The Labour Department stopped the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to nine countries that have not forged bilateral agreements with the Philippines with regards proper salaries of OFWs and ample protection for them, a senior official said.
The non-compliant countries include Afghanistan, Chad, Cuba, Haiti, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Somalia and Zimbabwe, said Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) administrator Hans Cacdac.
“All operating units are directed to temporarily hold the processing of documents of Filipino workers bound for the following ‘non-compliant’ countries until further advice,” said Cacdac in an advisory that was sent to private recruiters.
The ban is temporary, Cacdac explained, adding that representatives of the Philippine government and the nine countries have been meeting to resolve their differences.
The nine countries have opened their labour market to OFWS, but they have failed to comply with a Philippine law that calls for protection of OFWs, Cacdac said, adding the Migrants Workers and Overseas Filipino Act (or Republic Act 10022) which was implemented in 2011, calls on the Philippine government to ensure the safety of OFWs sent abroad.
The countries that host OFWs must pass the certification process of Manila’s department of foreign affairs, said Cacdac, adding they must have concrete evidence to show they can protect OFWs with their own laws and bilateral agreements with the Philippine government.
It will help if these counties are signatories of labour conventions on decent job and rights protection, said Cacdac.
The Commission on Audit recommended the ban, said Cacdac, but did not give more details.
The Philippine government has become “very proactive” in assuring safe working conditions for OFWs, Cacdac explained, adding, “This approach has minimised the problems faced by the Philippine government in handling the welfare of OFWs.”
There are 10 million OFWs based worldwide. They have been sending an average of $25 billion to their relatives in the Philippines every year. The amount has kept the country’s economy afloat.
Source: Gulf News