Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

OFWs in Afghanistan seek Binay’s help

By Mayen Jaymalin The Philippine Star Updated May 21, 2011 12:00 AM

Manila, Philippines – After trying to save lives of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) facing death penalty, Vice President Jejomar Binay may soon take the task of saving jobs of Filipinos employed in Afghanistan.

A group of Filipino workers in Afghanistan yesterday sought the help of Binay to prevent the displacement of about 5,000 OFWs employed in a US military base there.

The OFWs said there are still opportunities for Filipinos to work and earn money for their families since US troops are projected to operate there until 2014.

However, the workers said they stand to lose the employment opportunity simply because the Philippine government refuses to lift the ban on deployment of Filipino workers to Afghanistan.

Earlier, the US government ordered all contractors to stop hiring foreign workers from countries restricting deployment of workers to Afghanistan.

Since the issuance of the order, a number of Filipinos have been terminated each month by their US and international contractors working in US bases all over Afghanistan.

OFWs whose employment contracts have expired were immediately repatriated back to the Philippines with the US contractor shouldering the cost.

Because of this, the Filipinos in Afghanistan (FIA), an organization of more than 1,000 Filipinos working in high-level and supervisory positions with international organizations and skilled workers from 64 US bases in the war-torn country, was forced to seek the help of Binay.  Please read the entire article here

May 20, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , , | Leave a comment

Phillipine Gov’t retains OFW ban in 6 countries

MANILA, PhilippinesThe government is retaining the ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Nigeria, and Somalia, mainly because of the unstable and volatile security situation in these countries, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) groups in Afghanistan and Iraq earlier appealed to the government to lift the labor deployment ban.

But an interagency committee which periodically reviews the policy recommended against the lifting of the ban because of the unstable security situation in these war-torn countries.

According to DFA spokesman J. Eduardo Malaya, adequate terms of employment and the overall safety and security of OFWs cannot be assured in these countries, as required by the Migrant Workers Act, or Republic Act 8042.

The law mandates that the government adhere to strict guidelines in allowing the deployment of OFWs to other countries. It also imposes heavy penalties on government officials who allow the deployment of migrant workers without the guarantees required by law.

The committee, led by the DFA, also includes the Department of Labor and Employment, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

The DFA has yet to comment on reports that foreign civilian contractors in Afghanistan have started terminating Filipino workers in line with a September 17 order issued by the US Central Command (Centcom). Please read the entire story here

January 19, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘OFWs returning from Iraq won’t be punished’


MANILA, Philippines – Job offers, not sanctions, are waiting for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who violated the Philippine government’s deployment ban to Iraq.

This was the assurance made by Carmelita Dimzon, head of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), amid the US government’s order to its subcontractors in Iraq to repatriate Filipino workers.

“I don’t think punishing them or sanctioning them at this point will be done,” Dimzon said in an interview on ANC’s On The Scene on Tuesday.

She said that there are at least 8,000 to 10,000 Filipinos working for US military contractors and subcontractors in Iraq.

In a memorandum issued by the United States Central Command last July 20, Colonel Richard Nolan, senior contracting officer of the Iraq CentCom Contracting Command said: “All contractors in Iraq have 20 days from the date of this letter to ensure their employees comply with US and international law and understood their redeployment responsibilities under the term of their contract.”

The memo added: “It is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that it is not employing people from countries prohibited from entry to Iraq.”

August 3, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Iraq, KBR, LOGCAP, Private Military Contractors | , , , , | Leave a comment

10 OFW’s in Afghan Identified

10 OFW’s in Afghan Identified

MANILA, Philippines–(UPDATE) The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has confirmed the identities of the ten Filipino workers killed in the helicopter crash in Kandahar on July 19.

The employer of the Filipino workers, United States-based construction firm The AIM Group Inc., furnished the names to the DFA after their families have been informed of the incident.

The Filipinos on board the aircraft which malfunctioned during takeoff and plunged to the ground were:

* Celso Q. Caralde (born in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental)
* Ely I. Cariño (Cabusao, Camarines Sur)
* Ernesto C. De Vega (Naic, Cavite)
* Manolito C. Hornilla (Taysan, Batangas)
* Leopoldo G. Jimenez, Jr. (Lubao, Pampanga)
* Mark Joseph C. Mariano (Floridablanca, Pampanga)
* Marvin P. Najera (San Fernando, Pampanga)
* Rene D. Taboclaon (Cagayan de Oro City)
* Recardo E. Vallejos (Bislig, Surigao del Sur)
* Noli M. Visda (Lubao, Pampanga)

July 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment