DFA extends ban on some Polish deployments

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Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

THE Philippine Embassy in Warsaw renewed its recommendation to suspend the deployment of workers to the polish road transport sector following the reported poor working conditions of Filipino truck drivers.

“In view of the issues concerning the working conditions of Filipinos who worked as trailer truck drivers in Europe, Chargè d’Affaires (Maria Alnee A.) Gamble said the Embassy is maintaining its recommendation for the suspension of deployment of Filipinos for work in the road transport sector,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement on Thursday.

In November, the DFA reported the rescue of at least 40 Filipino truck drivers in Germany and Poland who “have been subjected to poor working and living conditions.” The Philippine Embassy in Oslo also attended to more than 20 truck drivers living in substandard conditions in Denmark.

The Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources conducted an inquiry on Nov. 26 into the 22 Filipino truck drivers who were supposed to work in Poland but were assigned to Denmark with low pay and substandard accommodation, with no overtime pay and medical benefits.

The DFA also reminded Filipinos seeking job opportunities in Poland to only transact with licensed recruitment agencies with approved job orders from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA).

The DFA issued the advisory after the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI) reported the availability “thousands of careers” in Poland.

Ms. Gamble warned about recruitment agencies that charge excessive fees to applicants. She said Filipinos should ensure that they have a valid working permit, a working visa and a written employment contract before leaving the Philippines. According to the Philippine Embassy, Poland usually provides foreigners coming from outside the European Union with temporary residence for up to three years depending on the length of their employment contract and work permit.

Poland last year expressed interest in hiring workers from the Philippines to address the labor shortages. — Camille A. Aguinaldo