Israel allows re-entry of foreign caregivers

Marje Pelayo   •   October 19, 2020   •   668

MANILA, Philippines — The State of Israel’s Ministry of Interior (MOI) has allowed the entry and re-entry of foreign workers in the caregiving sector, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said in an advisory.

These include Filipino caregivers who were not able to return to Israel due to the travel restrictions amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“The re-entry policy covers licensed foreign caregivers who left Israel to visit their home country prior to the country’s March 18, 2020 travel restriction as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19,” the POEA said.

Israel’s Ministry of Interior also expanded the entry outline of foreign workers in the caregiving section including issuance of work permits for foreign caregivers entering Israel for the first time. 

“The entry of both vacationing and new caregivers will be subjected to an official application from the employer/patient’s family with the Population and Immigration Bureau, as well as required to follow all the conditions on their quarantine,” the agency explained. 

As such, upon arrival in Israel, the caregiver must undergo quarantine for 14 days in a facility which is not at the employer/patient’s home. 

The expenses and financial needs of the caregiver during the entire quarantine period will be shouldered by the employer, while the worker will not be paid of his/her salary during the quarantine.

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

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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