PH signs new labor accord with UAE; to resume deployment of household workers on March 31

Marje Pelayo   •   March 4, 2021   •   713

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced the signing of the historic new labor accord between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) giving greater protection to Filipino household service workers.

Part of the agreement is the Philippine government’s resumption of deployment of household service workers to the Emirates starting March 31.

The Philippines stopped sending household service workers to UAE in 2014.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III hailed the agreement as a milestone in the government’s efforts to further protect Filipino overseas workers.

According to Philippine delegation head Undersecretary Claro Arellano, the new deployment will now be covered by a Unified Employment Contract with provisions similar to the standard employment contract being used in Kuwait.

The contract provides stringent measures to protect Filipino household workers pursuant to the directives of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Under the unified contract, both the employer and the Foreign Recruitment Agencies, and the Philippine Recruitment Agencies are bound by joint and solidary liability should anything happen to the Filipino workers.

The four-party contract, which becomes addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding on Labor Cooperation with Annex Protocol on Domestic Workers, incorporates the President’s instructions for specific provisions to ensure the safety and well-being of household workers as follows:

  1. The right of the domestic worker to take at least eight (8) continuous hours of sleep every night;
  2. The right of the domestic worker to take a break that is paid, outside the residence of the employer at least one (1) full day every week;
  3. The right of the domestic worker to keep his/her passport or identification documents and the employer is not allowed to hold them;
  4. The employer shall allow the domestic worker to have and use cellular phones and other communication devices and the employer is prohibited from confiscating them;
  5. Opening of bank account under the name of the domestic worker for payment of salary; and
  6. Allowing the domestic workers to cook her or his own food.

The agreement was signed during the two-day Joint Committee Meeting between countries held in Manila on Wednesday (March 3) with Saif Ahmed Alsuwaidi, undersecretary of Human Resources and Emiratisation representing the UAE.

Another significant achievement in the meeting is the agreement on the conversion of tourist/visit visa to working visa. 

As agreed, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will be notified when a visit visa is converted to employment visa for a Filipino domestic worker.

The Philippines reiterated its position to deploy the workers through the legal channel.

Therefore, the conversion of tourist visa to working visa is not recommended since this may lead to illegal recruitment and trafficking in persons.

Philippines to lift travel ban on 10 countries starting September 6

UNTV News   •   September 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to lift the current travel restrictions on travelers from 10 countries starting September 6, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced in a statement on Saturday.

These countries are namely:  India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Nonetheless, international travelers coming from the said countries shall comply with the appropriate entry, testing and quarantine protocols, depending on the country’s approved “listing,” Roque said.

He added that the IATF has adopted the “Yellow” and “Red” classifications, in addition to the “Green List” countries/jurisdictions/territories.

Roque said this is based on the countries’ respective incidence rates and case counts as primary criteria, and testing data as secondary criteria.  The incidence rate is the cumulative new cases over the past 28 days per 100,000 population while case counts are cumulative new cases over the past 28 days.

The government first imposed the travel restrictions on India in April then later expanded to include more countries to stem the spread of Delta variant, the highly transmissible strain of COVID-19.

 

DOLE lifts suspension of OFW deployment to Israel

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday (July 14) lifted the suspension of deployment of Filipino workers to Israel.

DOLE issued a memorandum, stating that Filipino workers can be deployed to Israel effective immediately after an almost two-month ban.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the decision was based on the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) due to the low-level incidents between the Israel Defense Force and Palestinian militant groups. This was after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire in May.

On May 20, 2021, DOLE suspended the deployment of Filipino workers due to the tension between the Israel Defense Force and Palestine. AAC

DOLE mulls lifting suspension of OFW deployment in Israel

Marje Pelayo   •   July 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is considering lifting the temporary suspension of the deployment of Filipino workers to Israel.

According to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, tensions in Israel seem to have subsided after its exchange of rockets with the Hamas terrorists.

But Bello said they will coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs first to confirm if sending overseas Filipino workers to Israel is now safe.

Bello said he already directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to continue with the processing of the Overseas Employment Certificate of around 1,000 workers waiting for departure.

Most Filipinos working in Israel are caregivers and hotel workers, the DOLE said.

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