DoLE cites Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Nigeria

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 03:49pm (Mla time) 01/03/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The government has imposed a complete ban in the
deployment of Filipino workers to Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Nigeria,
Labor Secretary Arturo Brion announced.
Filipino workers are prohibited from working in these countries because of
the political and peace and order conditions in these countries, Brion told
reporters in Malacañang Thursday.

The ban on Iraq has been in effect since 2004, while in Lebanon, since June
2007. In December 2007, the government also ordered a complete ban on
Nigeria and Afghanistan, Brion said.

“This means we are no longer processing the application of workers for these
countries,” he said but added that Filipinos who have been working in those
countries would not be forcibly evacuated.

The government will also tighten the noose on illegal recruiters who
facilitate the workers’ departure from the Philippines to the four
countries, Brion said.

He acknowledged however that despite the ban, illegal deployment in these
countries continued.

Brion said Pakistan was not included because it was not a destination
country for Filipino workers, noting that there are only close to 300
Filipinos there.

In Lebanon, there are close to 20,000 documented workers and several
thousands more who are undocumented, he said. He added they have no record
as to how many Filipinos were in Iraq because the country has no embassy

In Afghanistan there are about 1,000 workers while in Nigeria, there are
about 4,500 Filipino workers, according to the May 2007 data of the
Department of Foreign Affairs.

A Filipino electrician, Vito Cruz, was burned to death in an explosion after
the oil tanker in which he and 18 other Filipinos were working was attacked
on December 19 in the Okirika District in Nigeria’s Rivers state.

The 18 Filipino seamen who survived the attack will return home Friday, Vice
President Noli de Castro has said.