Why are 400 Pinoy caregivers still going to Israel despite the conflict there? POEA explains why

Published May 19, 2021, 3:30 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Some 400 Filipino caregivers will be deployed to Israel before the end of the month despite the ongoing conflict there.

POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia answers questions from the media during the May 19, 2021 virtual press briefing. (Screengrab from Facebook live)

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Bernard Olalia confirmed this to reporters Wednesday, May 19 during a virtual press briefing organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“Home-based po ito (These are homebased caregivers) under the bilateral agreement between the two countries. Matatapos na po yung proseso para sa ultimate departure po nila para sa bansang Israel (The process of their ultimate departure for Israel will soon be finished),” Olalia said.

He noted that Israel is still under Alert Level 1, meaning, there is currently no ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there.

Israeli forces and Hamas fighters renewed hostilities against each other earlier this month, focing OFWs to stay indoors with their employers. The southern cities of Israel as well as the Palestine-controlled Gaza Strip have been lit up by rocket attacks as a result of the fighting.

Olalia said that the Israeli economy was actually close to going back to normal thanks to the country’s high rate of vaccination in connection with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. However, the fighting suddenly erupted.

He said the Israeli side has given assurances that the Filipino caregivers will be sent to “secure residential areas” that are far from the violence.

He further said that the deployment would be monitored by Philippine authorities, and that the OFWs would promptly be repatriated if and when the situation escalates.

There is even a second batch of 500 Filipino caregivers that the POEA is looking to deploy to the same country by either July or August 2021, Olalia bared.

“Yun po yung pinopproseso natin ngayon. Madami na ang natanggap natin na application, mga 600 na ( That’s what we’re processing right now. We’ve already received a lot of applications, around 600).”

He said the surge in applications is partly due to the Israeli government’s relaxation of its education requirement for migrant workers. From the previous 12 years, the minimum education requirement has been reduced to 10 years.

This means that Filipinos who graduated from high school could land jobs in Israel.