POEA halts deployment of newly-hired OFWs to three African countries due to Ebola outbreak

Date Posted: July 4th, 2014 06:54 AM
 

 

POEA halts deployment of newly-hired OFWs to three African countries due to Ebola outbreak Labor and Employment Secretary and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Governing Board Chairman Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced that the Board has declared a suspension on the processing and deployment of newly-hired overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone by virtue of Governing Board Resolution No. 14, Series of 2014, after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised the Crisis Alert Level to Alert Level 2 (Restriction Phase) following the spread of an extremely contagious disease, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the said countries. “Under such circumstance, we will only allow the deployment of returning OFWs with existing employment contracts or a group of OFWs under special circumstances to go back to their host country,” Baldoz explained. POEA records show that from January 2012 to May 2014, there are 880 OFWs in Guinea, 632 in Liberia, and 1,979 in Sierra Leone. To date, no Filipino has been afflicted with the disease. Meanwhile, International Manpower Corp., a local recruitment agency notified the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) that its foreign principal, ISU Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd, has imposed an immediate repatriation of its employees working in a jobsite in Sierra Leon for the workers’ safety and as a precautionary measure. There are 20 OFWs who are employed at the said jobsite. “OWWA has already provided the Department of Health’s (DOH) Bureau of Quarantine of the names and the flight details of the 20 OFWs from Sierra Leone so they could be subjected to the quarantine protocols,” Baldoz said. In his letter to Secretary Baldoz, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Romulo said that as of 30 June 2014, total reported cases of the disease reached 600 including 400 deaths bringing the mortality rate to about 66.6 percent across Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. He added that an official of the Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) announced on 20 June 2014 that the EVD outbreak in West Africa is “out of control”. “This is the biggest outbreak of the Ebola virus, both in terms of numbers and geographic coverage since the virus was first identified in 1976, so much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) called for drastic action to contain the spread of deadly Ebola in South Africa,” DFA Secretary Del Rosario said in his letter. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Philippines has been tapped to immediately activate systems and measures to mitigate the risk of exposure of Filipinos in the affected areas, and prevent and minimize the spread of the disease in the country, as specified in Executive Order No. 168, Series of 2014. EVD is an extremely contagious disease which can be spread from close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected organism—both human and animal. There is no known available cure for the disease. The incubation period for EVD is 2-21 days and the virus becomes contagious when the affected person already exhibits symptoms. “I urged OFWs in the said countries to limit their non-essential movements, avoid public places to prevent their exposure to the disease. It will also be wise for them to prepare for the eventuality of evacuation. The DOLE is working closely with the DFA in ensuring the safety and well-being of OFWs in those countries,” Baldoz said. End/rhev



Created Aug 26th 2014, 11:41

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