MANILA, Apr 22 (Mabuhay) — Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are now allowed again to be deployed to eight regions and independent chartered cities in Ethiopia, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said Thursday.

Administrator Bernard Olalia said POEA Governing Board No. 03 approved the lifting of the deployment ban in some areas in the country after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has lowered the alert level from 4 to 2.

At the Laging Handa briefing, he clarified that only returning OFWs or Balik Manggagawa (BM) and those with existing employment contracts will be allowed to go back to the African country.

“There are eight areas in Ethiopia that we will lift the deployment, because of the DFA’s letter that alert level in the areas that used to be Alert Level 4 was downgraded to Alert Level 2. And because this is Alert Level 2, it means that POEA will once again allow the deployment of our workers in Ethiopia, in the eight regions that are in our Governing Board Resolution,” he said.

“Under Alert Level 4, there will be a total deployment ban. Because the security situation there has improved, according to the DFA, they have lowered it from Alert Level 4 to 2, so we will allow those with existing employment contracts to process the OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate) again,” he added.

The eight areas are: Addis Ababa (independent chartered city), Dire Dawa (independent chartered city), Oromia, Somali, Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region, Gambella, Harari and Southwest Ethiopia People’s Region

“Whereas under Alert Level 2, the processing of and deployment of workers shall be allowed only for OFWs returning to their current employers and are with existing employment,” the resolution dated April 1 read.

“Whereas, the DFA has maintained Alert Level 4 in the conflict regions of Tigray, Afar, Amhara, and Benishangul-Gumuz,” it added.

Returning Filipino workers are required to submit the following documents: valid Ethiopian residence visa and/or working permit; guarantee letter from employers on repatriation (to indicate option), medical assistance, health insurance and guarantee from employers, as reflected in the employment contract, or addendum to the agreement that Filipino workers will not be deployed to areas under Alert Level 4 (Tigray, Afar, Amhara, and Benishangul-Gumuz).

At the same time, the resolution said the deployment ban on the four areas under Alert Level 4 shall be maintained.

It added that the ban on the deployment of newly-hired OFWs shall be maintained until further notice.

In November 2021, the DFA raised the Crisis Alert Level in Ethiopia to Alert Level 4 (Evacuation/ Mandatory Repatriation) in view of the continued and escalating conflict between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (PLF) and the Federal Government of Ethiopia.

The POEA issued Governing Board Resolution No, 12, series of 2021 on November 17, 2021 imposing a total ban on the deployment of all OFWs bound for Ethiopia. (MNS)

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