Long-staying OFWs in Nigeria to be granted special travel permits
04/02/2009 | 01:48 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The deployment ban on Nigeria will not be lifted but overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who have been working for many years in the African country will be granted special travel permits.
Vice President Noli De Castro, who is also presidential adviser on OFWs, on Thursday said that land-based Filipino workers who have been working for more than 10 years in Lagos, Nigeria specifically may be issued special travel permits.
He said the Filipino workers who may be issued with this permit are only those employed in safe areas.
“This is good news to those OFW professionals in Nigeria who have been wishing to take a vacation back home. Their problem before was that once they go home, they cannot go back to Nigeria because of the ban. Now this has been resolved,” said De Castro.
But he said the deployment ban on Nigeria remains because of “real dangers and threats” to the safety of OFWs.
He said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday made the recommendation to maintain the ban because of the latest hijacking incident in Nigeria wherein three Filipino seamen where reportedly held captive.
The DFA said while the hijacking problem in Nigeria is concentrated in Niger Delta, it will be “extremely difficult to control the movement of OFWs” bound for other parts of Nigeria but would still need to pass by the dangerous area.
On the other hand, Malacañang has ordered that the ban on Lebanon and Jordan be lifted.
De Castro said that the lifting of deployment ban to Lebanon and Jordan is still subject to the execution of a labor cooperation agreement between the Philippines and these countries.
This, he said, is to ensure the protection of the rights of OFWs, such as receiving minimum wage, having decent working and living conditions, and reasonable rest periods.
– Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV