Lift deployment bans to give OFWs more jobs, gov’t urged

February 12, 2009

02/12/2009 | 02:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the specter of tens of thousands of Filipino workers losing their jobs at home and abroad in the face of a worsening global economic crisis, a recruitment consultant on Thursday urged the government to tap an “obvious” alternative: lift deployment bans in other countries.

Emmanuel Geslani said it is now apparent that the government would have to let Filipinos work again in countries which had earlier been deemed unsafe for migrants.

“It is high time that the government accept the stark reality that despite the ban thousands of Filipinos continue to slip into Iraq and Lebanon after the Philippine government imposed a ban,” Geslani said.

Geslani estimates that between 10,000 and 15,000 Filipinos are in Iraq, most of them work inside heavily fortified US facilities.

“Many Filipinos who finished their contracts in Dubai and Kuwait were actively recruited by these companies and flown in or brought directly to US bases via armed land convoys,” he said.

Geslani stressed that the situation in Iraq has improved in recent months and the government should rethink its deployment ban there especially since the US government is set to fund an $80-billion infrastructure project in the war-ravaged country.

He also reported that several Filipino domestic helpers who stayed in Lebanon after the August 2006 evacuation have now upgraded their skills, working in restaurants and hotels in the country’s capital.

“Figures provided by the Lebanese Ministry of Immigration to Lebanon’s honorary consul general in Manila, Hon. Josef Assad, reveals that more than 43,000 Filipino maids entered Lebanon for the period between 2006 and 2008,” Geslani added.

Enrique Manalo, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) undersecretary for policy, earlier expressed the Philippines’ readiness to supply Iraq with skilled Filipino workers should their safety be assured.

Manalo didn’t want a repeat of the death of Dionasis Saguid, a Filipino cook, who was killed in a mortar attack inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone last June.

The 32-year-old was convinced by an illegal recruiter to defy the travel ban. He managed to enter Iraq via Dubai. Saguid earned $1,000 a month in Baghdad.

Aside from sending a Filipino team to asses the situation in Iraq, Manalo hopes that toward the end of the 6th RP-Iraq Joint Commission Meeting, the oil-rich country could also help provide a clearer picture of the actual situation in the area.

The Department of Labor and Employment had earlier identified the Middle East as the region seen to be less hit by the global economic crisis, offering an oasis for Filipino jobseekers.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said that 5,404 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) have been displaced since October 2008, including 4,140 from Taiwan, 298 from the United Arab Emirates, 180 from Canada, 81 from Australia, and 74 from South Korea.

The countries where the remaining number of retrenched Filipino workers came from were not disclosed. – GMANews.TV


DOLE still waiting for DFA assessment on Iraq ban

October 14, 2008
Philippine Barangay Society-Nigeria (PBSN)

Philippine Barangay Society-Nigeria (PBSN)

To all Filipinos in Nigeria. This news calls for another aggressive information campaign to our government officials to remove the travel and work ban in Nigeria. While we have nothing against the lifting of ban to Iraq, we find it unfair that the DFA remains deaf and dumb to our pleas to remove the ban.

Is Iraw far safer than Nigeria these days? What would the DFA do when another Filipino is killed or kidnapped in Iraq? Ban again? Like what they did to Nigeria?

When foreign countries issues travel warning against the Philippines on account of kidnapping or war in the South, the government gets a convulsions and insists the trouble is ‘only’ in the South.

What about Nigeria? Just because of a restive state in Nigeria, the Philippines is fit to consider entire Nigeria as unsafe? That is why it is not removing the ban?

This is really madness.

Let us write our Congressmen and OFW-friendly senators to help us get this ban lifted soonest.

Di na tayo makaka asa kay Ka Noli, masyadong busy para sa 2010.

DOLE still waiting for DFA assessment on Iraq ban
10/10/2008 | 05:26 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Friday said it was still waiting for the assessment of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on whether the deployment ban on Iraq can be lifted or not.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said reports from the Middle East Preparedness Team indicated that the incidence of violence in Iraq has already dwindled but it was relying on the DFA’s recommendation.

“The DOLE position is subject to the security assessment by the DFA on the peace and order condition in Iraq,” Roque told GMANews.TV through a text message.

“While there maybe emerging employment opportunities there, the welfare of our nationals remains primal,” he said.

Recruitment agencies earlier called for a relaxation of the deployment ban to legally open up the job market in the war-torn country once more.

The Philippine government stopped sending workers to Iraq after Filipino accountant Robert Tarongoy was abducted in 2004.

The government said the abduction confirmed its apprehension of sending workers to the conflict-stricken country since the hostage-taking of truck driver Angelo dela Cruz that same year.

Word has it that the government spent millions of dollars for the freedom of the two hostages.

Roque admitted that despite the deployment ban, Filipino workers continued to enter Iraq illegally to take advantage of the high pay offered by mostly American companies with contracts in the Mideastern country.

He said reports reaching his office say the number of OFWs who are currently in Iraq has jumped to 15,000.

Labor officials have also maintained the deployment bans on Lebanon and Jordan despite similar calls for these to be lifted.

The Lebanon ban was kept due to ongoing peace and order problems while that on Jordan was kept because employers refused to comply with new conditions set for hiring OFWs.

Administrator Jennifer Manalili of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) has said the DFA recommended that these bans be maintained due to the “still volatile situation” in the two countries. – GMANews.TV