Deployment of OFWs to Israel not banned, only delayed — DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2021   •   356

MANILA, Philippines —  The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) assured that Filipino healthcare workers (HCW) scheduled for deployment to Israel will be safe and secure despite the ongoing armed conflict in the Middle Eastern region.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III clarified that there is no existing ban on the deployment of workers to Israel.

“We have not banned the deployment of our workers to Israel. The processing of those who already qualified continues. We are merely suspending their actual departure while the tension is still high,” he explained.

“Ang pakiusap ko pa sa ating mga paalis na caregivers at healthcare workers ay ipagpaliban ng ilang araw ang kanilang biyahe upang hindi sila mapahamak. Sagutin ko po sila kay Pangulong Duterte kung ano man ang mangyari sa kanila in case sila ay umalis sa kabila ng mataas na tension doon sa Israel. It will just be about a few days of delay. We just want to be sure they will be safe,” he noted.

Recently, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported that some 400 Filipino caregivers are scheduled to be deployed to Israel under an existing bilateral labor agreement.

“We had a meeting with our counterparts in Israel because we are on the final step for the deployment of our OFWs,” said POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia.

“It is also a good thing because we are yet to receive an advisory regarding the ban. So, we will proceed with the deployment of our 400 home-based caregivers in Israel,” he added.

Since there is no existing ban and Israel remains on Alert Level 1, Administrator Olalia said the deployment of OFWs to Israel’s residential zones that are far from the areas of conflict will take place this month.

Healthcare workers with existing contract abroad allowed to leave — POEA

Marje Pelayo   •   June 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said Tuesday (June 8) that Filipino health workers who have existing contracts abroad are still allowed to leave the country.

During Tuesday’s Laging Handa public briefing, POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia clarified that the country is not barring healthcare workers from leaving as long as they have an active job abroad.

This was after the government announced that the 5,000 cap for Filipino nurses deployed abroad has been reached.

This means, there will be no new deployment of healthcare workers abroad amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the agency will no longer issue new overseas employment certificates (OEC) for Filipino healthcare workers until the end of the year.

“Noon pong June 1, 2021, naabot na po natin ang 5,000 [na cap] dahil binibilang po natin ang na-i-issue na Overseas Employment Certificate,” Olalia said.

“Exempted po rito [sa 5,000 cap] ang mga returning workers dahil mayroon silang existing contracts at may babalikan silang employment,” he clarified.

Olalia added that workers set for deployment to the United Kingdom are allowed to leave as well as those hired under government-to-government procedures in fulfilment of the government’s obligation under bilateral agreement.

Meanwhile, Olalia said there is an existing temporary deployment ban to Myanmar due to the ongoing civil unrest there.

However, only those with existing contract or returning OFWs to Myanmar will be allowed to leave.

“May kaunting kaguluhan sa Myanmar ngayon kaya ang POEA Governing Board po ay nagpatupad at nagpalabas ng isang board resolution kung saan nakalagay po doon na level 2 ang state of alertness doon sa nasabing bansa,” he noted.

“Kaya bawal po ngayon ang mga new hires. Ang pinapayagan lang nating ma-deploy sa Myanmar ay ang mga balik manggagawa natin. Mga direct hires at agency hires na bago po ay hindi papayagan dahil alert level 2 po ngayon ang bansang Myanmar,” Olalia said.

PH gov’t to consult with Israeli experts on COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Robie de Guzman   •   June 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government will seek advise from Israel’s Ministry of Health as part of its bid to further enhance the country’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

In a statement, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said three experts from Israel’s Ministry of Health will arrive in the country on June 20 to share their technical expertise and knowledge about the vaccination rollout.

“In particular, the experts will discuss strategies on the deployment of highly sensitive vaccine types, mechanisms that need to be put in place as the country transitions to the new normal, and ways on how to address vaccine hesitancy,” Galvez said.

Israel has been considered a model country due to its highly successful vaccination program. The country has recently ended its outdoor mask mandate policy after completely inoculating more than half of its population.

Schools in the country have also re-opened, as the Israeli government is now working to fully re-open the nation’s economy.

“We will study and look at the lessons learned by Israel and hopefully apply those in the Philippines,” Galvez said.

The vaccine czar said the Philippine government is currently studying the feasibility of adopting one of Israel’s interventions to increase public uptake, which is “providing privileges to those vaccinated and restrictions for those unvaccinated.”

He explained that this method works by allowing people who have received the jab to increase their mobility and slowly return to normalcy, while those who have not been vaccinated will still need to follow quarantine protocols.

Meanwhile, Galvez expressed support for the measures being used by local government units and private sector to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

“With the help of all sectors, unti-unti nang tumataas ang public uptake. We started with only 32% and now we are reaching 60% to 80% and with more aggressive efforts such as house-to-house campaigns, barangay town hall meetings, and tapping household advocates, tataas pa ‘yan,” said Galvez.

“Yung mga LGUs natin nagkakaroon din sila ng mga technique para magkaroon ng motivation sa kanilang mga residents, in a form of rice, pabuya, raffle, at iba pa,” he added.

LGUs have launched their respective incentive programs to encourage their constituents to get vaccinated.

Galvez said some LGUs are offering a sack of rice for every vaccinated individual, while some are organizing raffle draws for those who get the jab. Prizes include farm animals, groceries, motorcycles, and even a house and lot.

The private sector has also recently launched “Ingat Angat Bakuna Benefits” wherein vaccinated individuals get exclusive discounts and special gifts from the country’s leading restaurants nationwide.

He also said that the national government is now tapping “household advocates” to encourage their family members to get inoculated, noting that this approach is more effective as Filipinos trust and believe family members especially on topics of safety and protection.

 

UN-HRC to probe possible war crimes amid Israel-Gaza conflict

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2021

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UN-HRC) has launched an international investigation into alleged crimes committed during the conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.

The UN-HRC adopted a resolution that will establish an inquiry commission to “investigate alleged human rights violations & abuses in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, & in Israel, up to & since 13 April 2021.”

Twenty-four countries, out of the 47-member forum, voted in favor of the said probe while 14 abstained.

The document stated that the commission of inquiry shall “establish the facts and circumstances that may amount to such violations and abuses and of the crimes perpetrated.”

The commission shall “collect, consolidate, and analyze evidence of such violations and abuses and of the crimes perpetrated, and systematically record and preserve all information, documentation and evidence, including interviews, witness testimony, and forensic material, in accordance with the international law standards, in order to maximize the possibility of its admissibility in legal proceedings,” according to the document.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the said UN-HRC decision, saying it is a “mockery of international law”.

“Today’s shameful decision is yet another example of the UN Human Rights Council’s blatant anti-Israel obsession. This travesty makes a mockery of international law and encourages terrorists worldwide,” he said.

The Palestinian Authority said the resolution would pave way for the international community to know the discrimination of Israel against Palestinians. AAC

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.