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Deployment ban on Iraq now lifted

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration lifted the prohibition on  the deployment of Filipino workers to Iraq after a six-year ban due to war in that country. The POEA Governing Board issued  Resolution No. 04, series of 2013,  signed July 26, 2013,  now allowed Filipino workers to apply and work in Iraq only in places where the safety of Filipino workers is most vital. Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, who chairs the POEA body, said the board has agreed to lift the  ban on Iraq and resume the processing and  deployment of returning workers or rehires, upon the submission of list of areas identified as “no-go” zones by the Iraqi government. The Department of Foreign Affairs has included Iraq in the list of compliant countries under Republic Act 10022, effectively lifting the six-year old ban to the said country. In its official communication, the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad has certified Iraq as compliant with the guarantees of the law. The POEA said that the foreign affairs department  has lowered the Crisis Alert Level in Iraq to Alert Level 1 (Precautionary Phase), with mandatory travel restriction to “no-go” zones to be determined by the host country. POEA chief Hans Cacdac said  the lifting of the ban is in compliance with the preconditions of the DFA  that deployment of OFWs to that country, except in the ‘no go zones” such as  Anbar Province, Ninewah/Nineveh Provinces, Kirkuk Province (a.k.a. Tamim; Al Tamim; At-Tamim), and Salahuddin / Salahaddin Province. He said that Iraq government communicated its desire to hire Filipino skilled workers and professionals, except household workers,  for the rehabilitation of Iraqi industries and facilities. “There is an existing Memorandum of Agreement Relating to Mobilization of Manpower signed between the Philippines and Iraq government in 1982,” he said, adding “that the POEA is instructed to pursue the conclusion of the Implementing Protocol for the bilateral labor agreement with Iraq as soon as possible.” Baldoz has already instructed   Cacdac to fast track the guidelines on the resumption of deployment of OFWs to Iraq. The government suspended the deployment of Filipino workers in Iraq because of war in December 2007. Meanwhile, the POEA earlier lifted the deployment ban on  workers to Yemen and Eritrea. The POEA deferred the processing and deployment of all workers bound for Yemen and Eritrea in view of the unstable political and security conditions in that countries in 2009.
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