A labor official dismissed proposals to lift the ban on the deployment of Filipino workers in some parts of the Middle East, saying it may be “unwise” to do so at this time.
Labor Attaché Alejandro Padaen of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Lebanon said in a news release on Sunday that officials should first consult with people on the ground and carefully study the situation in destination countries before policy pronouncements are made.
Abdullah Mama-o, newly appointed secretary of the Department of Migrant Workers, is eyeing the lifting of suspension on the deployment of newly hired skilled and household service workers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region, including Libya and Iraq.
Citing Lebanon, Padaen said the country is yet to recover from the political and economic turmoil, and has yet to conclude an agreement on a standard contract, especially those covering domestic workers.
“Considering the economic aspect, it may not be the right time yet to deploy new hires in Lebanon. Several companies have closed down and we have not been deploying household service workers since 2007,” Padaen said in a recent virtual media briefing.
“The Balik Manggagawa (Returning Workers) program that we process are those who have relatives here and have come through informal channels. It will be better if we assess first and study the situation before we start deploying again,” he added.
In January 2020, the Department of Foreign Affairs raised the Alert Level in Lebanon from 1 (Precautionary Phase) to 2 (Restriction Phase).
Filipino workers with existing contracts and are registered under the Balik Manggagawa program are allowed return to Lebanon.