PHL ready to repatriate Filipinos in Saudi Arabia following oil sites attack

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2019   •   181

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is ready to repatriate thousands of Filipinos from Saudi Arabia who were affected by the attacks on oil sites last weekend, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Tuesday.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said this is if the condition in the world’s top oil-exporting country worsens in the coming days.

Bello added that as of now, they are still monitoring developments and assessing the possible implications of the attacks on the safety and security of Filipino workers in the area.

There are about 50,000 Filipino workers in areas affected by the blasts but Bello assured no Filipino was injured in the attacks.

“So far, no reports of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) injured or negatively affected by the attack and no work disruption was reported. Our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Al Khobar, Riyadh, and Dammam are also on top of the situation to check on the conditions of our OFWs,” he said in a statement.

On the early hours of Saturday (Sept. 14), a series of major drone attacks were launched on Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil processing facility.

The attacks on the processor and a major oil field sparked a huge fire, according to the kingdom’s interior ministry.

Houthi Rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack.

DOLE said they are closely coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs on the possible evacuation of Filipinos from the blast sites.

“We are coordinating with the DFA on the development of the situation for constant assessment. But we are ready for any eventual repatriation to ensure the safety and security of OFWs, or help them secure employment in the other areas,” Bello said.

Saudi Arabia is among the top destination countries for OFWs composing 24.3 percent of the total 2.3 million OFWs across the globe, based on the 2018 Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

DOLE warns public vs fake job postings online

Robie de Guzman   •   October 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has warned the public against fake social media pages and accounts offering local and overseas job opportunities.

In a statement, DOLE urged the public to visit its official page at www.dole.gov.ph, the PhiljobNet for local job posting, and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) at www.poea.gov.ph for overseas job orders.

It also encouraged jobseekers to visit these sites to verify licensed and accredited recruitment agencies in the country.

DOLE said it issued the warning after its Information and Publication Service (IPS) received a report from a jobseeker named ‘Mary’ who claimed to have fallen prey to a Facebook page bearing the logo of DOLE, offering various work opportunities as nurses, caregiver, managers and restaurant staff, among others in Canada, Australia, Singapore, London, Calabarzon and Mimaropa.

The page also posted pictures of training and a photo of former Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

‘Mary’ said she sent a P1,000 for a reservation fee and arranged for a meetup with a certain Arthur Villena, who introduced himself as DOLE employee, at the department’s headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.

When the alleged employee did not show up, the victim reported the incident to DOLE.

Upon verification, no Arthur Villena appeared on DOLE’s official roster and the Facebook page was found to be bogus.

DOLE said it has reported the page and coordinated with Facebook to shut down the fake account.

DOLE reminds Filipinos in Hong Kong to stay alert amid fresh protests

Robie de Guzman   •   October 10, 2019

Riot police officers detain a protester in Mong Kok during an anti-government protest in Hong Kong, China, 07 October 2019. Anti-government protesters continue to take to the streets against the government’s use of emergency powers to ban face masks in public in a bid to end the city’s protests. Hong Kong has been gripped by mass demonstrations since June over a now-withdrawn extradition bill, which have since morphed into a wider anti-government movement. EPA-EFE/FAZRY ISMAIL

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reminds Filipinos in Hong Kong anew to stay alert and cautious amid escalating protests and public disruptions in the area.

DOLE reiterated its reminder after it received fresh reports on the series of protest actions resulting to disruptions in public transport and business activities in various parts of the region.

“We are again urging all our OFWs in Hong Kong to exercise caution by staying indoors and keeping away from the locations where protest activities are taking place,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Based on the latest advisory issued by the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong, below are the areas and dates when protests are reportedly to be held:

10 October: Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station
12 October: New Town Plaza Shatin
13 October: Victoria Park and Edinburgh Place
14 October: Edinburgh Place and Chater Garden
16 October: Resumption of Legislative Council
20 October: The Riverpark Tai Wai to Shatin
21 October: Yuen Long MTR Station
26 October: Tamar Park Admiralty
31 October: Prince Edward MTR Station

Bello also reminded Filipino workers in Hong Kong to refrain from wearing black or white colored upper garments while on the streets to avoid being mistaken as protesters.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier issued an advisory on fresh protests in Hong Kong, adding that these demonstrations are expected to continue throughout the month. The DFA also reminded Filipinos in Hong kong anew to not participate in, and to stay away from protest areas.

The labor chief assured it continues to monitor developments in the area.

PH gov’t imposes OFW total deployment ban to South Sudan

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2019

Sudanese people wave national flags and South Sudan flag as they celebrate after signing the constitutional declaration between the ruling military council and protest movement, in Khartoum, Sudan, 04 August 2019. EPA-EFE/MARWAN ALI

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Monday (Oct. 7) has implemented a total ban on the deployment of workers to South Sudan amid escalating violence in the North African region.

In a statement, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said the imposition of the deployment ban is due to the “unstable peace and security situation,” which “threatens the safety of Filipino workers” in the said area.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the development comes after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised the crisis alert level to level four.

Citing information from the DFA, the alert in South Sudan was raised from level two “due to the upsurge in violence that erupted between the forces allied with President Salva Kiir and the Protection Unit from the SPLA in Operation (SPLA-IO) of Vice President Riek Machar.”

Alert level 4 means mandatory repatriation of Filipino workers in the affected area.

DOLE said a resolution has been issued by the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration stating its decision to “impose a total ban on the processing and deployment of all OFWs bound for South Sudan, until further notice.”

The resolution also noted the confirmation from the DFA that South Sudan is non-compliant on the review of Posts Certification pursuant to Section 3 of Republic Act (RA) 10022 due to the current unstable peace and order on the country.

RA 10022 provides that DFA should issue a certification specifying the countries compliance with any of the conditions on the deployment of Filipino workers.

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