February 12, 2018
The Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a non-government organization that assists distressed overseas Filipino workers, stressed the need for the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to work closely with the private sector in offering jobs to repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“There has to be a focused and relentless effort on the part of the labor department to assist workers affected by the deployment ban in Kuwait,” Jerome Alcantara, executive director of the Ople Center said.
At the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel, Alcantara cited the need for the POEA and recruitment agencies to determine the names and qualifications of job applicants bound for Kuwait.
“These job applicants who were only waiting for the visas to be issued or medical tests to be completed prior to the announcement of a total ban on Kuwait should be given access to jobs in other countries or here at home,” Alcantara said.
He noted that some of these job applicants have relocated to Metro Manila while waiting for their eventual deployment, and have incurred expenses.
The Ople Center also urged the government to open apprenticeship programs where repatriated OFWs including household service workers can be absorbed by the private sector and gain skills in the process as apprentices.
“A six-month apprenticeship program could open the doors to repatriated domestic workers to find local and sustainable employment. Incentives can be provided to companies who volunteer to take in these returning domestic workers so that they can develop new skills and the confidence to apply for better jobs,” Alcantara said.
He noted that the government’s reintegration program consists more of small-scale livelihood grants rather than the honing of new skills that could lead to sustainable jobs and incomes.
“For the reintegration program for OFWs to take off, the private sector has to be involved otherwise the assistance to be given will be on a first-time, one-time basis,” the Ople Center said.