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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Government-to-government agreement holds as 400 HCWs are scheduled for deployment to Israel

Israel-bound Filipino healthcare workers for deployment in safe zones

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said Filipino health care workers (HCWs) bound for deployment to Israel will be placed in safe and secure locations despite the ongoing armed conflict in between Palestinians at Gaza Strip and Israelis.

This was the statement from the DOLE after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported there are about 400 Filipino caregivers up for deployment in Israel under an existing bilateral labor agreement.

“Yesterday we had a meeting with our counterparts in Israel because we are on the final step for the deployment of our OFWs. It is also a good thing because we are yet to receive an advisory regarding the ban, so, we will proceed with the deployment of our 400 home-based caregivers in Israel,” POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said.

While there is no existing ban and Israel remains on Alert Level 1, Administrator Olalia said the deployment of OFWs to Israel’s residential zones far from the areas of conflict will take place in a month. The deployment is under the government-to-government deployment arrangement in accordance with the existing labor agreement between Israel and the Philippines/

The POEA has also issued an advisory for Filipino workers in Israel to strictly observe safety protocols being implemented by the Embassy to avoid danger and untoward incidents.

He added they will continue to monitor the status of Filipino workers in Israel and should there be reports of impending danger, immediate repatriation proceedings will be made.

Administrator Olalia said they still have to achieve the requirement of 1,000 HCWs by Israel due to the current pandemic situation. He added they continue to fast-track the procession and application of interested Filipinos.

He explained the deployment cap of 5,000 imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the POEA has already reached over 3,000 workers as of May 2021. The HCWs up for deployment in Israel are exempted from the cap.

Speaking of Health Care Workers, Administrator Olalia said they noted an increase in the application for HCWs because the requirement to attain at lease second year in college was reduced to high school graduates while the process of application, screening, and interview usually takes two to three months. An HCW in Israel is expected to receive a salary of US$1,500 a month.

Latest reports from Israel and the Gaza Strip said Israeli fighter jets continued to bomb the Gaza Strip early morning of Wednesday. Palestinian groups launched more rockets toward areas in southern Israel. International media outlets said there have been 219 Palestinians including 63 children have been killed since May 10. Nearly 1,500 Palestinians have been wounded. There were 12 fatalities in Israel including two children with about 300 others reported wounded. (Melo M. Acuña)

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