The ongoing oil price failure may have led to displacement of some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) but the Philippine government assures that they will help those who return home for good.
According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), they have prepared progams to allow OFWs to choose between local employment or livelihood opportunities.
Rosalinda Baldoz, DOLE secretary, said that they have sufficient funds for repatriation and other types of assistance for those who will be directly affected by the oil crisis. She further explained that DOLE is working closely with private companies (including Coca Cola FEMSA Philippines) to come up with programs and initiatives that will perfectly match the skills and qualifications of returning OFWs. This will include employment matching, livelihood enhancement, as well as business and technical training.
“This agreement indicates that convergence with the private sector is important. Partnerships in laying down concrete programs and services for returning overseas Filipino workers who intend to be locally employed or to set up their own livelihoods, or to enhance their knowledge and skills through technical training, could produce positive results and great impact.”
Baldoz believes that OFWs should have plenty of opportunities for employment and livelihood in order to consider staying in the country for good.
She later added:
“We just have to pin down which of our respective programs can be identified as possible areas of collaboration, develop OFW-tailored programs and services and direct these to OFWs for their own choosing.”
Rebeca Calzado, chief of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), said that DOLE and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) should consistently monitor the situation in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries.
“In case there will be displacement, the affected workers cannot return immediately because they will have to process their exit visas which will take some time. So, we are already discussing possible assistance the government will have to provide while they are still abroad,” remarked Calzado.