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MANILA, Jan 6 (Mabuhay) — More than 670,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been deployed abroad from January to November last year, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said on Wednesday.

“From January 2021 to November 2021, total deployment is 675,567. December figures are not included,” POEA administrator Bernard Olalia said in an advisory.

The figure is higher than the 560,300 land- and sea-based OFWs deployed in 2020.

Olalia also reported that the sending of health care workers abroad last year was not affected, particularly those sent to Israel and the United Kingdom (UK).

“Our deployment of caregivers was not affected because even in the latter part of December last year, we have deployed our caregivers. The Israel(i) government continue(d) to accept our workers, especially the health care workers, which are badly needed by the destination country. In the UK, of course, our nurses. Health care workers are continually being accepted by foreign employers, especially (because) they are needed during this time of pandemic,” he said in a virtual forum.

He noted that some countries have implemented new protocols due to the surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections in the Philippines.

“The rise or surge of Covid-19 due to the Omicron has created a lot of repercussions in the deployment as well. There are countries that have become strict. There are countries that have issued a new protocol. There is a country where I remember that vaccination is mandatory, Covid-19 vaccinations, before they receive the worker. They already have such new protocols in order to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant,” Olalia said.

He, however, did not name these nations.

Olalia expressed hope that the traditional markets for OFWs would open this year.

“Two years after the pandemic occurred, I hope it will ease and return to our prior deployment levels,” he said. (MNS)

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