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POEA allows deployment of Pinoy workers to Iraq, Yemen

March 5, 2013 11:30am
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has allowed the deployment of Filipino workers to three countries: Iraq, Yemen, and Eretria.

In an interview with GMA News Online on Tuesday, POEA Administrator Hans Cacdac said, “The governing board resolution will take effect in 15 days.”

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, chairperson of the governing board of the POEA, said the board issued "three separate resolutions allowing the deployment of Filipino workers to Iraq, Yemen, and Eretria."

"The Department of Foreign Affairs has included Iraq in the list of compliant countries under Republic Act 10022, effectively lifting the five-year old ban to the said country," Baldoz explained in a news release on March 1.

She noted that the the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad on February 4 this year has certified Iraq as "compliant with the guarantees of the law."

Two days later, the DFA lowered the crisis alert in Iraq to Level 1 (Precautionary Phase), with mandatory travel restriction to "no-go" zones to be determined by the host country.

Cacdac explained that the decrease in political tensions as the basis for the lowering of the crisis alert in Iraq from Level 3 to Level 1.

In Yemen, earlier plagued with civil unrest, the crisis alert was also lowered from Level 3 to Level 1, he noted.

Conditions for ban lifting

Cacdac explained that the travel ban lifting for Iraq is subject to two conditions for new hires:
(1) the identification of "no go zones" by the Iraqi government for new hires, and
(2) the conclusion of a bilateral agreement with the Iraqi government on topics such as humanitarian rights and other issues for the new hires.

On the other hand, for rehires, the Iraqi government only has to specify which areas are "no go zones."

Meanwhile, there are no such conditions for new hires and rehires in Yemen, Cacdac said. The POEA deferred the deployment of Filipino workers there in February 2011 because of unstable political and security conditions.

For Eretria, meanwhile, the DFA on December 21 last year included it on the list of countries compliant with the requirements of Section 3 of Republic Act 10020, guaranteeing the protection of the rights of foreign workers.

With the latest ruling on the deployment of Filipino workers to Iraq, Yemen, and Eritrea, 189 countries and territories are now certified as compliant with Section 3 of RA 10022.

No immediate deployment to Iraq

Meanwhile, Cacdac stressed that there are no accredited foreign employers in Iraq yet.

He cited the need to create a memorandum allowing foreign employers to hire Filipino workers in Iraq.

This means that Filipino workers cannot be deployed to foreign companies in Iraq until a memorandum is signed.

When asked about the time frame for the creation of the memorandum, Cacdac said it would be difficult to determine as this would be dependent on the Iraqi government.

Cacdac said Filipino workers in Iraq and Yemen are mostly involved in industries such as oil and gas, construction, medical, tourism and food service industries.

Cacdac had a word of caution for Filipino workers hoping to work abroad: “Mag-ingat lamang at siguraduhing they are dealing with licensed recruiters.” - VVP, GMA News
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