THE Secretary of Labor said that he is looking into the possible lifting of a deployment ban of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to the Federated States of Micronesia, imposed earlier this month by the Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA) earlier this month.
“I asked (POEA Administrator Bernard P.) Olalia and if there is any basis to lift the ban,” said Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III.
The labor secretary explained that the issue regarding the total deployment ban covering the Federation is not solely in DoLE and POEA’s hands, adding that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) needs to make a determination that work conditions have improved.
On Sept. 4, the POEA issued Governing Board Resolution No. 5 which notes that the DFA recommended a total deployment ban of OFWs to the Federation “unless it settles the unresolved cases and improves working conditions of OFWs.”
In 2017 the DFA issued reports that OFWs employed at Chuuk State Hospital have not been receiving wages.
POEA issued Advisory No. 6 Series of 2017 noting that the Federation government “made no effort to improve working conditions and guaranteeing the timely payment of salaries and benefits of workers.”
The 2017 advisory of the POEA also announced the blacklisting of Chuuk State Hospital, barring it from recruiting OFWs.
Mr. Bello said that he has received information that there is only one OFW complaining of non-payment of wages about which he is still waiting further communication.
Upon verifying whether there is only one complainant, Mr. Bello said “We will definitely order the lifting of the ban.”
He added an employment ban is too drastic a response for only one complainant.
POEA reported that there are around 2,000 OFWs who are working in the Federation. — Gillian M. Cortez