The Philippines will waste no time in sending overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Israel following the lifitng of the temporary suspension of OFW deployment to that country.
In a statement Thursday, July 15, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III noted that Israel is very much in need of care workers and other service workers since it has been slowly reopening its economy.
A total of 208 caregiver contracts have been forwarded to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for signing and processing of documents, Bello said.
On top of this, 23 work visas have already been filed with the Israeli embassy in Taguig City, while 90 more visa applications have been readied for filing this week, he added.
“Once the visas have been secured, POEA through its government placement branch will proceed with the processing of their overseas employment certificates and other travel documents,” the labor chief said.
The hiring of Filipino workers is in line with the bilateral agreement signed by the Philippines and Israel in 2018.
On Wednesday afternoon, Bello signed the POEA order that officially lifted the deployment stoppage on OFWs to Israel. The lifting had been recommended by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
In early May this year, Israel and the militant Palestinians engaged in a fierce battle marked by deadly bombings that endangered OFWs. This prompted DOLE to suspend deployment to Israel.
Then, on May 21, the two warring parties reached a ceasefire. Low-level incidents between the two sides have been recorded ever since, prompting the government to lift the deployment ban.
With the resumption of deployment to Israel, Bello said the government expects to fully realize the benefits of its agreement with Israel that provides for the employment of 1,000 Filipino care workers.
The deal was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamine Netanyahu three years ago.