Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda-Dimapilis, who is also the chairman of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Governing Board, yesterday announced that the Board had issued three separate resolutions lifting the ban on the deployment of Filipino overseas workers to Nigeria, Libya, and South Sudan.
The first resolution, Resolution No. 4, Series of 2012, fully lifts the ban on the deployment of OFWs to Nigeria following the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs on 02 March for the lifting in view of the improved security situation in that country.
The ban on the deployment of OFWs to Nigeria was imposed on 22 January 2007 in the light of repeated incidents of kidnappings due to unrest obtaining in Nigeria at that time. On 13 March 2007, the ban was partially lifted to allow the re-deployment of OFWs in Nigeria who were on vacation and were returning to the same employers. It was re-imposed on 31 January 2008, and this time, the ban also covered Filipino seafarers onboard ships entering Nigerian ports. A partial lifting of the re-imposed ban was made on 12 August 2009.
The second resolution, Resolution No. 5 Series of 2012, fully lifts the ban on the deployment of OFWs to Libya following the approval by the Office of the President of the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs on 23 February lowering the crisis alert level in Libya from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1.
It can be recalled that the POEA Governing Board suspended the processing and deployment of OFWs bound for Libya on 22 February 2011 because of heightened political unrest in that country.
On 20 December 2011, the Governing Board issued Resolution No. 10 Series of 2011 which allowed for the gradual processing and redeployment of returning workers in the medical and oil sectors only, subject to proof of existing employment as determined by the POEA.
“The gradual processing is no longer in effect as the Governing Board now allows the resumption of the processing and deployment of Filipino workers to Libya,” Baldoz said.
In the third resolution, Resolution No. 6 Series of 2012, the POEA Governing Board lifts the ban on the deployment of OFWs to South Sudan, which was imposed on 30 March 2005 in all of Sudan, except Khartoum and the Kenana Sugar Plantation in the White Nile, on account of the unstable peace and order situation in that country.
On 13 January 2012, the Governing Board issued another resolution, Resolution No. 1 Series of 2012 imposing a total ban to South Sudan and deferred the processing and deployment of OFWs to said country until its political and security conditions have normalized.
“The decision to lift the ban in the deployment of OFWs to South Sudan was made in the wake of the DFA’s recommendation lowering the crisis alert level in South Sudan from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 1,” said Baldoz.
The Governing Board in the three resolutions has directed the POEA to immediately issue the guidelines to implement the resolutions.
As of date, POEA records show there are 2,152 OFWs in Libya; 1,691 in Nigeria; and 1,941 in Sudan.