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‘Oman: Safest Country for Filipinos in Middle East’
One more feather in Oman’s cap. After being included on the list of the most peaceful countries in the region by the Institute for Economics and Peace last week, the country’s welfare policies are bringing more laurels now.According to an initial list of 76 countries considered as safe for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Oman is the one and only country listed in the region.
The list was recently published by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
The 76 countries were classified after meeting at least one of the three requirements listed in the Amended Migrant Workers Act, which states that the Philippine government will only allow deployment if the host country has existing labour and social laws protecting the rights of workers; is a signatory to and/or a ratifier of multilateral conventions, declarations or resolutions relating to the protection of workers; and has concluded a bilateral agreement or arrangement with the government on the protection of the rights of OFWs.
If a country fails to conform to any of these requirements, it will be issued a deployment ban.
“It is true. Oman is not only a safe country but is also a friendly one,” Amelita Abawag Villamora, chairperson of Filipino community social organisation Filicoso told Times of Oman.
“We are thankful to the Sultanate’s people-friendly government for initiating wise policies for the protection of immigrant workers. Even during the recent political developments, we were not worried about our safety. We were confident that everything would be settled soon and we would be able to continue our work peacefully. We didn’t face any uncertainty,” Amelita said.
Nearly, 40,000 to 46,000 Filipinos are working in the Sultanate, of which some 40 per cent are low-paid workers.
“The immigrant workers in the Sultanate are decently paid and are not abused by the employers. The Sultanate’s strict labour laws ensure that the immigrant workers do not face any kind of problem in their day to day life,” Amelita added.
The Philippines government carries out regular studies and takes extra care while sending citizens overseas.
Meanwhile, the POEA has clarified that not being on the initial list does not necessarily mean that deployment of OFWs would be stopped. Conditions in other countries would be continuously reviewed and evaluated and deployment would only be halted if a ban is put in place, it noted.
“For the last 24 years, I am here in Oman. I love this country. It is peaceful and beautiful. Even at midnight, we don’t feel any kind of insecurity on the roads,” said Laila Fernandez, a Filipino.
“I have spent nearly one-third of my life in Oman. I don’t feel any regret about being far away from my home. The Sultanate has become a second home for me,” she added.
Source: Times of Oman