SOME 5,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who were stranded due to the Taiwan travel ban, are set to leave the country bound for Taiwan.
Most of the OFWs are returning to Taiwan and new recruits who are all eager to go to Taiwan where their employers are earnestly waiting for them to start working.
The OFWs are set to depart tomorrow when Cebu Pacific starts its early morning flights while Philippine Airlines (PAL) will only resume regular flights on February 21. The OFWs are urged to re-book immediately their flights so they can return as soon as possible to Taiwan..
Meanwhile, the Philippine Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan (PILMAT) is elated over the lifting of the travel ban which unduly delayed the departure of 5,000 OFWs for their jobs in Taiwan.
Aida Gerodias, PILMAT president, in a statement thanked the IAFT (Inter-Agency Task Force) on COVID-19 for recommending the lifting of the travel ban in view of the absence of local transmission of COVID-19 in Taiwan as well as the low volume of travelers coming from that country.
She also cited the persistent efforts of Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman Lito Banayo to have the ban lifted and prevent a prolonged restriction which would jeopardize the future of OFWs.
She likewise lauded the untiring efforts of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in convincing the IATF on the importance of keeping Filipino jobs in Taiwan secure, underscoring the Taiwan OFWs’ major contribution to the Philippine economy of $1billion or P500 million annually.
PILMAT promised that they will closely cooperate with DOLE and MECO in ensuring the safety and security of the 160,000 OFWs in Taiwan in the fight against COVID-19.
No more total Kuwait ban
The full deployment of workers to Kuwait has resumed.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said POEA Governing Board issued Resolution No. 7 approved on February 13, which states that the government will now resume processing and deployment of all types of workers bound for the Gulf estate.
Bello, who chairs the POEA governing board, said the approval was made in view of the filing of charges against the suspected killers of OFW Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende.
“After due consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and with the filing of appropriate charges against the perpetrators [in the killing] of OFW Jeanelyn Villavende, the Governing Board of the POEA unanimously approved the lifting of the remaining ban in Kuwait with respect to the deployment of household workers,” he said.
Last month, the DOLE imposed a total deployment ban on OFWs to Kuwait following the findings by the National Bureau of Investigation that Villavende was sexually abused and brutally murdered.
However, in view of the approval early this month by the Kuwait and Philippine governments of a harmonized employment contract for Filipino domestic workers in the oil-rich country, the POEA governing board lifted the ban on the processing and deployment of OFWs to Kuwait, except newly-hired and returning domestic workers.
More than 50 percent of close to 250,000 documented workers in Kuwait are household workers.
With Lee Ann P. Ducusin