The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) cried foul over reports that majority of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in strife-torn countries had refused to come home because no local jobs are available for them.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Tuesday explained that “higher paycheck” is the “probable reason” why many Filipinos choose to work abroad.
“There are local jobs for OFW repatriates, and it is unfair to say the OFWs in crisis-stricken countries “refuse” to come home because there are no local jobs available,” Baldoz said in a statement.
“They endure the risks of working abroad because of higher paychecks,” she added.
The Labor chief pointed out that most workers who go abroad have jobs in the country before they decided to look for a greener pastures “because experience-wise, only those with at least two years of experience get to work overseas.”
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose earlier said only around “800 plus” of more than 13, 000 OFWs from the strife-torn countries were sent back to Manila, while another 200 at the embassy in Tripoli are awaiting for repatriation.
The reports claimed that many Filipinos prefer working overseas despite security threats over coming home with no assurance of landing a better job after their return.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Manila and chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, also earlier called on the government to immediately provide jobs to repatriated OFWs from war-torn areas.
Baldoz said there are 979 construction and engineering-related job vacancies posted on the government website.
Of the total job vacancies, 854 or 87 percent, according to her, are local ones, while 125 or 13 percent are overseas slots.
“These are only for engineering jobs. The BLE [Bureau of Local Employment] is still collating the job vacancies for medical and other professional workers,” she said.
For overseas positions, the Phil-Jobnet database reveals that employment for construction and engineering-related professions are available in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Malaysia.
In Singapore, the vacancies are for 50 civil engineers and 30 engineering aides.
“We have many job opportunities for our OFWs here. Opportunities that will help them move forward in life, and aside from giving a boost to our local economy, they will be with their loved ones here,” Baldoz said.