DOLE may consider deploying OFWs to Israel if truce holds for 2 more weeks
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) may consider lifting the suspension of Filipino workers’ deployment to Israel if the ceasefire between Israel’s military and Gaza militants will hold for another two to three weeks.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Wednesday that he wants to make sure the situation in Israel stabilizes first before redeploying overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the Middle Eastern country.
“Give us two to three weeks,” he said in an online media forum when asked when the OFW deployment could resume.
“Give it another two or three weeks, at ma-maintain talaga ‘yung (if there will be) strict observance of the ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians and the Hamas, then we will already consider giving the OFWs their OECs (Overseas Employment Certificate) which is the final document they will need for deployment,” said Bello.
Bello said he does not want even at least one OFW to get hurt in case there would be a renewed escalation of tension between Israel and Gaza.
“Ayoko na pagdating nila doon, bagama’t may ceasefire, ay biglang magputukan. Mayroon mang kahit isa lang na kababayan na maagrabyado because dineploy ko sila, magiging mabigat na konsensya ko ‘yan,” he said.
(I don’t want them to be caught in a sudden crossfire when they arrive there, even if there is a ceasefire now. Even if there is a Filipino who will be hurt because I deployed them, that will take a hit to my conscience.)
Bello said DOLE would have to rely on the assessment of Israel Labor Attaché Rodolfo Gabasan regarding the situation there. He added that DOLE is also coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs about the alert levels raised for Israel and Gaza.
There are nearly 30,000 documented OFWs in Israel, including 24,000 who still have their work visas. No Filipino was hurt or injured in the latest conflict between Israel and Palestinians, according to the Labor Secretary.
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