Philippines halts deployment of workers in Nigeria over bombings

29 December, Sweetcrude, MANILA – The recent spate of bombings in Nigeria has prompted the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs to halt its recent recommendation to lift a ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers in the West African country from January 1.

Foreign Affairs Secretary, Albert F. Del Rosario, has requested Labour Secretary, Rosalinda Baldoz, for a 90-day deferment of the lifting of the deployment ban, after deadly Christmas Day bombings in Nigeria.

“We are requesting the DOLE to put on hold our own recommendation for the lifting of the deployment ban in view of the present situation in Nigeria,” Secretary Del Rosario said in a statement.

On Christmas Day, several Christian churches in the northern part of the country were bombed by Islamic extremists, killing more than 50. The al-Qaeda-linked Boko Haram was reportedly behind the attacks.

Last week, the DFA recommended the lifting of the deployment ban to Nigeria, effective January 1, 2012, due to the improved security situation. It noted there have been no kidnapping incidents in Nigeria recently.

“The Philippines is convinced that the security situation in Nigeria will soon improve to allow us to again send Filipino workers there,” Del Rosario earlier said.

Del Rosario also noted there are some 5,000 jobs in the oil, gas and construction industries for OFWs in Nigeria.

The Philippines imposed a ban on the deployment of Filipino workers in Nigeria in reaction to the series of kidnapping of Filipino seafarers in the Niger Delta from 2006 to 2009.

Based on DFA estimates, there are 7,240 Filipinos in Nigeria, mostly professionals and Filipino nationals married to Nigerians.

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