DFA lowers Bahrain alert level status

By Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2011 03:07 PM | Updated as of Mar 10 2011 11:07 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Upon recommendation by the Philippine Embassy in Manama, Bahrain, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has revised the alert status on Bahrain, effectively lifting the deployment ban on Filipinos seeking work there at about 5:30 p.m. Philippine time.

The DFA and DOLE had earlier issued Advisory No. 6 last February 22, deferring the processing and deployment of all OFWs bound Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen, owing to the volatile security situation in the 3 countries.

But after the latest assessment by the respective embassies, the Philippine Embassy in Manama saw a significant improvement in Bahrain's situation, prompting it to recommend to the DFA the downgrading of the alert status on Bahrain to Alert Level 1.

By the embassy's own matrix, Alert Level 1 means only non-essential and non-urgent travel will be discouraged by the government, such as vacations or recreational visits to Bahrain.

Since travel for employment is considered "essential" by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), under Alert Level 1, all kinds of deployment will now be allowed for Bahrain, including new hires, re-hires, and those with existing contracts but have traveled to the Philippines for any reason.

POEA said this lifting of the ban is effective immediately. This, however, may also change as the situation in Bahrain changes, as will be determined by the government's periodic assessments.

The deployment ban to Libya and Yemen stands.

POEA said at the time the deferment was issued, there had already been 108 job orders for OFWs in Bahrain.

POEA Administrator Carlos Cao estimated this number to have already risen since that time, with job orders now possibly ranging from 500 to 1,000 jobs.

There are currently more than 50,000 OFWs working in Bahrain.