Philippine labor officials on Wednesday lifted the ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to three countries — Nigeria, Libya, and South Sudan.
In a news release, Labor secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) governing board issued three separate resolutions on the lifting of the deployment ban.
POEA records show there are 2,152 OFWs in Libya; 1,691 in Nigeria; and 1,941 in South Sudan.
POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 4 fully lifts the ban on the deployment of OFWs to Nigeria based on the recommendation of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), noting the improved security situation in that country.
The ban on the deployment of OFWs to Nigeria was imposed on January 22, 2007 following kidnappings due to unrest in Nigeria at that time.
On March 13, 2007, the ban was partially lifted to allow the re-deployment of OFWs in Nigeria who were on vacation and were returning to the same employers.
However, it was reimposed on January 31, 2008 and the ban also covered Filipino seafarers onboard ships entering Nigerian ports.
A partial lifting of the reimposed ban was made on August 12, 2009.
Resolution No. 5 fully lifts the ban on the deployment of OFWs to Libya following the approval by the Office of the President of the recommendation of the DFA last Feb. 23 to lower the crisis alert level in Libya from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1.
The POEA Governing Board suspended the processing and deployment of OFWs bound for Libya on February 22, 2011 because of heightened political unrest there.
On December 20 last year, the Governing Board issued Resolution No. 10 which allowed for the gradual processing and redeployment of returning workers in the medical and oil sectors only, subject to proof of existing employment as determined by the POEA.
“The gradual processing is no longer in effect as the Governing Board now allows the resumption of the processing and deployment of Filipino workers to Libya,” Baldoz said.
In the third resolution, Resolution No. 6, the POEA Governing Board lifts the ban on the deployment of OFWs to South Sudan, which was imposed on March 30, 2005 in all of Sudan, except Khartoum and the Kenana Sugar Plantation in the White Nile, because of the unstable peace and order situation in that country.
On January 13 this year, the Governing Board issued another resolution, Resolution No. 1, imposing a total ban to South Sudan and deferred the processing and deployment of OFWs there until its political and security conditions have normalized.
“The decision to lift the ban in the deployment of OFWs to South Sudan was made in the wake of the DFA’s recommendation lowering the crisis alert level in South Sudan from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 1,” said Baldoz. – VVP, GMA News