Monday, November 19, 2007

Deployment of OFWs in Iraq, still banned

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas said that the ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Iraq is still in effect.

This is to avoid the incident of illegal recruitment of all OFWs who are being recruited to work in Iraq. The DOLE has Department Order No. 61-A-04 issued on November 8, 2004, which prohibits clearly any canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, promising or advertising for employment to Iraq.

The attempt off the 88 OFWs to enter Iraq, DOLE will recommend to the Bureau of Immigrations (BI) the stamping of all Philippine passports with "not valid for travel to Iraq" on all departing passengers. Further more, to formalize the said recommendation, Sec. Sto. Tomas said that she would have an immediate coordination to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The DFA started stamping of “not valid for travel to Iraq” last year. This is their way to discourage OFWs to travel and work in Iraq. Buy still they were able to sneak, this is because according to some reports received by DOLE, that most of the OFWs or even would-be workers who succeeded in sneaking into Iraq holds passport issued before 2004. And this was proven when the 88 OFWs recently intercepted by Emirates immigration authorities were found to have been holding passports issued between 2002 and 2004 or prior to the implementation of the DFA measure.

Meanwhile, DOLE set to investigate the illegal recruitment and the accomplice of a Jordanian who is responsible in attempting to bring 88 would-be overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Iraq.

The Labor Attache to Dubai Vicente Cabe reported that 60 of the 88 OFWs have already been repatriated in two batches. The first batch of 40 OFWs arrived in Manila last Tuesday, December 13, onboard Gulf Air (26), Royal Brunei Airlines (5) and Thai Airways (9). Another 20 arrived Wednesday, December 14, 2005.

This article was first published in on December 17, 2005.

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