THE Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has issued a resolution imposing a temporary ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers in Iraq due to a fast-moving Islamic insurgency in the Middle Eastern country.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said late Sunday that the imposition of the ban is in line with the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which raised on Saturday the alert level status on Iraq, except the Iraqi Kurdistan region, from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3, citing "deteriorating security situation."

The alert level status in the Iraqi Kurdistan region remains at level 1 since it is not yet affected by the conflict.

Baldoz urged OFWs to come home as the government is sending a rapid response team to assist in the voluntary repatriation.

"We have a menu of reintegration programs and services available to our returning OFWs. We will assist them through referral if they want to work again overseas, or locally. We are also ready to assist those who will consider entrepreneurship as an option," said Baldoz, chairman of the POEA Governing Board.

In 2013, the government lifted the ban on the deployment of OFWs to Iraq, except in areas identified as "no go" zones, after the Iraqi government expressed desire to hire Filipino skilled workers and professionals for the rehabilitation of Iraqi industries and facilities. (Sunnex)