MANILA, Philippines — DOLE suspended the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to Israel on Thursday amid an escalating armed conflict in the West Asian country.
The decision came a day after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) assured that the departure of 400 Filipino caregivers to Israel would push through despite raging Israel-Palestine hostilities.
In a news statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello clarified they will not impose a deployment ban for OFWs bound for Israel. However, the labor chief ordered a temporary suspension, which may last for a “few days,” in the deployment of OFWs to Jerusalem to ensure their safety.
“I will be the one to answer to President Duterte if something will happen to them if they leave [for Israel amid]…the high tension there,” Bello said.
“Our request to our caregivers and health-care workers is to defer by a few days their departure so they would not [place themselves] in danger,” he added.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said they support the decision of DOLE in deferring the deployment of OFWs to Israel.
He said it was a “practical decision,” especially since the government is now considering evacuating or repatriating around 30,000 Filipinos in Israel.
Tensions remain high in between Israel and the Gaza Strip over alleged Israeli rights abuses against Palestinians in Jerusalem.