Migrante: Change Labor Export Policy

Manila Bulletin, June 3, 2011 | Go to article overview

Migrante: Change Labor Export Policy


MANILA, Philippines - In light of developments that may displace some 350,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia, a migrant welfare group Friday said that it is high time for the Philippine government to "decisively deviate from its labor export policy and instead focus on creating decent and sustainable" local jobs.Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez said that government agencies could not just brush aside reports, noting that the Philippine economy "is so dependent on labor-export and the influx of OFW remittances that it cannot simply just brush aside the loss of revenue from at least 350,000 OFWs.""We view statements from concerned government agencies stating that they are unworried and unperturbed as plain empty bravado," Martinez said."No domestic jobs are available for them as we already have at least 12 million in the unemployed work force. The government's recourse is to once again seek markets for them abroad despite the ongoing global financial crisis that continues to displace thousands and thousands of our OFWs. It's a never-ending vicious cycle, when does it end?" Martinez said.Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, however, said that steps are being taken to iron out issues affecting OFWs in Saudi Arabia, including the proposed six-year limit for foreign workers in the oil-rich Kingdom.Binay said he met with officials of the Departments of Labor and Employment and Foreign Affairs last Thursday to discuss the issues."(Labor) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, upon the invitation of the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will hold bilateral talks with her counterpart in the Ministry of Labor of the kingdom. We've been looking forward for this to happen," Binay said in an interview though he did not give details about the planned meeting between Philippine and Saudi labor officials. …

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