DOLE to limit deployment of OFWs to KSA in 2020

Maris Federez   •   December 17, 2019   •   697

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will set a limit on the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia next year.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said, “the purpose of this scaling down is to call the attention of the Saudi Government to what we consider as slow action.”

This is in connection to the unpaid claims of the 13,000 repatriated OFWs from Saudi Arabia that now reached to more than Php 4-Billion.

“Their claim is about P4.6 Billion and we got a report from our Ambassador in KSA that probably we’ll not get any compensation,” Bello said.

Bello further said hundreds of OFWs who were sent home from KSA have not received their salaries since April.

“They filed their claims, they won their claims hanggang iyon hindi nababayaran […] No less than our President sent off a letter to the KSA king pero walang action. Iyon ang pag- aaralan namin and we will probably decide to scale down on deployment,” Bello added.

The government will specifically limit the deployment of new applicants for household and skilled works.

The agency will also limit the issuance of the Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC), especially on returning workers, but this is on a case-to-case basis.

The POEA governing board will still have to sit and discuss the full coverage of the limitation of the deployment of workers in Saudi Arabia and to set a final date for its implementation.— (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Saudi Arabia suspends entry for pilgrimage, tourism amid coronavirus

UNTV News   •   February 27, 2020

Saudi Arabia on Thursday (February 27) suspended foreigners’ entry for the Umrah pilgrimage and tourism from countries where the new coronavirus has spread, as a growing number of cases outside China deepened fears of a pandemic.

The kingdom, which hosts the two holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina, welcomes millions of Muslim visitors throughout the year with a peak for the haj pilgrimage. It introduced a new tourism visa last October for 49 countries.

The ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement that the suspensions were temporary but provided no timeframe for their expiry. It was unclear if the haj pilgrimage, which is scheduled to begin in late July, would be impacted.

Entry is also suspended for visits to the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. Saudi Arabia has had no cases of the coronavirus but it has been spreading in some neighbouring countries.

The ministry did not specify people from which countries would be impacted but said the kingdom’s health authorities would determine where the outbreak constituted a danger. (Reuters)

DOLE urges firms to allow ‘work-from-home’ scheme to curb spread of novel coronavirus

Marje Pelayo   •   February 27, 2020

work from home

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is encouraging companies to allow telecommuting or ‘work-from-home’ services to help curb spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Based on record from DOLE’s Bureau of Local Employment, only less than a hundred companies in the country offer a ‘work-from-home’ program, most of them are in the Information Technology and business process management (IT-BPM) industry due to its capacity and nature of work.

DOLE admits, however, that there are factors companies take into consideration before allowing said work scheme, such as the firm’s facilities for telecommuting, the working environment and the employees themselves.

“May mga considerations kasi like iyong work ethics mo, iyong performance mo, how critical the job is that you are handling in the workplace,” explained DOLE-BLE Director Dominique Tutay.

“Then siyempre, nandyan ang trust, nandiyan din ang security issue of information,” the official added.

Also, one of the major factors to be considered is the employees’ Internet connection given that all work will be done online.

“Handa ba ang alternative workplace? I-check din po iyan ng mga employer kung ito po bang tahanan halimbawa ng ating worker ay papasa into a telecommuting environment,” the director said.

Last month, DOLE issued a Prevention and Control Guidelines for private companies in consideration of the coronavirus threat in their workplaces. MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)

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DOLE warns vs fake job offers in Yukon, Canada

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2020

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has warned the public against bogus job offers abroad following reports received by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office about a fraudulent scheme that lures Filipinos to work in Yukon Territory in Canada.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that based on information they received, the scammer uses the name of a website of a legitimate Yukon Human Resources practitioner to dupe their unsuspecting victims.

The victims are then asked to pay US$440 in exchange for non-existent jobs.

The Labor chief said the scammers took advantage of DOLE’s announcement in September 2019 on the employment opportunities in various industries in Yukon.

It was in August last year when Bello and Minister Ranj Pillai signed a joint Communique to establish cooperation on the recruitment of Filipino workers to Yukon.

After the signing, a proposed memorandum of understanding was forwarded to Yukon, which aims to establish a system for the recruitment process in the deployment of Filipinos through a Nominee program under a government-to-government arrangement.

“This government to government agreement shall validate the existence of guaranteed employment offers. Hence, we are warning the public to be very cautious of this scam that seemingly capitalizes on the still-to-be finalized labor agreement between the Philippines and Yukon,” Bello said.

He, however, clarified that a bilateral labor pact has yet to be signed between the two parties.

“Based on the report by our POLO Vancouver, the Yukon government is still studying the memorandum of understanding, and DOLE will provide an update on this undertaking,” Bello said.

DOLE reiterated its advise to the public to visit the website of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (poea.gov.ph) to validate the authenticity of any job offers they receive.

He also urged jobseekers to report to the POEA via info@poea.gov.ph any suspicious job-related activities they encountered.

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