Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Chairman of the Governing Board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Monday announced the lifting of the ban in the redeployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Yemen, two months after the ban was re-imposed on Dec. 10 2013, but maintained the deployment ban on newly-hired OFWs “until further advice.”
“The POEA Governing Board, in a meeting duly convened, has approved yesterday Governing Board Resolution No. 2 Series of 2014 allowing the redeployment of Filipino workers returning to Yemen, subject to proof of existing employment as determined by the POEA,” Baldoz said.
“However, the board is maintaining its ban on newly-hired OFWs until further advice,” she added.
The lifting of the ban came after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recommended on Feb. 1 the lowering of the crisis alert level from Crisis Alert Level 3 to Crisis Alert Level 2, citing a general improvement of the political situation and environment in that country after the Southern Yemen Solutions Document was signed and a truce between the warring Houthis and Salafis tribes was declared.
Crisis Alert Level 3 entails the voluntary repatriation of Filipinos in a country, while Crisis Alert Level 2 entails a restriction in travel to and inside Yemen.
The bomb attack at the Yemeni defense ministry complex on Dec. 5, 2013 where seven Filipinos were killed and 11 other OFWs injured prompted the POEA to impose a ban on both returning and newly-hired OFWs to Yemen.
The POEA said deployment of OFWs to Yemen in 2013 reached only 646, with 571 of them re-hires and 75 new hires.
Baldoz said that with the lifting of the ban on returning OFWs to Yemen, she has instructed the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh, which exercises jurisdiction over OFW affairs in Yemen, to closely coordinate with Philippine Embassy officials in Riyadh and in Yemen in continually monitoring the situation with the end in view of securing the welfare and protection of OFWs in that country. PNA