By Catherine S. Valente Reporter
The government is looking at alternative markets that can absorb overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Taiwan, a Palace official said on Friday.
In a press briefing, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that the government, through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), is now preparing for “contingencies” for Filipinos workers who may be displaced or may wish to leave Taipei amid tensions over the death of a Taiwanese fisherman last week.
The DOLE, Valte said, is looking at South Korea, the Middle East and Malaysia as alternative deployment markets for OFWs.
She cited that 72 percent of the OFWs in Taiwan are in the manufacturing sector.
“If you recall, this is not the first time that we’ve dealt with this sort of sanction and the Labor Department has been looking into alternative markets,” she said
“So in light of what has happened, the Labor Department has deemed it fit to look into other alternative markets that are capable of absorbing the number of OFWs who may wish to come back or may have to leave their places of employment,” she added.
There are about 80,000 OFWs in Taiwan.
Based on DOLE figures, out of an estimated 85,185 OFWs in Taiwan, 72 percent are in the manufacturing sector/factories; 26 percent in personal/social services and two percent in the fisheries sector.
Taipei has imposed sanctions on the Philippines over the death of fisherman Hung Shih-Chen, who was killed by the Philippine Coast Guard in an incident in the Balintang Channel.
The sanctions included a ban on the hiring of new workers, a travel alert urging Taiwanese nationals not to visit the Philippines and the suspension of exchanges between high-level officials, trade and academic affairs.
Valte said the freeze hiring order on Filipino workers in Taiwan is being addressed by the Philippine government.