Noli backs lifting of OFW ban to Lebanon
MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Noli de Castro has endorsed the lifting of the government ban on the deployment of workers to Lebanon in order to give Filipinos more job opportunities in light of the global financial crisis.
In a meeting on Monday with Cabinet officials at his office in Pasay City, De Castro, the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), said it was time the ban was lifted as the security situation in Lebanon had greatly improved.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo, Labor Secretary Marianito Roque, Foreign Undersecretary Esteban Conejos, Foreign Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, Ambassador Roy Cimatu and Commission on Maritime and Ocean Affairs Secretary General Henry Bensurto.
Cimatu, who had been to Lebanon several times to check on the peace and order situation there, told the group that normality had returned since the 2006 armed conflict between Israel and Hezbollah when the Philippine government imposed the deployment ban.
“If that is the case, then there is no more reason to maintain the deployment ban to Lebanon,” De Castro said. “Many of our countrymen badly need jobs today and Lebanon offers plenty of employment opportunities.”
Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Lebanon were established in 1946 but a Philippine embassy in Beirut was opened only in 1996.
There are over 20,000 documented OFWs currently in Lebanon, with 99 percent of them working in the households of Maronite Christians in Northern Beirut, according to the DFA.
Earlier, Lebanese honorary consul in Manila Joseph Assad said the country was safe and its labor market could still absorb workers.
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