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Philippines to Lift Ban on Sending Workers to Lebanon

On December 31, 2009

The Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) plans to lift the ban on sending non-domestic workers to Lebanon in February 2010. The ban was imposed three and a half years ago during the 2006 Lebanon War; It will be lifted only for hotel and restaurant workers. According to Philippine government officials, the ban on domestic workers will stay in place until the Lebanese government agrees to the Philippine government's demand to forge an agreement to ensure the protection of the rights of domestic workers, and to increase the salaries of domestic workers from $300 to $400 per month.

Despite the ban, many Filipino workers have sneaked into Lebanon to work primarily as domestic workers. A recruitment official told The Philippine Star that "at least 50 Filipino domestic helpers are leaving the country daily to work in Lebanon and other countries with existing deployment ban through the illegal escort service in our international airports".

The motivation behind lifting the ban seems purely economical. The expected growth in Lebanon's tourism sector created many new jobs for migrant workers in the country. At a time when deaths of migrant workers are happening on a weekly if not a daily basis in Lebanon, we think that it is only reasonable to expect the Philippine government to value the safety of its citizens over economic gains. Over the last year 23 Filipino migrant workers have died abroad, as the Arroyo government continued to pursue an aggressive labor export policy.