DOLE stops deployment of new hires to Bahrain

A March 17, 2011 press release by the Department of Labor and Employment
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz ordered last Wednesday (March 16) the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to stop the processing and deployment of newly hired workers to Bahrain pursuant to the travel advisory of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warning Filipinos to defer non-essential travel to this beleaguered country.
“I have directed POEA Administrator Carlos Cao, Jr. to immediately stop the deployment of new hires to Bahrain following the DFA advisory raising Alert Level 1or heightened awareness,  to Alert Level 2 or restriction of movements, the security situation in Bahrain, which should warn OFWs and other Filipinos to defer non-essential travel to this country and alert those who are already in this country to restrict their movements,” Baldoz said.
She added that the ban will not cover returning workers or Balik-Manggagawa. She stressed, however, that returning OFWs to Bahrain will only be allowed to travel back to this country if they execute an affidavit that they know the security risks but, nevertheless, voluntarily resume their employment in Bahrain.
POEA data showed that a total of 14,277 OFWs were deployed to Bahrain from January to November 2010.
Baldoz also asked the POEA to secure the contingency plans of licensed recruitment agencies (LRAs) for OFWs they have sent to Bahrain to facilitate rescue, evacuation, and repatriation of OFWs in case the turmoil in this country necessitates such action.
At the same time, the labor and employment secretary directed the DOLE Middle East Task Force, those in the region as well as those in the DOLE in Manila, to enhance their monitoring of developments in Bahrain and to be prepared for any eventualities.
“We are constantly in touch with all the labor officials and welfare officers at Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in the Middle East to provide essential support and facilitate assistance to our POLO officers in Bahrain, in case there is a need to activate the contingency measures for the evacuation and repatriation of OFWs from this country in coordination with their counterparts from DFA,” Baldoz said.