• Melo Acuna

More OFWs may lose their jobs

Possibility of 700k overseas Filipino workers to be hit by COVID-19 looms

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment today said 500,000 overseas Filipinos have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as of today.

Speaking at the release of the July 2020 Labor Force Survey attended by the country’s Economic Managers led by Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendric Chua, Department of Labor and Employment Asst. Secretary Dominique R. Tutay said if the trend continues, about 200,000 more overseas Filipinos stand to lose job by year-end.

She explained there exists a high demand for healthcare workers from doctors to nurses, radiologists, psychologists and occupational therapists in Europe.

“Informational Technology and related skills are in demand in Europe and the United States while construction workers are in demand in Guam,” Asst. Secretary Tutay said.

She also called on repatriated overseas Filipinos to consider going into business through the grants and loans the government extends.

“There have been success stories about overseas workers who have become entrepreneurs,” she added.

However, she said they see a decline in workers in the tourism, retail and personal services while countries of destination “will reserve work for their own nationals.”

In the Philippines, Ms. Tutay said there’s a big demand for health care workers from doctors and nurses as well as Information-Communication Technology and business process management sectors which may accommodate repatriated overseas Filipinos.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, in its update as of August 29,2020 reported 153,124 have returned home since the last week of February this year when COVID-19 pandemic began to impact on the world’s economy.

Asst. Secretary Tutay took the opportunity to explain that with employment opportunities for nurses and other healthcare workers abroad remain, they are not depriving Filipino health professionals of their privilege to seek employment elsewhere but the government underscores everyone’s safety as COVID-19 is a public health concern.

“We have to balance the national interest by protecting our workers from harm and our support for the global health care system,” Asst. Secretary Tutay explained.

Meanwhile, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila, Jr. said the latest figures showed a positive development as personal remittances had a 7.6% increase year-on-year with US$2.7 billion in June 2020 from US$2.5 billion in June 2019 after a steady decline for three consecutive months.

Deputy Governor Dakila said there was a strong recovery of 14.2 percent increase from land-based workers but remittances from sea-based workers fell by 13.1%.

He pointed out that on year to date showed a decline of 4.2% in personal remittances as of June and a recovery from 6.4% from year to date as of May 2020.

The BSP official said they have projected a decline of 5% in personal remittances for the year but sees a recovery of about 4% in line with the long-run trend for remittances next year.

However, Deputy Governor Dakila said they at the BSP see a partial recovery next year. (Melo M. Acuña)

DOLE Asst. Secretary Dominique R. Tutay and BSP Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila. (Screen grab from NEDA/Rappler)

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