IATF to review POEA’s order to ban deployment of Filipino healthcare workers abroad

Marje Pelayo   •   April 13, 2020   •   2030

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) will look into the decision of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to suspend deployment of Filipino medical professionals and healthcare workers abroad.

There is a request na ipa-review sa IATF kaya bukas po sa IATF meeting pag-uusapan namin ito at kung ano man ang lalabas doon sa aming napag-usapan ay ibabalita naming sa publiko,” according to IATF-EID Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

(There is a request for the IATF to review [the order], so tomorrow during the IATF meeting we will discuss this and whatever the result of the discussion, we will let the public know.)

The moratorium which was signed on April 2 by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III ordered a temporary deployment ban on Filipino health care workers abroad “until the national state of emergency is lifted and until the COVID-19-related travel restrictions are lifted at the destination countries.”

The decision was “to support the national objective of controlling the spread of COVID-19 through the regulation in the deployment of Filipino healthcare workers through mission critical skills (MCS) framework and to prioritize human resource allocation for the national healthcare system at the time of the national state of emergency.”

Several Filipino healthcare workers were offloaded from their flights last week.

READ: DFA not pleased with POEA’s deployment ban on Filipino healthcare workers

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) claimed such an order violates the Constitution and promised to look into the matter to help the stranded Filipino healthcare workers so they may be able to go back to work where they have existing contracts. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

DOLE denies deployment ban on health care workers

Maris Federez   •   November 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)  has denied reports of a deployment ban on health care workers, particularly nurses.

In a statement, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III clarified that since the deployment cap of 6,500 has already been reached, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced the temporary suspension of deployment.

However, there are exemptions to the said ban.

“We have already reached the current ceiling of 6,500 on the deployment of health care workers. However, OFWs under the Balik Manggagawa, government-to-government arrangements, and those who will be deployed in the United Kingdom are exempted from the suspension,” Bello said.

The labor chief also said that the lifting of the suspension is subject to the evaluation by concerned government agencies of the current situation on the deployment of healthcare workers.

“The Labor Department will confer the matter with the Professional Regulation Commission, the Philippines Nurses Association and the Department of Health should there be a need for the increase of say, another 1,500 in the existing cap,” Bello said. —/mbmf

DOLE lifts suspension of OFW deployment to Israel

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday (July 14) lifted the suspension of deployment of Filipino workers to Israel.

DOLE issued a memorandum, stating that Filipino workers can be deployed to Israel effective immediately after an almost two-month ban.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the decision was based on the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) due to the low-level incidents between the Israel Defense Force and Palestinian militant groups. This was after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire in May.

On May 20, 2021, DOLE suspended the deployment of Filipino workers due to the tension between the Israel Defense Force and Palestine. AAC

POEA assures repatriation, assistance to 17 Pinoy seafarers stranded in China

Marje Pelayo   •   June 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Friday (June 25) assured the public that the 17 Filipino seafarers who got stranded in China will be repatriated at the soonest possible time.

This was announced by POEA administrator Bernard Olalia during the Laging Handa press briefing, referring to the 17 Filipino crew members of Greek-flagged bulk carrier MV Angelic Power who have been at sea for 17 months and counting.

The vessel has been grounded following a conflict between the vessel’s owner Angeliki Dynamic Investment Corp. and the cargo receiver Guangzhou South China Coal Trade Center Co.

“Ang kanilang manning agency, ang Magsaysay Manning Agency, ay nakipag-ugnayan na sa ating ahensya. Binigyan po natin sila ng instruction na agarang tumulong doon sa 17 seafarers na natengga na sila doon,” Olalia said.

“Napakatagal na nila doon. Na-deploy po sila last year bago ang pandemic. May mga restrictions lamang po sa bansang China kaya nakipag-ugnayan din tayo sa Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) upang ayusin ang kanilang documentation at i-schedule po ang kanilang flight para makabalik sa Pilipinas,” he noted.

The official added that the seafarers’ manning agency has assured the POEA that the 17 stranded Filipino seafarers will be provided compensation pending their repatriation.

“Inatasan na rin natin ang manning agency involved na ibigay ang mga sustento, ang mga food and sustenance nila upang hindi sila magutom sa kanilang barko,” Olalia assured.

“Ibibigay ang kanilang monthly salary kahit tapos na ang kanilang employment period. Ang kanilang pamilya ay tatanggap po ng allotment. Ipapadala po ng manning agency ang sweldo ng ating mga seafarers sa kani-kanilang pamilya hangga’t hindi pa po sila nakakabalik dito,” he added.

The official noted that from 15,000 seafarers deployed in January this year, the number increased to 30,000 in May which is closer to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level of at least 40,000 a year.

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