Total deployment ban in conflict-hit countries remains — POEA

Published December 2, 2021, 6:10 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has imposed a total ban on the deployment of Filipino migrant workers to Ethiopia due to the current conflict there.

(Jansen Romero/MANILA BULLETIN File Photo)

POEA Administrator Bernard P. Olalia said the suspension came after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) placed Ethiopia under crisis alert level 4 or mandatory evacuation last month amid “continued and intensifying conflict” there.

“Mayroon tayong deployment suspension or ban sa mga Alert Level 4 countries ng DFA katulad ng bansang Ethiopia kung saan may conflict at may pag-aaway kaya wala pong deployment (We have a deployment suspension or ban in Alert Level 4 countries identified by the DFA such as Ethiopia where there is an ongoing conflict and clashes so there is no deployment),” Olalia noted.

Aside from Ethiopia, Olalia said that a total ban in the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) is currently being implemented in Afghanistan and Myanmar which are also under Alert Level 4.

According to the DFA, Alert Level 4 is raised whenever there is a large-scale internal conflict or full-blown external attack in a foreign country where overseas Filipinos are staying.

Under this alert level, the Philippine Government undertakes mandatory evacuation procedures.

Filipinos in countries where Alert Level 4 is in effect are advised to restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places, and immediately prepare for evacuation.

Health workers’ deployment

Meanwhile, Olalia said that the temporary suspension on the deployment of Filipino healthcare workers abroad is still in effect after the 6,500 cap set for the year has been reached.

However, the POEA chief is optimistic that the government’s pandemic task force will further expand the cap to begin the deployment of additional health workers, particularly nurses, to foreign countries.

“Ang nais natin iyong mga nasa pipeline na ng POEA ay i-allow kasi hindi naman makakaapekto ito sa ating supply ng nurses at hindi rin makakaapekto ito sa kapasidad ng ating healthcare system dito sa ating bansa para tugunan ang pandemya (What we want to allow those in the POEA pipeline as it will not affect our supply of nurses and the capacity of our healthcare system to address the pandemic),” he added.

The government earlier decided to limit the deployment of healthcare workers to ensure that the country has an adequate number of medical workers amid the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.