Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Myanmar may now return to the Philippines for vacation after the government downgraded the crisis alert level.
In an advisory released Wednesday, Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan Ople said Filipinos with existing contracts would also be allowed to go back to Myanmar.
“The public is hereby informed that OFWs who have been legally working in Myanmar can now return to the Philippines for vacation and [will] be allowed to go back to resume their overseas employment after properly registering with the DMW,” Ople said.
“This applies only to those with existing employment contracts and not to the deployment of new hires to Myanmar,” she added.
In July, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) lowered the crisis level status in Myanmar from Alert Level 4 (evacuation) to Alert Level 2 (restricted phase).
The DFA said this means OFWs with working visas can return to Myanmar. However, the deployment ban for newly hired workers will continue.
There are about 400 OFWs in Myanmar, according to the DFA.
Ople said an assessment of the migrant workers found they were concentrated in Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, and Mandalay, “where they enjoy safe and stable working conditions.”
“Our kababayans are likewise reminded to avoid crisis-prone regions in Myanmar, as there is no guarantee that the Philippine or Myanmar authorities will be able to easily access these areas in order to render assistance in case of emergencies,” she added.
In May 2021, the DFA raised Alert Level 4 in Myanmar in light of the conflict due to the military coup that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The military jailed senior government officials, including Suu Kyi, and pro-democracy activists.
In July 2022, the DFA said the Philippine government repatriated a total of 701 Filipinos from Myanmar, which constitutes about 60% of OFWs in the country. — VBL, GMA Integrated News