The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) welcomed the government’s decision to exempt overseas Filipino workers from the travel ban to South Korea.
“Good news sa amin kasi malaking problema kung (may) travel ban sa OFWs. (It’s good news to us because it will be a big problem if the OFWs are covered by the travel ban,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in an interview Wednesday night.
Bello said he learned about the development from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) chief Hans Leo Cacdac, who represented him in the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) earlier on the same day.
“This will have no effect on the deployment of the OFWs. I’m happy about it because I requested my representative to go against a travel ban (on OFWs), in case there will be,” he added.
Bello said majority of Filipinos working in South Korea are factory workers and only a few are household service workers (HSWs).
On Wednesday, the IATF-EID has implemented a ban on travelers from South Korea’s North Gyeongsang province following a surge in the number of coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) cases in said part of said country.
Likewise, Filipino tourists are temporarily banned from traveling to South Korea, including Jeju Island.
As of Thursday, South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported at least 1,700 Covid-19 cases, the majority of which are from North Gyeongsang and the city of Daegu.
The government has earlier imposed a travel ban on Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao due to the Covid-19 scare.
The travel ban to Taiwan was lifted on February 14 while only OFWs are currently allowed to travel to the two Chinese special administrative regions. (PNA)