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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     3 November  2011

Philippines bans OSWs from 41 countries

The Philippines said Wednesday it had banned Filipinos from traveling to work in 41 countries and territories that had allegedly failed to provide enough safeguards to protect them from abuse.

The Department of Labour and Employment in a board resolution posted on its website said the blacklisted countries failed to sign international conventions protecting foreign workers.

Neither have these countries signed bilateral agreements with the Philippines "on the protection of the rights of overseas Filipino workers," the resolution said.

They also do not have their own laws protecting foreign workers, the resolution added.

Included in the list were strife-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Sudan, Chad and Pakistan.

It was not clear how the deployment ban could affect the country's economy. The labour minister was not immediately available to comment when contacted by AFP.

There are an estimated 9 million Filipino overseas workers, or about 10 per cent of the country's population, official statistics show.

Many of them work as maids, labourers or seamen in areas where they are vulnerable to abuse although many Filipinos also work in higher positions in Western nations.

Their dollar remittances have traditionally kept the Philippine economy afloat, although reports of abuse are common.

While Manila has in the past banned deployment to some areas locked in conflict, many Filipinos still leave through illegal means rather than take low-paying jobs at home.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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