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DFA defends deployment ban to Israel

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - December 3, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines defended last Saturday its decision to impose a ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Israel since the government has the duty and prerogative to protect all its citizens, especially those in conflict areas.

The Department of Foreign Affairs was reacting to criticism that the government’s deployment ban to Israel was not a constructive decision, explaining that “no other state could substitute its judgment over that of the Philippine government regarding the welfare of its own nationals.”

“The Department of Foreign Affairs takes exception to the recent statement of the Israeli ambassador to the Philippines criticizing the Philippine government’s decision to temporarily ban the new deployment of Filipino workers to Israel,” the DFA said in a statement.

Pursuant to this mandate, the department issued last Nov. 20 Alert Level 2 (Restriction Phase) for Central and Southern Israel and Alert Level 4 (Evacuation/Mandatory Repatriation) for Gaza. Under Alert Level 2, the deployment of new workers to Israel is suspended while vacationing workers could return.

The DFA said a travel advisory was also issued warning Filipinos not to travel to Gaza and to defer going to Central and Southern Israel, but pointed out that there is no travel ban in other parts of Israel but travelers are advised to take necessary precaution.

DFA officials said this measure is mandated under Executive Order 34 that created the Overseas Preparedness Response Team, an interagency body created by the President and chaired by the Executive Secretary.

“The Philippine government welcomes the ceasefire in Gaza and hopes that this will usher in lasting peace and stability there. In due time, the alert level for Israel and Gaza may be reviewed if the ceasefire continues to hold,” the DFA said.

Israeli Ambassador Menashe Bar-On said last Friday that the ban on the deployment of OFWs to Israel was not a constructive decision but he expressed optimism that it will be lifted within a few days.

 

 

 

ALERT LEVEL CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ISRAEL CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ISRAEL AND ALERT LEVEL DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS EXECUTIVE ORDER EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GAZA ISRAEL ISRAEL AND GAZA ISRAELI AMBASSADOR MENASHE BAR-ON MANDATORY REPATRIATION
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