The Philippine Overseas Employment (POEA) has directed all licensed recruitment agencies in the country to look after the health conditions of their deployed workers to China’s special administrative regions (SARs) Hong Kong and Macao, amid the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“Prior to deployment, PRAs (Philippine Recruitment Agencies) shall provide advice to OFWs bound for the aforecited job sites to strictly follow the health protocols and precautionary health measures thereat,” the agency said in Memorandum Circular No. 04 signed by POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia issued on Thursday.
As for the monitoring of the deployed OFWs, the POEA directed PRAs “to strictly monitor the condition/s of their deployed OFWs and should establish accessible lines of communication for reports on emergency cases. As such, a monitoring system should be generated by each deploying PRA to take into consideration the seriousness of the disease and the OFW’s immediate need for medical assistance.”
“Cases of symptomatic or infected OFWs should be reported by the PRA within three days to the respective authorities in Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Philippine Embassy or Consular Office of jurisdiction for prompt medical attention, copy furnished the Philippine Overseas Employment (POEA),” the order added.
Companies that will fail to comply with the memorandum will face appropriate sanctions.
“PRAs in violation of this Memorandum shall be held liable for violation of reportorial requirements under the POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Land-based Overseas Filipino Workers of 2016 as well as appropriate corresponding disciplinary action,” it added.
On February 18, the Inter-agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed the travel of OFWs to Hong Kong and Macao, several days after imposing a travel ban.
However, Filipino workers are required to sign a declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved in the current developments caused by Covid-19. (PNA)