Friday, December 30, 2011

Manila to lift workers’ Lebanon deployment ban

The Daily Star, December 30, 2011

BEIRUT: The Philippines says it is ready to lift a deployment ban to Lebanon adopted in 2006 when Manila signs a bilateral agreement with Beirut in January but has warned its citizens against travelling to Syria, the Inquirer Global Nation reported Thursday.

The news website quoted Carlos Cao Jr., chief of the Philippine overseas employment administration, as saying that the
ban on household service workers to Lebanon would be lifted when Beirut guarantees the rights of overseas Filipino workers.

“It is a labor cooperation agreement and the final draft is already finished. The signing will be done in Lebanon,” Cao told the English-language website.

In 2006, Manila imposed a ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Lebanon over concerns of poor working conditions and reports of abuse against workers, who, according to many rights groups, enjoy little legal protection in the country.

Despite the ban on workers, many Filipinos have reportedly still managed to work in Lebanon by traveling to multiple countries before reaching their destination.

The website also said that reports revealed some Filipino domestic workers in Lebanon and Jordan were treated like “slaves” and were denied their basic rights.

Recent studies estimate that around 40,000 Filipinos work in Lebanon.

The report also said that the country was working on a bilateral agreement with Jordan in a bid to lift the deployment ban in that Arab country.

Under Philippines law, workers are only allowed to be deployed to countries where their rights are ensured and protected by law, something that Lebanon does not yet provide.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has warned its citizens against traveling to Syria and the Philippine Embassy in Damascus is arranging the repatriation of 143 domestic workers.

“Before the end of the year, more than 60 Filipinos in Syria were scheduled to be repatriated to the Philippines. The Philippine Embassy in Damascus is also arranging the repatriation of another 143 OFWs [Oversees Filipino Workers] from that country,” Raul Hernandez, a spokesperson at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

He also said that the department had been able to repatriate close to 400 of its citizens so far, adding that the government had begun the repatriation process since April.

Syria has witnessed escalating violence since mid-March, when anti-government protests were being met with a deadly crackdown by security forces. The United Nations has estimated that around 5,000 people have been killed since the uprising began.

No comments:

Post a Comment