Ministry of Foreign Affairs asks to lower alert level 4 and lift travel ban on Myanmar

Ministry of Foreign Affairs asks to lower alert level 4 and lift travel ban on Myanmar

By: Daphne Galvez
1 year ago

Myanmar map.Image via Google Maps

MANILA, Philippines – A group of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and expatriates have called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to lower Alert Level 4 and lift the travel ban on Myanmar, allowing them to return to the Southeast Asian country.

Edwin Tobias, designated advisor to the Filipino community in Myanmar, wrote in a June 6 letter to Teodoro Locsin Jr., secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that due to COVID-19 Due to the pandemic, some OFWs were forced to return to the Philippines, while some chose to stay in Myanmar. obtained a copy of the letter on Wednesday.

Tobias said some people who returned to the Philippines but failed to find jobs sufficient to support their families were unable to return to Myanmar due to the travel ban.

On the other hand, those who remained in Myanmar have not been able to see their families for more than two years, causing them to miss out on important family occasions and traditions, he added.

The group noted that since April this year, Myanmar has opened its borders to business travellers, and other foreign workers have returned, albeit slowly, to Yangon and key areas outside Yangon.

They also noted that in Yangon, international, private and public schools have resumed face-to-face classes, and banks, hospitals and transportation have resumed normal operations.

“Feeling the impact of the epidemic and the economic situation, companies have repeatedly reiterated their request for overseas Filipino workers to return to work in Myanmar, otherwise they will lose their jobs and sources of income,” the letter read.

The group said the companies had written to reiterate the need for OFWs to return to work, “otherwise investors will be forced to replace them.”

“Most of the OFWs here are skilled workers, teachers, engineers, creatives, managers and executives of well-known organizations. We know that as an OFW, we also contribute a lot to the improvement of the Philippine economy ,” Tobias said in a letter to the Philippine foreign secretary.

According to the letter, a total of 165 OFWs, including Myanmar (108) and the Philippines (57), signed the petition calling for the lifting of the travel ban and lowering the Southeast Asian country’s Level 4 alert level, including signer Jomar Joemar Ubina. nation.

“Inquiry Network” also learned that as early as November last year, this group of overseas Filipino workers had already sent a letter of complaint to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

But that claim was denied, Tobias told reporters in a phone interview.

“We hope for the best and pray that our case, our appeal, our petition will eventually be granted and maybe even positively responded to,” Tobias said.

In June 2021, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration issued a temporary ban on sending new employees to Myanmar.

The following month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs raised Myanmar’s alert level to level 4 in light of the worsening COVID-19 situation in Myanmar.

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