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PHILIPPINES Philippines lifts Iraq workers ban

Government had prohibited citizens from Yemen and Eritrea amid resurgent violence

By Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent
March 9, 2013

Manila: Philippine labour chief Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said the government is resuming the deployment of workers to Iraq, Yemen and Eritrea amidst the improving security situation in these countries.

Dimapilis-Baldoz announced that the Governing Board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), which she chairs, has lifted the ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to these three countries.

“The POEA Governing Board has issued three separate resolutions allowing the deployment of Filipino workers to Iraq, Yemen, and Eritrea. The Department of Foreign Affairs has included Iraq in the list of compliant countries under Republic Act 10022, effectively lifting the five-year-old ban to the said country,” Baldoz said.

The Philippine government had imposed a ban on sending workers to Iraq in 2009 amidst resurgent violence in the country which had been attributed to Islamic militant groups. The deployment restriction had affected the contracts of Filipinos working in US military bases.

Aside from this, the Philippines was then apprehensive that the new security concerns would impact on the work contracts of Filipinos.

But Dimapilis-Baldoz said that in its official communication dated 4 February 2013, the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad has now certified Iraq as compliant with the guarantees of the law.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, in a February 2013 communication, has lowered its security and safety assessment in Iraq to Alert Level 1 (Precautionary Phase), with mandatory travel restriction to “no-go” zones to be determined by the host country.

According to Baldoz, the POEA Governing Board has also acceded to lift the deployment ban on Iraq and resume the processing and deployment of returning workers.

“However, the processing and deployment of new hires, except household service workers, shall resume upon the conclusion of a Bilateral Labour Agreement with Iraq and the identification of the restricted zones,” she said.

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