IRAQ: Philippines Reiterates Ban on Filipino Workers in Iraq

The Philippines said the ban on the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to Iraq remains in effect as it reminded foreign companies against allowing OFWs from sneaking in the war-torn country due to its dangerous peace and order situation.
Publisher Name: 
The Manila Bulletin

Malacañang yesterday said that the ban on the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to Iraq remains in effect as it reminded foreign companies against allowing OFWs from sneaking in the war-torn country due to its dangerous peace and order situation.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said reports that two OFWs were wounded in an attack in Iraq should serve as a reminder that the ban has not been lifted by the government despite the recent elections in Iraq.

"This is a reminder of the government's policy against the deployment of OFWs in Iraq," he said in a telephone interview, noting the dangerous peace and order situation in Iraq, particularly the unabated kidnappings and killings of some foreign workers there.

The government was poised to lift the deployment ban of OFWs in Iraq after the recent elections in Iraq but the election of new government officials failed to stop all bomb attacks, kidnappings, and ambuscades in Iraq.

To enforce the deployment ban, the government has likewise cautioned foreign companies against allowing OFWs they have hired to cross the borders to Iraq under the pain of penalties, fines, and blacklisting.

As this developed, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that the two wounded Filipinos - Sherylyn Fontanilla and Francisco Luz - are already safe after being treated for minor injuries.

The DFA said Luz and Fontanilla are working for the American Defense Logistical Support and Services Corps.

DFA Spokesman Gilberto Asuque said that they were on their way to work at a duty-free shop in an airport in Baghdad, Iraq when armed militants fired upon the minibus they were riding.

Asuque said the two OFWs sustained minor injuries in their arms and legs but are already safe after being treated at the St. Raphael Hospital in Karradah district, Baghdad.

"They are now back at Camp Victory in Baghdad after being treated for minor injuries on the arms and legs," Asuque said.

There are some 6,500 OFWs in Iraq employed mostly in United States military bases throughout that country.

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