Deployment ban to Ebola-hit countries stays

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Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Hans Leo Cacdac on Saturday said the documents of returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for Ebola-hit countries in West Africa will not be processed by the agency.

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Cacdac said the processing of documents of OFWs bound for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will only resume “after proper coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Health (DOH) to ensure documentary requirements for processing provide measures that guarantee OFW protection.”

The advisory stemmed from reports on the widespread and intense transmission of the Ebola virus in several African countries.

“With the continuing development and with the DFA announcement to impose Alert Level 3 in mid-November, the POEA shall maintain no processing of returning workers to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone,” the advisory said.

Under Alert Level 3, deployment of new hires and returning OFWs is banned and the voluntary repatriation of Filipinos is also in effect.

The POEA issued a memorandum in August providing guidelines for seafarers and manning agencies in taking precautions for their workers against the deadly disease.

The POEA governing board also banned the deployment of OFWs to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and other countries that may be contaminated by the disease.

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