannot be deployed for noncompliance with the guarantees required under RA 10022,” said Baldoz in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The passage of RA 10022 requires Philippine diplomatic posts to review all host countries whether they have existing laws that protect migrant workers, a move to prevent the rampant sexual and physical abuses being committed against Filipino migrant workers.

She said a host country will be certified as compliant to the law if its government has any of the following requirements that protect the rights of Filipino migrant workers.

(a) It has existing labor and social laws protecting the rights of workers, including migrant workers;

(b) It is a signatory to and/or a ratifier of multilateral conventions, declarations or resolutions relating to the protection of workers, including migrant workers; and

(c) It has concluded a bilateral agreement or arrangement with the government on the protection of the rights of overseas Filipino workers;

Secretary Baldoz said the government can reconsider the assessment to “compliant” category if the  receiving country is taking positive, concrete measures to protect the rights of migrant workers based on the provisions of RA 10022.

The labor chief said the new law shall be strictly enforced and the state “shall allow the deployment of overseas workers only in countries where the rights of Filipino migrant workers are protected.”

However, she said countries assessed as noncompliant can initiate negotiation and push for bilateral agreements with the Philippines to address the noncompliances.

She also assured that companies and contractors with international operations in non-compliant countries can still deploy Filipino workers “unless there is an existing ban to that country.”

The Philippines has existing deployment ban to conflict-affected countries like Lebanon, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria  and partial ban to Iraq and Afghanistan.