MANILA, DECEMBER 24, 2012 (STANDARD) By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan - There are at least 600 Filipinos working in US bases in Iraq who could not go home for Christmas because of the deployment ban, a recruitment expert said on Friday.

Recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani said that the 600 Filipino workers in Iraq expressed fear they could no longer return to their job.

“[These] 600 Filipinos are facing a bleak Christmas and New Year since they are virtually prisoners inside the US bases since the Philippine government refuses to lift the {deployment) ban,” he said.

Geslani said that the workers have sought the partial lifting of the ban before the Department of Foreign Affair (DFA) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

But so far, Geslani said the “DFA has been dragging its feet on this matter”.

Due to the deployment ban, the Iraqi government refuses to issue visas for Filipinos, thus preventing them from going out of the camp.

“As they will be imprisoned in case they move out of the base to go to Baghdad or cities near their jobsite,” Geslani said.

The Philippines continues to observe a deployment ban to Iraq as tensions resumed after the withdrawal of American troops in December last year.

Around 4,000 Filipinos worked in Iraq after the US kept its bases there. When the Americans left, some Filipinos stayed behind to work for foreign contractors.

On September 2011, the POEA governing board allowed a partial lifting of the deployment ban for workers inside US facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“This resulted in 6,000 Filipinos from Afghanistan and 2,000 from Iraq to come home in the Philippines and return to their job sites.

But in February this year, the DFA raised alert level 3 over Iraq which ordered the evacuation or repatriation of all Filipinos living or working in Iraq.

The POEA imposed a total deployment ban to Iraq following the withdrawal of US military forces.

New jobs for nurses opened By Gigi Munoz-David | Posted on Dec. 17, 2012 at 12:01am

American health insurance companies considered it cost-effective to “offshore” their clinical services, creating a new demand in the Philippines for US-licensed Filipino nurses, House Deputy Majority Leader Roman Romulo said on Sunday.

Romulo, a key congressional backer of the thriving business process outsourcing industry, said the pay is not being as good as nurses working in the US, but higher than the average call center employee.

“There is a new demand here for Filipino nurses with active US licenses. The demand is being created by US health insurers that have increasingly found it more cost-effective to offshore their clinical services here,” he said.

The clinical services include pre-servicing in which a nurse helps evaluate the patient’s needs and ascertain treatment, and review of patient’s post-discharge care requirements.

To get a US license, Filipino nurse must pass the NCLEX or the National Council Licensure Examination, which is administered by the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing. In the Philippines, the test has been administered since 2007 by the Pearson Professional Center in Makati City.

Romulo urged nurses to take the test so they can obtain a US license and seek employment at the back offices here of US health insurers.

He said at least three companies—Radiant Services, Exelservice Holdings, and United Health Group—have been employing Filipino nurses with US licenses.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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