Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III clarified Thursday that the government has no deployment order to Israel but only a temporary departure suspension amid the tension between Israeli forces and Gaza’s armed groups.
“We have not banned the deployment of our workers to Israel. The processing of those who already qualified continues,” Bello said in a statement.
“We are merely suspending their actual departure while the tension is still high,” Bello said.
In a separate text message, the DOLE chief said that the “processing of the applications is still ongoing.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment said there are at least 400 OFWs scheduled to go to Israel this month.
“Ang pakiusap ko pa sa ating mga paalis na caregivers at health care workers ay ipagpaliban ng ilang araw ang kanilang biyahe upang hindi sila mapahamak,” Bello said.
(Our appeal to departing caregivers and health care workers is to delay for several days their travel for their own safety.)
No OFW deployment ban to Israel: DOLE
“Sagutin ko po sila kay Pangulong Duterte kung ano man ang mangyari sa kanila in case sila ay umalis sa kabila ng mataas na tension doon sa Israel,” he said.
(I will be responsible to President Duterte if anything happens to them if they still go out of the country despite the high tension in Israel.)
“It will just be about a few days of delay. We just want to be sure they will be safe,” Bello said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs placed Israel and West Bank under the Alert Level 1 category while Gaza is on Alert Level 2.
Alert Level 1, the lowest security category of the government for Filipinos overseas, means there are valid signs of internal disturbance, instability, and external threat to the host country. No evacuation is needed under this level, but Filipinos must exercise caution and avoid conflict zones.
Level 2 entails restriction of non-essential movements, avoiding places of protest, and preparation for possible evacuation.