PH lifts mandatory repatriation of OFWs in Iran, Lebanon – Bello
MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Iran and Lebanon can opt to stay there after the Philippine government lifted the mandatory repatriation order in both countries, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Thursday.
In a statement, Bello said the government downgraded the alert levels in the Middle East.
“Initially, the level of alert for Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon are the same—[Alert Level] 4. Although it was unofficial, I was informed yesterday that the alert level in Lebanon was put down to level 2 and I understand that there’s no more alert level in Iran,” Bello said following reports of an apparent de-escalation of the tension between the U.S. and Iran.
The labor secretary, however, said the ban on fresh deployment of workers to the two nations stays.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Bello noted, would not be processing any application to Iraq and Lebanon for the meantime.
Bello said that the mandatory evacuation of OFWs in Iraq would remain in place, he said. A deployment ban is also in effect.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) determines the level of alert and issue advisories to Filipinos for their safety and security.
Alert level 4 calls for the mandatory repatriation of Filipino workers in crisis-stricken areas.
The highest alert level was earlier raised in Iraq and Iran following the bombing by Iran of US military bases in Iraq.
This was in retaliation for the death of a top Iranian general who was killed by a U.S. airstrike.
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