Philippine labor chief to Pinoys in Lebanon: Avoid unnecessary travel

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz urged some 35,000 Filipino workers in Lebanon to avoid unnecessary travel as Syrian hostilities are expected to spill over to Lebanon.

Baldoz instructed the Philippine labor attaché in Lebanon to ensure the safety of Filipino workers in Lebanon, estimated at 34,850, mostly female household service workers.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) advisory came after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has raised its crisis alert level for Lebanon to Level 1.

”Under this level, Filipinos in Lebanon are alerted to take necessary precautions,” Baldoz noted on Monday.

“They should be watchful, limit unnecessary movement or traveling, and maintain open lines of communications with the Philippine Embassy, Philippine Overseas Labor Office, their Filipino community, and their fellow OFWs (overseas Filipino workers),” she said.

Based on the DFA assessment, she said “there are valid signs of internal disturbance and instability in Lebanon, as well as external threat thereto from two developments.”

The assessment pointed to the “threat to a possible resumption of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah, an Islamic militant group and political party inside Lebanon, and the Syrian conflict, whose spill-over to Lebanon could trigger political instability.”

Meanwhile, the Philippine and Lebanese governments are still negotiating the terms of contract for hiring new Filipino HSWs where Lebanon has to show “positive and concrete measures to protect migrant workers, particularly HSWs (household service workers).”

Baldoz also said the Philippine government has partially lifted the ban on deployment of new workers to Lebanon, except to newly hired household service workers, because of the reported cases of rampant abuses of Filipino HSWs.



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