Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

OFWs to lose 7,000 jobs in Afghanistan

The Manila Times

FILIPINO workers stand to lose some 6,000 to 7,000 potential “good-paying jobs” in Afghanistan as a memorandum from the United States Military Command directed US contractors there to stop the hiring of third-country nationals whose domestic laws have deployment bans to the war-torn country

Filipino recruitment consultant and migration expert Emmanuel Geslani said that the jobs have been instead given to other nationalities vying for civilian contractor jobs in Afghanistan.

The job orders have since been awarded to Afghans, Pakistanese, Indians, Nepalese, Serbs, Macedonians, Fijis and other nationals.

Until the freeze memo from the US Military Command is lifted, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there can no longer work with US international contractors.

This, he said, is despite “the surge in the construction of 20 more additional Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) for the additional 30,000 US Army troops ordered by President Barack Obama.”

According to Geslani, reports reach him that US companies Dyn International LLC was awarded the work for southern Afghanistan and Fluor Intercontinental was selected for work in northern Afghanistan. Both jobs will total to about $15-billion worth of contracts for the next five years.

The task orders encompass base life-support services and logistics support, which include base setup, food service, facilities maintenance, and morale, welfare and recreation.

“Filipino workers who have plans to proceed to Dubai, Kuwait or Bahrain and apply for civilian jobs in Afghanistan in the recruiting stations at the international airports are advised not to go on with their plans as all international contractors at US Military Bases are not allowed anymore to hire Filipinos despite the recommendations of logistics managers and supervisors who prefer to hire Filipinos for the civilian jobs inside the bases,” Geslani said.

Filipino manpower
Carlo Echano, a senior logistics manager for Dyn Corp., said that about 800 Filipinos comprise the more than 13,000 manpower of his company but because of the order from the US military command, Dyn Corp. had to stop the recruitment of Filipino workers.

The firm supplies necessary materials for US bases in the southern region of Afghanistan.

In a statement, Geslani said that “there are about anywhere from 500 to 1,000 jobless Filipino workers in Kabul scrounging for jobs.”

“Most of them came from the neighboring countries of Dubai, Kuwait and Bahrain after finishing their contracts and did not return to the Philippines, to try their luck in landing the very high-paying jobs in Afghanistan,” he added.

Salaries in the bases amount from $2,000 to $15,000 in US bases. More than 6,000 OFWs remit about $1,000 each to their families in the Philippines every month.

“That’s around $6 million or P250,000 million each month and over P3 billion to the economy and yet the DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] refuses to lift the ban for our countrymen but accepts the money sent by the OFWs,” Geslani said.

Several spokesmen for the Filipino workers in Afghanistan have called on President Benigno Aquino 3rd “to lift the ban immediately as the US government is waiting for the [Foreign Affairs department’s] response to the imminent termination of all Filipino workers in Afghanistan working in US bases.”

Several groups clamor for the recall of the ban, saying that US bases are generally safe.

Since 2007, a total travel and work ban has been imposed to Afghanistan because of continuing security concerns in the country, citing numerous attacks by the Taliban and several bomb attacks directed towards United Nations forces.

The department last week said that it would not be proposing the lift of the ban despite numerous calls from OFW groups because it cannot ensure the safety of all Filipinos working there.

An order from the United States Central Command official in September last year “virtually tied” the hands of US contractors to hire additional OFWs for their new contracts as they have been advised to remove all third-country nationals, including Filipinos, whose domestic laws prevent them from working in Afghanistan.  Please see the original article here

January 10, 2011 - Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, DynCorp, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , ,

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