POEA approves return of OFWs to Iraq

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 11 2021 07:16 PM

MANILA - Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can now go back to Iraq, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced on Thursday. 

This came days after the Philippine government downgraded the COVID-19 alert level of the Middle Eastern country to Alert Level 3 (voluntary repatriation) from Alert Level 4 (mandatory repatriation) due to the improving security situation there.

POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia, however, clarified that the Philippine government would still not allow the deployment of new hires in the Middle East country. 

Filipinos who are also currently working in Iraq will also be allowed to go back to the Philippines for vacation, he added.

“Ang papayagan lamang po ay iyong mga return OFWs o iyong mga tinatawag nating balik manggagawa,” Olalia said during the public briefing.

(The only people we will allow are the return of OFWs.)
 
“Sila po iyong may existing and live employment contracts at sila po ay pupunta ng Pilipinas para magbakasyon o di kaya sila po ay naririto po at babalik muli sa kanilang mga employers po doon.”

(These are the OFWs who have existing and live employment contracts and went to the Philippines only to take a vacation. They will go back there.)

He added that other countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Japan have also started to allow Filipino workers back in their country as their COVID-19 situation comes under control.

“Kinakailangan lamang po may ipakikita silang CCV, ito po iyong Certificate of Confirmation of Visa. Importante po ito para sila po ay makapag-proseso na at makapag-isyu na po ng OEC ang atin pong ahensiya para sa patuloy na pagbalik ng ating mga OFWs at lalong-lalo na iyong mga new hires papunta po ng South Korea,” he said.

(They need to show their CCV. It is important so they could process this and so agencies could issue OECs to them. This would allow them to return to these countries.)

The official also reminded that OFWs should adhere to a country's guidelines in terms of COVID-19 quarantine protocols and RT-PCR testing. 

“At ipaalala ko rin po no, importanteng mag-comply po tayo doon sa mga strict regulations nila... napakaimportante po noon. Pero, ang pinakamahalaga po dito, lahat po iyan ay libre at babayaran po ng mga foreign employers," he said.

(I am reminding everyone that it is important to comply with their strict regulations. What's important, too, is that these are free and would be paid for by the foreign employers.)

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