POEA stops sending new OFWs to Iraqi Kurdistan

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The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has declared a temporary ban on the processing and deployment of newly hired overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

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Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh on Monday stressed that Yemen remains under alert level 2 or restriction phase in view of the current political and security situation in that country.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary and POEA governing board chairman Rosalinda Baldoz said the temporary suspension of deployment of newly hired OFWs was brought about by the growing civil threats to the security of the Filipino workers there.

The POEA said that as of 2013 75 OFWs were working in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

Baldoz said the ban was declared after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued Crisis Alert Level in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 or the restriction phase.

The POEA governing board had previously issued a total ban on the deployment of OFWs bound to Iraq due to the escalating civil unrest there, but made an exception for Kurdistan.

Baldoz assured the relatives of the OFWs in that country that the DOLE is continuously monitoring the security situation in the affected areas in Iraq and added that they were ready to repatriate OFWs in time of emergency.

The said resolution was signed by Baldoz, POEA Administrator and vice chairman of the governing board Hans Leo Cacdac and members of the board.

“All Filipinos in Yemen are therefore advised to restrict non-essential movements and avoid public places,” the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh said in a statement.

Under alert level 2, only Filipinos with existing labor contracts may return to Yemen.

However, the deployment of newly hired OFWs remains suspended.

The embassy also urged all Filipinos in all cities and regions of Yemen to update their registration with the embassy.

If they have not registered in the past, they are enjoined to accomplish the registration form on its official website.

In addition, Filipinos in Yemen may contact the Office of the Philippine Honorary Consul in Sana’a through its landline or e-mail or can go directly to its embassy in Sana’a.

The embassy assured the public that it will continue to monitor the situation in Yemen and will provide further advisories to the Filipino community as may be necessary.

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