By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said it is ready to implement any changes in foreign policy or overseas Filipino worker (OFW) deployment, should the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) or Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) impose any new ban on deployment to Iraq, Iran, and Libya.
“The government’s primary concern is the welfare of our kababayans, hence the BI is ready to implement any directive regarding our foreign policy or OFW deployment should the concerned agencies see a need to implement any change,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente in a statement.
This came amid brewing tension between the United States and Iran, following the death of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds military force.
Meanwhile, the BI announced that it has started implementing the government ban on the deployment of newly hired household service workers (HSW) to Kuwait.
BI port operations division’s chief Grifton Medina said immigration officers in the different international ports have been instructed to strictly enforce the ban imposed by the DOLE.
He added that the ban applies to all first time HSWs bound for the Gulf state.
The BI implemented the ban after it received a copy of a Jan. 3 resolution issued by the Governing Board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) ordering a partial deployment ban of Filipino domestic workers to Kuwait.
In the said resolution, the POEA also imposed a moratorium on the verification, accreditation, and processing of individual contracts and additional job orders for HSWs.
Exempted from the said restrictions, however, are HSWs, whose overseas employment certificates (OEC) were issued on or before 5 p.m. of Jan. 3, 2020.
Medina also warned agencies who would attempt to circumvent the ban.
“Our system is integrated with POEA’s [system] hence with a click of a finger, we would be able to verify an OFW’s records immediately,” he added. (PNA)