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Monday, July 27, 2009

Deployment ban in Afghanistan violated


Migrants group calls for investigation on Afghan crash


Migrante International, a global alliance of Filipino migrant organizations, demanded an investigation on the recent chopper crash that killed 10 OFWs in Afghanistan.

"As far as we know the government has never lifted the ban in the deployment of OFWs in Afghanistan. How come a certain Flour Company was able to hire ten Filipinos and sent them in harms way despite the said ban?" asked Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International.

The group specifically wants to know how much does the Department of Foreign Affairs knew of the existence of OFWs working in Afghanistan, or if the company that hired the OFWs had even asked permission from the Philippine government.

"It was the DFA who advised the DOLE to implement the ban in 2007. The Secretary of Labor Arturo Brion issued a memorandum to make a ban of the deployment in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Lebanon official," Martinez added.

Migrante quoted the memorandum for the total ban on 4 countries including Afghanistan that was issued by DOLE last December 17, 2007, which was signed by the then Secretary Arturo Brion. The group asserted that the said memorandum even instructed POEA to take criminal and administrative actions against recruitment agencies that will violate the said ban.

"We call on the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment & Human Resource Development headed by Senator Jinggoy Estrada to spearhead the investigation. We are afraid that with the intensified US war of aggression in Afghanistan more OFWs may be put in harms way," appealed Martinez.

Martinez likewise criticized the DFA for allegedly being inattentive in implementing the deployment ban and even accused the agency of putting blind eyes on companies that were violating the ban.

"Last year, we have already informed the DFA of the incidence where 100 OFW truck drivers were being hired by Al Jassim Trucking Company to deliver goods from Kuwait to Iraq. Despite the clear violation of the ban however, the DFA has not taken any action on the case. It seems that we have underestimated how desperate the Arroyo administration is in marketing OFWs even in war torn places. Unless irresponsible officials are held liable, more OFWs lives will put in danger even in countries where deployment ban are supposed to be enforced," Martinez concluded.


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