'No Shore Leave' Policy for Pinoy Seafarers
The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) is implementing a 'no shore leave' policy for Filipino seafarers passing through Ebola-hit West African countries.
POEA OFW Health Concerns Director Nini Lanto said recruitment firms who will be deploying Pinoy seafarers to countries with high number of reported Ebola cases should inform the agency about it.
The government has formed an inter-agency task force composed of the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to beef up its campaign against the entry of the dreaded Ebola cases in the country.
DFA Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the agency has raised Crisis Alert Level 2 in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries where Ebola virus outbreak has been recorded.
She added that under Crisis Alert Level 2, all the licensed recruitment agencies that have deployed workers to these countries are to ensure their workers' immediate repatriation, with all those who will be repatriated administered Ebola virus test at no expense to the workers. Imposition of the Crisis Alert Level 2 means that processing and deployment of OFWs in these countries are temporarily suspended.
The agency called on the OFWs, even the undocumented ones, to report to the Philippine embassy if they are experiencing Ebola virus symptoms such as fever and cough.
Meanwhile, based on the record of DFA, there are more or less 4,000 Pinoy workers in these three countries – 1,979 in Sierra Leone, 880 in Guinea, 632 in Liberia and 2,000 undocumented OFWs.