Romulo: RP picked top labor-deploying country

By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: January 14, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has been chosen the world’s top labor-deploying country by the Global Forum on Migration and Development, Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo said Monday.This after the Philippines last year sent a little more than one million Filipinos to jobs abroad.

At the same time, however, Romulo appealed to overseas Filipino workers to heed the travel ban to Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Lebanon and look for jobs in safer countries.

Speaking at the launch of the partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Ayala Foundation as hosts of the second global forum, Romulo said the government was keeping the ban on these troubled countries.

“The total ban continues. All you have to do is read the papers,” he said.

“There are other places they could go to. I hope they [know] that we are only looking after their welfare,” Romulo said.

The global forum addresses issues on human capital development, remittance flows and utilization, and partnership and policy coherence among the participating countries.

Labor-receiving Belgium hosted the first forum last year which was attended by 155 countries to address current issues on international migration, particularly the positive link between migration and development.

The Philippines will host the second forum in October which will focus on follow-up activities and dialogues that were started in the first forum.

“Our aim is to protect our citizens from harm’s way,” Romulo said.

Foreign Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos said the DFA properly notified OFWs in Nigeria about the ban during his recent visit to the African state.

“Let the facts speak for themselves,” Conejos said, adding that more than 200 people, 70 of them Filipinos, had been held hostage in the River State since the conflict in Nigeria started in January 2006.

The ban on Iraq took effect in 2004, on Afghanistan in December 2006, and on Lebanon in July last year.

Vice President Noli de Castro, presidential adviser on OFWs, has said the ban on the four countries was continuously being reviewed by the government which is monitoring the security situation in the countries concerned.