POEA bans deployment of workers to parts of Thailand
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration imposed a ban Monday on the deployment of newly hired Filipino workers to three places in Thailand in light of the declaration of a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas.
Thai capital Bangkok has been reeling from protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
“The POEA Board, in a meeting after consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, has approved a resolution to this effect,” Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, chair of the POEA governing board, said at a news release.
The members of the board who signed the resolution were Hans Leo J. Cacdac, POEA administrator and governing board vice-chair; Felix M. Oca; Estrelita S. Hizon; Alexander E. Asuncion; Milagros Isabel A. Cristobal, members.
Baldoz said R.A. 10022, which amended RA 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, authorizes the POEA board, after consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, to impose a ban on the deployment of Filipino migrant workers in pursuit of national interest or when public welfare so requires.
On January 23, 2014, the DFA raised Crisis Alert Level 2 (restriction phase) in Bangkok, Nonthaburi Province; Lad Lum Kaew District (Pathumthani Province); and Bang Phli District (Samutprakan Province), in light of the declaration of a 60-day state of emergency due to the escalating civil unrest and insecurity in the said areas.
“In view of this, the Governing Board decided to impose a temporary suspension on the processing and deployment of newly hired OFWs bound for these areas in the Kingdom of Thailand,” Baldoz said.
Under Crisis Alert Level 2, only the deployment of returning OFWs with existing employment contracts is allowed in the restricted areas while the deployment of newly hired OFWs is temporarily suspended.
“We strongly advise our OFWs in Thailand to be vigilant and avoid going out as much as possible, especially if they have nothing important to do outside. They should also stay alert and monitor the events in those areas,” Baldoz said.
She told the overseas workers that if they feel their security and safety is compromised, they should try to reach the Philippine Embassy in Thailand.
POEA records show the annual deployment of Filipino workers to Thailand has declined from 9,204 in 2012 to 6,021 in 2013.
Of the 6,021 OFWs deployed to Thailand last year, only 252 were new hires, while 5,769 were re-hires.
Baldoz said that the Philippine Embassy in Thailand was closely monitoring developments in the Thai capital.
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