BEIRUT, Lebanon – The heavy downpour in Beirut did not stop Filipino migrant workers from bringing their protest to the Philippine embassy regarding the total deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Lebanon.
Representatives of the Filipino community aired their sentiments on the ban that was put in place last June 18, 2007 after the 2006 war in Lebanon.
Ambassador Gilberto Asuque said the Philippine government imposed the ban to ensure the protection of Filipino workers in Lebanon.
Although the situation remained calm in Lebanon in 2008 and 2009, the embassy said the provision for protection like health insurance is still not enough for Pinoy workers there.
In 2009, a negotiation took place between the Philippines and Lebanon to come up with a memorandum of understanding on labor and cooperation. The negotiation is still ongoing.
This year, Congress approved the Republic Act 10022, amending RA 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.
Section 3 of RA 10022 stipulates that the “State shall allow the deployment of overseas Filipino workers only in countries where the rights of Filipino migrant workers are protected."
Asuque said Lebanon did not approve the conditions under the law.
The ban also affected even the rehires or Philippine Overseas Employment Administration-documented workers who entered Lebanon even before the ban was put in place.
The OFWs said they cannot even take a vacation or go home on emergency leave or even attend important occasions like graduation or Christmas in the Philippines.
Asuque promised to send the OFWs' message, as well as his recommendation to the Philippine government. Rhyse Furio, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau