POEA lifts deployment ban to Sierra Leone

THE Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has lifted the deployment ban for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone.

“The POEA Governing Board resolves to lift the deployment ban on Sierra Leone and to resume the processing and deployment of all OFWs, both vacationing and new hires,” said POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 09-2015 dated December 10.

The decision comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Sierra Leone free from Ebola last month.

This was followed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) lowering the Alert Level in Sierra Leone from Level 3 to Level 1.

It was back in December 2014 when the POEA imposed a total deployment ban for OFWs bound for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

In May 2015, the POEA lifted the total deployment ban in Liberia after the WHO said the country was already Ebola-free.

As for Guinea, POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac expressed belief that it may only be a matter of time before the government lifts the deployment ban there.

“There remains a deployment ban there but I believe it will only just be a matter of time before it’s lifted,” said Cacdac in a separate interview.

He said the POEA cannot just lift the ban without the recommendations from the DFA and the Department of Health (DOH).

“We are not the experts on this matter so we have to rely on other government agencies to guide us on how to go about with it,” said Cacdac.

Last week, the Blas F. Ople Policy Center called on the POEA to consider lifting the deployment ban in Guinea as appealed by OFWs there.

Ebola is a severe, infectious, often fatal disease in humans and primates (monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees) caused by infection from the Ebola virus.

It can be transmitted through close contact with blood secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals, body fluids and stools of an infected person, through contaminated needles and soiled linen used by infected patients, or direct contact with the body a deceased person.

Signs and symptoms of infection with Ebola virus include fever, headache, intense weakness, joint and muscle pains and sore throat; this is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding; sometimes, rash, red eyes, hiccups and bleeding from body openings may be seen in some patients. (HDT/Sunnex)

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