For the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the government is requiring foreign countries and employers to ensure that those they’re hiring from the Philippines would be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Bernard Olalia said OFWs will not be cleared for deployment until the host country or foreign employer ensures that they would be inoculated against COVID-19.
Olalia added that POEA is committed to ensure that OFWs are prioritized for protection against the coronavirus.
He cited Israel for agreeing to include the 400 Filipino caregivers it is hiring in its COVID-19 vaccination program upon their arrival there. “The same goes for other skills like our nurses who are prioritized in the vaccination program of other countries where they would serve as frontliners,” Olalia added.
The United Arab Emirates, for example, agreed to vaccinate all Filipino household service workers to be deployed there, he added. The POEA administrator said no country or employer has so far rejected the new policy, which is also being done for the protection of the foreign employers and co-workers.
“It’s not just for the safety of our OFWs, but also for the safety of their employers with whom they would mingle in their workplaces,” he explained.
The original set-up is that OFWs should already be vaccinated prior to deployment. But if vaccines are not available here in the Philippines, they will have to be vaccinated in their destination country.
The government is looking to including OFWs in the list of priority groups to be vaccinated in the country.
Based on data from the different Philippine Overseas Labor Offices, close to 16,000 OFWs worldwide have been infected with COVID-19. Of this number, close to a thousand have succumbed to the infection.
With additional reports: Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star
Photo Sources: dfa.ph, bworldonline.com, rappler.com