Thursday, October 25, 2012

Philippines lifts ban on workers to Jordan

The Philippines announced on Wednesday it had lifted a five-year-old ban on its nationals working in Jordan that was imposed amid concerns over poor labour conditions. The ban was lifted after the Philippine and Jordanian governments forged two agreements this year aimed at protecting the workers, including a minimum monthly salary of $400, the overseas workers administration said. The ban on Jordan was imposed in 2007 due to "the growing number of distressed Filipino workers" who were seeking help from Philippine diplomatic offices there, the administration said. "There were a whole variety of issues. Some of them (were) abused. Some were beaten. The point was, because some of these workers had run away, the deployment was stopped," administration vice chairman Hans Cacdac told AFP. Wednesday's announcement came after the Philippines said last month it had won a long battle with Saudi Arabia and secured a minimum monthly wage of $400 for Filipino workers there. About 10 percent of the Philippine population of almost 100 million have gone abroad to work in better-paying jobs than they can get in their largely impoverished homeland. Many of the Filipinos in Middle East countries work as maids, labourers, janitors and other menial professions. The government also announced on Wednesday it had partially lifted a ban on working in Lebanon that was imposed after fighting erupted between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006. The ban on Lebanon was only removed for Filipinos already working there illegally, but talks are going on to have it completely lifted, Cacdac said. There are more than 24,000 Filipinos working illegally in Lebanon, according to government estimates. The Philippine government requires its citizens to obtain permits through labour agencies to work overseas, in an effort to keep track of them and ensure they are not abused abroad.