DOLE deployment ban to Saudi Arabia leaves hundreds of OFWs stranded at NAIA

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2021   •   531

MANILA, Philippines — Hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) were not allowed to leave on Friday (May 28) after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued a temporary deployment ban to the Kingdom.

Based on the memorandum issued by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), there were reports that several OFWs were being obliged by their recruiters or employers to shoulder all COVID-related expenses including the insurance premium imposed upon entry to Saudi Arabia.

To date, the department has yet to receive any definite guidelines from the KSA if OFWs are exempted from their policy regarding the ban on unvaccinated foreign travelers or those who have been vaccinated with a brand that is not allowed by the Saudi government.

Based on reports from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh, OFWs are being charged up to P1,000 dollars before departure from Manila.

“Wala naman kaming na-receive sa POLO na nagreklamo na worker but as I have heard from Manila, sa Manila ko narinig na may mga nagrereklamo dyan,” said Labor Attache Fidel Macauyag.

“That prompted our secretary and on top of that walang clear guidelines ang ating mga advisories dito sa Saudi kung sino ba talaga ang magbabayad,” he added.

As a result of the temporary ban, about 500 OFWs were left stranded as they weren’t allowed to fly despite their existing contracts.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) was also surprised by the announcement but proceeded even with an empty flight because there are Filipinos waiting for their flight to the Philippines in Riyadh.

Those who were affected have the option to rebook their tickets to another date once the ban is lifted.

POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia, for his part, promised to address the problem while waiting for clear guidelines from the Saudi government.

“Konting pasensya at konting sakripisyo kasi po ang ginagawa natin ay para sa kapakanan ng nakararami,” Olalia noted.

“Lahat po tayo ay makikinabang dito lalong lalo na ang mga OFWs na pinagbabayad ng institutional quarantine, pinagbabayad ng insurance coverage, pinagbabayad ng COVID-19 test at hindi po kinikilala ang mga vaccine na vaccinated na yung mga OFWs natin,” he added.

Olalia assured that the Overseas Worker Welfare Administration (OWWA) will shoulder the accommodation expenses of the stranded OFWs as well as their fare returning to their respective hometowns as a result of the ban. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DOLE, may alok na insentibo para sa mga bakunadong essential workers vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Mamamahagi ng bisikleta at cellphone na may load ang Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) bilang insentibo sa mga essential worker na makakakumpleto ng kanilang bakuna kontra COVID-19.

Ayon kay DOLE Bureau of Workers Special Concern (BWSC) director Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trarvilla, bahagi ito ng mga hakbang ng kagawaran para maenganyo ang mga manggagawang kasama sa A4 group na magpabakuna laban sa coronavirus disease.

“It’s actually pursuant to the instruction of the (DOLE) Secretary (Silvestre Bello III) that we come up [with] this incentive for our A4, economic frontliners to entice them to submit themselves to vaccination at nadeploy na nga tayo ng vaccination program for A4 noong June 7. Gusto natin maraming maengganyo na mabakunahan,” ani Perida-Trayvilla.

Aniya, uumpisahan ng DOLE sa Hulyo 1 ang pamamahagi ng 2,000 bisikleta at cellphone na may load sa A4 workers na fully vaccinated na kontra COVID-19.

Target ng programa ang mga nasa informal sector na namamasukan sa mga pribadong kumpanya, pati na ang household helpers at self-employed.

Ngunit paglilinaw ng kagawaran, sa halip na sa manggagawang nagpabakuna, ibibigay ang insentibo sa sinomang miyembro ng kanyang pamilya o kamag-anak.

“Kase nga po yung mga A4 workers natin may trabaho naman diba yung bibigyan po natin nitong bike yung kanilang next of kin or yung kanyang relative… Gusto kase nating gamitin nila ang bisikleta pawang pang livelihood,” ani Perida-Trayvilla.

Tig-isang libong bisikleta na may kasamang insulation bags, protective helmet, reflective vest, cellphone na may load wallet ang ilalaan sa mga benepisyaryo sa National Capital Region at sa mga probinsya.

“Hindi lang po iyan, yung makakatanggap ng bisikleta ii-enroll rin po natin siya sa group personal accident insurance or GPAI kase nga magla-livelihood siya mai-expose din siya sa risk kailangan mai-insure natin sila,” ani Perida-Trayvilla.

Para sa mga interesadong makakuha ng nasabing incentives, makipag-ugnayan lamang sa BWSC sa numerong 84043336 o di kaya ay mag-email sa mail@bwsc.dole.gov.ph.

Magpresenta lamang ng alin mang government o company id at vaccination card na patunay na fully vaccinated ang isang manggagawa.

Sa susunod na linggo, inaasahang matatapos na ng BWSC ang mechanics para sa nasabing livelihood program. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Janice Ingente)

DOTr, DOLE to provide jobs to repatriated OFWs affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr), along with other government agencies, has signed a memorandum that would provide job opportunities for repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

During the 2021 Migrant Workers’ Day celebration on Monday (June 7), DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide OFWs displaced by the pandemic with employment opportunities in the DOTr.

“Our repatriated OFWs who are out of work will be able to work under the DOTr at narito sila sa sarili nilang bansa. They no longer need to go out of the country because work is here at home. Second, we will not be looking elsewhere in getting the needed workforce to finish various infrastructure projects,” he said.

Under the said agreement, the DOTr will provide OWWA with a list of vacant positions and skills required where an OFW can apply for work. These include projects under the Build Build Build Program.

Tugade reported that 2,000 jobs will be made available under the PNR Clark Phase 1 Project.

He also said that the department will not only prioritize hiring OFWs, but also displaced public utility drivers and conductors once the project becomes operational. AAC

Deployment of OFWs to Israel remains suspended for three more weeks — DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   May 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has extended to three more weeks the suspension on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Israel.

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the agency needs to make sure that all OFWs bound for Israel would be safe and the truce between Israel and Hamas is sincerely being carried out by both parties.

“Give it another two or three weeks at ma-maintain talaga ang strict observance of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Palestinian and the Hamas then we will already consider giving the OFWs the OEC which is the final document for their deployment,” Bello assured.

Once the suspension is lifted, about 400 caregivers may be accepted right away as stipulated under the Philippines and Israel’s bilateral agreement.

This is in addition to around 30,000 OFWs in Israel who are mostly caregivers.

To date, no Filipinos are hurt or killed in the ongoing unrest. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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