Wednesday, October 25, 2006

DoLE suspends OFW deployment to Kazakhstan

By Veronica Uy
Last updated 02:42pm (Mla time) 10/25/2006

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) on Wednesday suspended the processing and deployment of Filipino workers to Kazakhstan five days after clashes broke out between Turkish and Kazakh workers.

Acting Labor Secretary Danilo Cruz told the order is “effective today until further

He issued the order shortly after a multi-department meeting attended by Foreign Affairs undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr., acting administrator Viveca Catalig of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, administrator Marianito Roque of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and a representative of local recruitment agency International Security Development (ISD).

Cruz also said a composite team composed of the Philippine ambassador and consul general to Pakistan, the Philippine labor attaché to Riyadh, and a representative of ISD will be sent to Tengiz, Kazakhstan “to assess the situation and conduct dialogue with the Filipinos there.”
He said they are expected to arrive in Kazakhstan on Friday.

From their meeting, the acting labor chief said it was learned that although there is “continuing provocation from Kazakh workers,” the Filipino workers there are not in so much danger.

"Aside from reinforced security from private security guards and the Kazakhstan government, the Filipinos have been moved to quarters separate from other nationalities,” he said.

However, he said, the Philippine government has asked Bechtel, the Filipinos' employer, to have a separate mess hall for Filipinos as all nationalities eat at the same mess hall.

Asked if the Filipinos have returned to work, Cruz said they have not yet done so.

Earlier, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Filipino workers will be asked to return to work Wednesday or Thursday.

Cruz belied reports that 40 were killed in the riot last October 20. He said no one was killed, but 300 were injured, two of them seriously.

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