This is a report of last year’s petition, which until now, has not been acted upon by DFA, DOLE, POEA. The total ban against Nigeria is still in place.
Last week of April 2008, Energy Sec. Angelo Reyes visited Nigeria. The Filipinos in Lagos had an audience with him and presented him with position papers and petitions, including this one.
It is really unfortunate that the government would shrug-off the potential of Nigeria as a major employment destination for white-collar Filipino workers and as a place for business opportunities.
All just because Malacanang wants to avoid embarassment when their are OFWs kidnapped or killed in SOutheast Nigeria.
PETITION TO LIFT THE BAN
ON FILIPINO WORKERS GOING TO NIGERIA
This is in reference to the continued ban of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to Nigeria.
Late last year, the Philippine government declared a total ban of workers going to Nigeria on the account of the successive kidnapping incidents in Nigeria’s oil areas which involve OFWs. The action may have been justifiable at that point. The ban affected not only New Hires but vacationing OFWs as well, even those OFWs who are working in Lagos and non-oil areas.
Early in 2007, upon the strength of the petition of some expatriate companies in Nigeria, the OFW association in Nigeria and endorsement of the Philippine Embassy, the Total Ban was scaled-down to Partial Ban, allowing only the vacationing OFWs with valid work visa to return to Nigeria.
After the resolution of the kidnapping issue, which involved not only Filipinos but other nationals as well, the Philippine government still maintained the ban on New Hire.
Recently, returning OFWs to Nigeria found themselves barred by Immigration and POEA officials at the NAIA because they were told a total ban is in effect. An unnamed official at the Abuja Philippine Embassy said the embassy is not aware of any memo about a total ban. We heard that it was the DFA Secretary, no less, who asked for Total Ban on the day an abducted Filipino was released.
By declaring a ban on Nigeria on issue of security of the country, the Philippine government is no less insulting the capabilities of the host country to maintain its internal peace and order. The present administration of His Excellency President Yaradua is doing huge effort to secure the oil areas and guaranty the safety of all expatriate workers.
The OFWs themselves in the oil-areas have sent numerous letters to the Philippine embassy assuring the embassy that they feel safe with the present security efforts implemented in their workplace.
One thing is certain in our minds, the kidnapping incidents in specific areas of Nigeria is not a mirror of the entire country’s state of security.
We assure the government and our loved ones that Nigeria is a decent and relatively safe country to work and stay.
In fact, it baffles us why only the Philippines impose a ban, where other countries only gave caution or warning to their citizens working alongside Filipinos.
The recent news about DOLE and DFA calling for Filipinos in Nigeria to come home shows just how the DFA and POEA handles the OFWs situation – by knee-jerk reaction and ‘play-safe’ policy.
We, the OFWs in Nigeria, believe that the imposition of a ban is not and never the solution to this issue of kidnapping, which for the record, also involved other nationalities. The continued ban is just hurting every Filipinos’ chances of getting a decent work and a chance to contribute to the Philippine economy.
We oppose the new plan of the DFA to impose, yet again, a total ban to Nigeria, despite the recommendation of the Philippine Embassy here to lift the ban. We will avail ourselves of all means possible to get the attention of the government to have the ban to Nigeria lifted the soonest.
We also strongly request that the DFA open and maintain a Consular Office in Lagos, considering that Lagos is the entry and jump-off point of incoming OFWs.
For a reality check, we invite Vice-President Noli de Castro, DFA USec Conejos, DOLE Sec Brion and POEA Administrator Baldoz to come and visit Lagos and have a dialogue with the OFWs here so they will know the real situation and sentiments of the Nigeria OFWs — sentiments and information that may have not been made available through government official channel.
To this end, we affix our signatures to show our solidarity in calling on the government to completely lift all ban to Nigeria.
Mabuhay ang OFWs !!! Sama-sama sa kaunlaran !!!