By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA — The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) ordered manning and recruitment agencies to submit a report on the situation of sea and land-based Filipino workers in the Middle East every week.
In separate advisories signed by POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia, recruitment agencies and manning companies are directed to monitor the status of their deployed workers amid the escalating tension in the region.
In an advisory dated Jan. 10, recruitment agencies were directed to monitor the condition of their workers and submit reports weekly to concerned officials every Tuesday.
In another advisory dated Jan. 8, POEA ordered all manning agencies that recruited seafarers transiting the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and the Indian Ocean to submit a monitoring form containing the list of Filipino workers.
The report should include exact trade routes, type of vessel, contact numbers, information about their respective employers with contact numbers and addresses, and their situation on board the vessel.
“Manning agencies are further directed to regularly coordinate with their respective principals, closely monitor the condition of their deployed seafarers on board, and ensure proper implementation of their contingency plans in case of escalation of tensions in the aforementioned areas,” the advisory read.
Records show that an estimated number of 2,174,611 Filipinos, documented and undocumented, are in the Middle East including Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, and Israel.
Repatriation of OFWs in the Middle East is ongoing after the government ordered mandatory repatriation in Iraq.
More Filipinos from affected areas are expected to come home in the coming weeks.
The escalating tension between the US and Iran stemmed from the killing of Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds military force early this month. (PNA)