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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Clarify if travel ban in Bahrain is in effect, migrant group urges PH govt.



A Filipino migrant group in the Middle East today asks the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to clarify if there is a travel ban imposed to vacationing and hired OFWs going to Bahrain.


Earlier, a DFA official announced that the alert level in Bahrain has been raised to level 2 (restriction of movement) from alert level 1 (heightened alertness).


“We want to know if raising to alert level 2 status would mean imposition of travel ban for returning OFWs who’ll be back for work in Bahrain,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.


Monterona recalled that last week the travel ban imposed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) sometime on February 21 has been lifted citing the assessment on the peace and order issued by PH embassy in Bahrain.


Few weeks since the travel ban to Bahrain had been imposed, many returning OFWs have demanded to President Aquino to lift the travel ban so that they could return to work. Some of the returning OFWs claimed they were given an ultimatum by their employers to return for work, otherwise they’ll be fired.


“To properly guide our fellow OFWs especially those who are schedule to return to Bahrain for work, the DoLE-POEA must clarify the alert status level 2 raised by the DFA –if returning OFWs will be allowed to leave,” Monterona added.


Meanwhile, Monterona urges the DFA and the DoLE-POEA not to rely on the evacuation plans of OFWs employers and recruiters.


“Like what happened in Libya, there were employers and recruiters who had abandoned their hired OFWs during critical times; OFWs were left at their camp sites struggling how to get out of harm,” Monterona averred.


“During such critical situation, the PH government must take full responsibility securing the safety and well-being of its Filipino workers and such state responsibility could not be passed on to employers and recruiters,” Monterona ended.

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