By Jel Santos
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has imposed a total deployment ban on the processing and deployment of all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), including crew changes and shore leaves of Filipino seafarers in Iraq.
The POEA Governing Board released a resolution on the total deployment ban in Iraq on Tuesday, ordering its immediate compliance.
“The POEA Governing Board, in a meeting duly convened, resolves as it is hereby resolved, to impose a total deployment ban on the processing and deployment of all OFWs, including crew changes and shore leaves of Filipino seafarers in Iraq,” it reads.
In a press conference earlier, the Department of Labor and Employment said a total deployment ban will be imposed in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon where Alert Level 4 is currently in effect.
POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said the agency’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) will convince and compel OFWs to return to the Philippines. But he said the RRT cannot force them should they insist to stay in those countries.
On Jan. 8, the Department of Foreign Affairs raised the alert level over the whole of Iraq to Level 4 in the light of escalating tensions between Iran and the United States following a U.S.-ordered drone strike that killed a top Iranian general.