Nigeria bombings prompt delay in lifting of OFW ban
The recent spate of bombings in Nigeria has prompted the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to hold in abeyance its recommendation to lift the deployment ban on overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to that African country.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has asked Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to defer for 90 days the lifting of the ban, after al-Qaida-linked extremists set off bombs in several churches in Nigeria on Christmas Day which killed about 40 people.
“We are requesting the Department of Labor and Employment to put on hold our own recommendation to lift the deployment ban in view of the present situation in Nigeria,” said Del Rosario in a statement.
The deferment request came a week after the DFA recommended the lifting of the deployment ban to Nigeria beginning January 1 following improvements in the security situation in the Niger Delta. The request did not take into account the Christmas Day bombings.
“The Philippines is convinced the security situation in Nigeria will soon improve to allow us to again send Filipino workers there,” Del Rosario said.
In recommending the lifting of the ban earlier, Del Rosario had said the DFA had reviewed the overall security situation in Nigeria and concluded that the insurgency in the Niger Delta was being properly addressed.
“No more kidnapping incidents have occurred and Nigeria has become a vibrant democracy with a thriving economy. According to our ambassador in Nigeria, Nestor Padalhin, 5,000 jobs in the oil, gas and construction industries are awaiting our OFWs,” he had said.
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