Philippines - Despite the existing deployment ban to Lebanon, a Middle East-based migrant workers group is asking how 5,000 additional Filipinos could have entered the war-torn country.
A statement earlier this week said that after the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, about 5,000 Filipino workers have “returned" to Lebanon despite the deployment ban issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
"Like in Iraq, despite deployment ban imposed by the Arroyo administration, we are wondering why there are still a considerable numbers of OFWs that have been sent to work as domestic helpers in Lebanon where a civil war is now escalating," said Migrante Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona.
According to the statement issued by Joseph Assad, honorary consul of Lebanon to the Philippines and Abdul Kader Al Jadid, president of the Filipino-Lebanese Friendship Association, Hezbollah gunmen seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods from Sunni foes loyal to the US-backed government on Friday as sectarian clashes reminiscent of Lebanon's bloody 15-year civil war raged in the capital.
About 25,000 Filipino domestic helpers in Lebanon were advised by Philippine officials there to remain inside their homes, keep off the streets and follow their employers to safer grounds when needed.
"It has been reported that violence has been escalating in Lebanon due to infighting of two warring Muslim factions, the Shiite and Sunni groups, such hostilities in Lebanon certainly put the lives of fellow OFWs in Lebanon at great risks," Monterona added.
The group's regional coordinator also noted that during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict most Lebanese employers just left their domestic helpers or locked them inside the house.
"That time Lebanese are swiftly fleeing and securing only themselves and members of their families leaving behind our fellow OFWs at their employer’s houses, thus putting OFWs lives at great risks at a time when heavy bombs are pouring like rain," he explained.
Aside from Lebanon, the DFA has implemented a total deployment ban on Iraq, Jordan, Afghanistan, Nigeria. -Mark Joseph Ubalde, GMANews.TV