MIGRANTE International warned the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Saturday, May 22, that the temporary halt in the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Israel will likely result in illegal recruitment and human trafficking activities.
In a statement, Migrante said it is worried that some OFWs looking to work in Israel would be enticed to head abroad despite the dangers brought about by the hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians.
"The ban on deployment will breed or encourage human trafficking of Filipinos who are desperate to take the risk of working in dangerous and difficult conditions overseas rather than endure poverty in the country," said Migrante.
Last Wednesday, May 19, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced that some 400 Filipino caregivers are set to be deployed later this month to Israel.
A day later, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they will not allow the said OFWs to depart for Israel until tensions have subsided, although there is no deployment ban being imposed.
The OFW group said, though, that this does not mean that they believe the caregivers must be allowed to head to Israel.
"The temporary suspension on the deployment of health workers to Israel is a timely call to guarantee the protection of their lives and safety," said Migrante.
Instead of being contented with stopping OFW deployment, the Duterte administration should consider to focus on providing them decent jobs in the country, it added.
This, it said, include working for the mass hiring of healthcare workers, ensuring increased wages and job security, providing adequate benefits like hazard pay and special allowances, and fighting discrimination against health care workers in hospitals at home and abroad.
"If Secretary Bello sincerely shows concern for the health workers, he can simply take action to address their long time miseries at home, such as low salaries, poor working conditions, fake promises and demotion in the salary grade of public nurses, contractual position for long periods of time, and below minimum wage for private nurses," said Migrante. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)