DOLE announces total deployment ban to Libya

Maris Federez   •   April 10, 2019   •   2484

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced the implementation of a total deployment ban on Filipino workers to Libya.

In an interview, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said that the department has declared the total ban of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to Libya after receiving a copy of the formal advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday (April 10) afternoon that they elevated the alert level in Tripoli and other parts of Libya.

This, after violence has escalated in Tripoli, Libya’s capital.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Libya has earlier appealed “to the Filipino community in Tripoli and in areas near where armed clashes have been reported to relocate to safer locations before the fighting intensifies further,” in its Twitter post.

Bello further said that the deployment ban which is seen to affect more than 2,600 people will take effect immediately.

This includes even those who are just in the Philippines for a vacation and are just going back to work. – Maris Federez

Kingdom of Bahrain lifts suspension on domestic workers — DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday (September 14) confirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain has lifted its temporary suspension on household service workers.

This means that the Kingdom has resumed the recruitment of domestic workers.

In an advisory, the agency said the announcement was made a month after the renewal of the issuance of work permits of expatriate skilled workers last August 9.

According to its report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Bahrain added that Filipino workers are preferred by most employers in the kingdom in reopening their doors to migrant workers.

It said that the Kingdom’s Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) has warned would-be employers of migrant domestic workers to refrain from engaging the services of unlicensed domestic manpower agencies in hiring domestic workers. 

Such is to ensure that mitigation measures against the spread of COVID-19 are strictly followed and workers’ rights are upheld and protected, the agency said.

Based on data from POLO–Bahrain, the number of Filipino domestic workers in the Kingdom declined by 9% from January 2019 to June 2020. 

From 18,663 domestic workers in 2019, only 16,576 remained as of June 2020, the agency said.

The ban was announced in March due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

DOLE, DTI mandate regular COVID-19 tests for workers

Marje Pelayo   •   August 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that workers in several sectors will be required to undergo regular real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

The said measure, which took effect Saturday (August 15), is contained in the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 20-04 series of 2020, or DTI and DOLE Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19.

It aims at preventing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in workplaces, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

It covers all workers in the hospitality and tourism sectors, manufacturing companies, including frontline and economic priority employees.

The Secretary emphasized, however, that the tests must be administered free of charge.

“The COVID-19 testing must be at no cost to the employees,” he said.

“This is so far the most comprehensive set of guidelines for the safety and protection of workers and employees in workplaces. The strict observance of these health protocols will make a big  difference in our long-drawn battle to defeat Covid 19 and ensure the productivity of the Filipino workforce,” he added.

Specifically identified to undergo the RT–PCR test include workers in:

  • tourist zones
  • local manufacturing companies
  • transport and logistics
  • food retail
  • education
  • financial services
  • non-food retail services
  • public market
  • construction
  • water supply
  • sewerage and waste management
  • public sector
  • mass media

The joint memorandum covers all establishments, projects, sites, including establishments located inside special economic zones and other investment promotion agencies, and all other places where work is being undertaken in all branches of economic activity, except in the public sector.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said it still need to clarify the details of the memorandum with DOLE. 

According to ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., about 90% of businesses in the country are micro enterprises and about 50% of them have already closed.

ECOP said these enterprises might decide to permanently close due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Even nga iyong small matters like face mask and face shield, issue pa rin sa ibang kumpanya. Napakaliit na bagay noon. Iyong testing pa ba [Even the small matters like face masks and face shield remain an issue with other companies. Those are actually small items. How much more with the (RT-PCR) testing],” Luis concluded. MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

DOLE seeks P2.5 billion more cash aid for OFWs displaced by pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is seeking to get additional budget for its cash assistance program for the growing number of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

DOLE said that as of July 4, its overseas offices and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) have recorded a total of 551,606 aid applications from land-based and sea-based workers who are either still in host countries or have already returned to the Philippines.

“The fund released to us is fast depleting. So far, our offices approved the requests of 224,756 OFWs, 128,348 of whom are still locked down or stranded in their countries of work,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement.

The agency had been given P2.5 billion in two tranches to finance its Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program, a one-time cash aid of $200 or P10,000 to help Filipino workers displaced by the pandemic. The budget for the program came from the emergency fund under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Of the 250,000 expected beneficiaries of the program, around 188,473 have already received the cash aid from DOLE as of July 4 amounting to some P1.927 billion, DOLE said.

Of those who have received the aid, 105,756 are on-site while the remaining beneficiaries have returned to the country, it added.

With additional funding, AKAP will be able to extend emergency assistance to close to half a million OFWs, Bello said.

Bello hopes that President Rodrigo Duterte will grant their request to extend help to more OFWs in need.

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