POEA effects total ban for OFWs to Iraq

February 3, 2012 10:49 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 3 – Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz announced on Friday that the Governing Board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), which she chairs, has approved a resolution imposing a total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Iraq, except in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

Aside from Secretary Baldoz, POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, Governing Board vice chairman, and Leonardo de Ocampo and Guillermina Gabor, members, also signed the resolution.

"The POEA Governing Board issued the resolution after the Office of the President has approved the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raising the Alert Level in Iraq from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3," Baldoz said in a statement.

"The recommendation was in view of the expected surge of terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq following the withdrawal of U.S. military forces last December 2011," Baldoz added.

The imposition of a total deployment ban is recommended for countries placed under Alert Level 3.

The POEA suspended the processing and deployment of all OFWs bound for Iraq (and Afghanistan) in 2007 because of the unstable peace and order situation in those countries.

Then on September 2, 2011, the POEA, through Governing Board Resolution No. 5, Series of 2011, allowed those with existing contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan and working inside American military camps and facilities to finish their contracts and to extend or renew these contracts onsite.

The resolution also allowed covered workers to be redeployed to finish their contracts should they go home to the Philippines before their contracts' expiration.

"The ban will stay until such time that it has been determined that the security condition has normalized, after due consultation with the DFA," Baldoz explained.

To carry out the latest Governing Board Resolution on Iraq, Cacdac issued an advisory to all concerned, also on Friday, imposing a total ban and the suspension of the processing and deployment of all OFWs bound for that country, except for the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. (PNA) scs/PR/utb

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