San Fernando City, La Union -- Department of Labor and Employment
(DOLE) officials as well as Philippine Overseas and Employment
Administration (POEA) officers here in the locality are brushing off
fears and worries of possible layoffs or displacements of Overseas
Filipino Workers abroad in face of the present global financial turmoil.
According to Romeo Jaramilla, Senior Labor and Employment Officer,
POEA - Regional Center for Luzon, there is no reason for the public to
think of such idea because the situation is still normal, and those
OFWs who are coming home are "just on vacation".
In fact, these OFWs are coming to POEA to have their exit clearances
which they need in going back to the countries where they are
deployed, most of them are part of the "Balik Manggagawa" program.
"Actually, we haven't received any reports or indications of any
possible layoffs because of this global financial problem and more
applicants have come to apply because more employment opportunities
are seen especially in the Middle East," Jaramilla said.
He even added that POEA also announced that there is a great need or
demand for OFWs for deployment in Canada, though, he said that they
are not having any direct hiring on this but some agencies are the
ones handling the recruitment.
Based on the data given by POEA-RCL, their Balik Manggagawa program
has recorded a total of 1,329 OFWs who came home for vacation in July
and are now able to return to their countries of deployment; 1,266 in
August; and 900 in September.
Engineer Edwin Rivera, La Union Field Officer of DOLE-Region I said
that this coming November, they are planning to conduct a job fair
region-wide, which will be opened for both local and overseas job seekers.
DOLE Secretary Marianito Roque, in a press briefing with Press
Secretary Jesus Dureza, ensured that employment situation overseas
remains stable, and "as a matter of fact, Filipinos are now getting
new high-paying, high-value jobs," the official said.
Roque even added that they have signed an agreement with four
provinces in Canada - Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and
Saskatchewan for deployment of OFWs where "pay is relatively higher
compared to what the Filipinos in other parts of the world are enjoying."
Not only that, DOLE also sees Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and
France as potential markets that would be needing services of
Filipinos, particularly nurses, information technology (IT) personnel,
truck drivers, hotel personnel, and heavy equipment operators. (PIA La