Officials from the Philippines and Oman have signed an agreement that would effect the resumption of the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the western Asian state.
In a Zoom meeting last Monday, July 19, Philippine labor officials headed by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III held meaningful discussions with Oman Ambassador Munther Mahfood Al Mantheri on the subject of lifitng the Philippine government’s deployment ban on OFWs to Oman.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), a subordinate agency of DOLE, had earlier imposed the deployment suspension after the Oman government included Filipinos and travelers coming from the Philippines in its travel ban. The travel ban apparently included OFWs.
POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said the Omani government has agreed to lift the travel ban on the Philippines during the Zoom meeting between Bello and Al-Mantheri. Special Envoy to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States, Dr. Amable Aguiluz hosted the virtual event.
“[The] Oman government clarified it was not their intention na harangin pagpasok or entry ng mga OFWs at Filipino travelers sa Oman (it was not their intention to block the entry of OFWs and Filipino travelers to Oman),” Olalia said.
Meanwhile, Bello said that once the travel ban is lifted, the Philippines will also lift its temporary suspension on OFW deployment to Oman.
“At the end of the meeting last Monday, we signed an agreement. Ambassador Al-Mantheri promised to talk to his government to lift the ban. Maybe when the ban is lifted, we will also lift the suspension,” said the DOLE chief.
The signing was witnessed by Aguiluz, who also expressed confidence that the Omani government will act swiftly and favorably the way it did in 2004, when Oman’s Foreign Minister, Sayyid Badr Al Busaidi, supported the appeal to lift the ban against OFWs desiring to work in Oman.
Al Busaidi was the undersecretary for foreign affairs at that time.