Israel-born children of Filipino migrant workers maybe deported

June 4, 2010 8:02 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, June 4 — Long-laid plans by Israel to deport children born in that country to Filipino migrant workers could be implemented anytime soon, according to Philippine Ambassador to Tel Aviv Petronila Garcia.

Under Israeli law, migrant women workers who give birth in Israel must leave with their child or send the baby home to the Philippines in order to continue with their employment. There are up to 40,000 Filipino workers in Israel, mostly as caregivers.

Garcia said that Israel’s inter-ministerial committee, composed of officials from the welfare, education, finance justice and interior ministries, is expected to formulate a final draft of such a plan soon.

To pre-empt confusion in such eventuality, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has drawn a massive humane repatriation plan in coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Labor and Employment, as well as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

In August 2009, the deportation of around 1,200 foreign children, including Filipinos, was scheduled but was suspended due to public outcry and protests of Israeli activists. It was also felt that the issue needed more study.

It appears that the deportation plan involves all nationalities and does not apply to Filipinos alone.

Garcia reported to the DFA that the Israeli Foreign Ministry has assured that any deportation “will be handled in the most humane way possible and in the best interest of our two countries.”

DFA did not indicate if the planned repatriation is also related to the tense situation in the Gaza Strip over humanitarian issues.

A food blockade by Israel is imposed in the Palestine-controlled area of the Gaza Strip. International pressure is swelling against Israel’s attack on a flotilla of humanitarian cargo intended for the marooned residents of Gaza. (PNA) scs/GJB

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