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Filipino migrant workers remain in demand despite global econ. slowdown

Business2017-09-07

By APD writer Melo M. Acuna MANILA, Sep 7 (APD) – Skilled and professional Filipino workers will remain in demand abroad despite a global economic slowdown. Speaking at the weekly Tapatan sa Aristocrat media forum, International Organization for Migration program officer Ricardo Casco said growth in remittances as reported by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas remains encouraging. The government reported US$ 15.4 billion in remittances from January 1 to June 30,2017 which was higher than the projected 5.5 percent for the same period last year. Despite the growing demand for Filipino workers, the government through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration has lined-up programs for former expatriates who wish to stay in the Philippines for good. Balik-Pilipinas, Balik-Hanapbuhay program is for returning distressed workers. OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said returning overseas workers were extended a one-time P 10,000 non-cash benefit grant. “Some two months ago, the OWWA Board chaired by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III increased the benefit to P 20,000 cash livelihood program,” Cacdac told media practitioners at the forum. He added from 3,388 beneficiaries in 2016, it has increased to 6,009 for the first semester of 2017. Administrator Cacdac said they have also entered into an enterprise development project with government-owned LandBank of the Philippines with a loanable amount from P100,000 to P 2 million with an interest rate of 7.5% per annum or less than 1 percent for every month. A collateral is required of former overseas workers who want to venture into poultry or livestock industry. Microlending will soon be introduced to address the capital requirements of returning Filipino workers. The amount would be from P 50,000 to P 300,000. Mr. Cacdac said his office has a standing fund of P 19.4 billion despite their additional benefits in scholarship and livelihood programs. “This year, we have P 400 million from the 2017 General Appropriations Act of the national government and will be further increased to P 900 million next year,” Mr. Cacdac added. Incidentally, Atty. Maria Roseny B. Fangco, acting director of the Department of Foreign Affair’s Office of Migrant Workers Affairs said they have already repatriated some 8,000 distressed workers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She added they have enough resources under the Assistance To Nationals fund for repatriation from countries armed conflict exists. The office has also spent some of their resources for the shipment of remains of Filipino workers who perished in the workplace. She did not release exact figures. “We also monitor significant events worldwide,” Atty. Fangco added. She explained they have also coordinated with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to study the impact of lower petroleum prices. With the recent nuclear tests in North Korea, Atty. Fangco said while there is no alert level declared in South Korea which may require immediate repatriation, she said they have standard operating procedures to observe should the situation further deteriorates. IOM’s Officer Casco said they have already worked with Philippine government officials to enhance the Migration Crisis Management by developing tools to assist workers who have been forced to return to the country due to war, pandemic, crackdown on illegal migrants, terrorism. “Despite the fact a significant number of Filipino workers have gone home, the world market still prefers Filipinos at the worst of times,” Casco added. However, he said President Duterte’s program to develop industries in the country augurs well with the ten-point agenda, both the government, private sector and workers need to create a much better business environment climate. “While the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and International Monetary Fund share the same projections about the Philippines’ growth, reintegration should be given due consideration,” he explained. In 2012, foreign remittances represented 6.5 percent of the country’s Gross National Income (GNI) and 8.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Ms. Janette De Guzman Alberto, a nephrology nurse from New Jersey from 1993 said Filipino nurses have an advantage over other nationalities because of the training they have undergone in the Philippines. However, she believes she will remain in the United States of America because it is where her family resides. “We have been trained in the Philippines to care for our patients,” she said and the appropriate skills given them due advantage over other migrant health professionals. Mr. Leonardo Servidor, an official of Apostleship of the Sea, a faith-based civil society organization said more Filipinos are employed in cruise ships. He is optimistic international protocols would be further observed to keep the demand for sea-based Filipino workers. Even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas projects a stable demand for skilled Filipino workers as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration processed contracts and deployed some 1,140,226 workers from January to June 2017. The figure represents more than 50 percent of the total number of workers deployed last year which stood at 2,122,331. It was also reported the bulk of remittances come from the United States of America, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Japan, United Kingdom, Qatar, Kuwait, Germany and Hong Kong. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported foreign remittances have grown from US$ 23.8 billion in 2012 to US$ 29.7 billion in 2016 despite the global economic slowdown, armed conflict and terrorism related violence. (ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

By APD writer Melo M. Acuna

MANILA, Sep 7 (APD) – Skilled and professional Filipino workers will remain in demand abroad despite a global economic slowdown.

Speaking at the weekly Tapatan sa Aristocrat media forum, International Organization for Migration program officer Ricardo Casco said growth in remittances as reported by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas remains encouraging.

The government reported US$ 15.4 billion in remittances from January 1 to June 30,2017 which was higher than the projected 5.5 percent for the same period last year.

Despite the growing demand for Filipino workers, the government through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration has lined-up programs for former expatriates who wish to stay in the Philippines for good. Balik-Pilipinas, Balik-Hanapbuhay program is for returning distressed workers.

OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said returning overseas workers were extended a one-time P 10,000 non-cash benefit grant.

“Some two months ago, the OWWA Board chaired by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III increased the benefit to P 20,000 cash livelihood program,” Cacdac told media practitioners at the forum. He added from 3,388 beneficiaries in 2016, it has increased to 6,009 for the first semester of 2017.

Administrator Cacdac said they have also entered into an enterprise development project with government-owned LandBank of the Philippines with a loanable amount from P100,000 to P 2 million with an interest rate of 7.5% per annum or less than 1 percent for every month. A collateral is required of former overseas workers who want to venture into poultry or livestock industry.

Microlending will soon be introduced to address the capital requirements of returning Filipino workers. The amount would be from P 50,000 to P 300,000.

Mr. Cacdac said his office has a standing fund of P 19.4 billion despite their additional benefits in scholarship and livelihood programs.

“This year, we have P 400 million from the 2017 General Appropriations Act of the national government and will be further increased to P 900 million next year,” Mr. Cacdac added.

Incidentally, Atty. Maria Roseny B. Fangco, acting director of the Department of Foreign Affair’s Office of Migrant Workers Affairs said they have already repatriated some 8,000 distressed workers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

She added they have enough resources under the Assistance To Nationals fund for repatriation from countries armed conflict exists. The office has also spent some of their resources for the shipment of remains of Filipino workers who perished in the workplace. She did not release exact figures.

“We also monitor significant events worldwide,” Atty. Fangco added. She explained they have also coordinated with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to study the impact of lower petroleum prices.

With the recent nuclear tests in North Korea, Atty. Fangco said while there is no alert level declared in South Korea which may require immediate repatriation, she said they have standard operating procedures to observe should the situation further deteriorates.

IOM’s Officer Casco said they have already worked with Philippine government officials to enhance the Migration Crisis Management by developing tools to assist workers who have been forced to return to the country due to war, pandemic, crackdown on illegal migrants, terrorism.

“Despite the fact a significant number of Filipino workers have gone home, the world market still prefers Filipinos at the worst of times,” Casco added.

However, he said President Duterte’s program to develop industries in the country augurs well with the ten-point agenda, both the government, private sector and workers need to create a much better business environment climate.

“While the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and International Monetary Fund share the same projections about the Philippines’ growth, reintegration should be given due consideration,” he explained.

In 2012, foreign remittances represented 6.5 percent of the country’s Gross National Income (GNI) and 8.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Ms. Janette De Guzman Alberto, a nephrology nurse from New Jersey from 1993 said Filipino nurses have an advantage over other nationalities because of the training they have undergone in the Philippines. However, she believes she will remain in the United States of America because it is where her family resides.

“We have been trained in the Philippines to care for our patients,” she said and the appropriate skills given them due advantage over other migrant health professionals.

Mr. Leonardo Servidor, an official of Apostleship of the Sea, a faith-based civil society organization said more Filipinos are employed in cruise ships. He is optimistic international protocols would be further observed to keep the demand for sea-based Filipino workers.

Even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas projects a stable demand for skilled Filipino workers as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration processed contracts and deployed some 1,140,226 workers from January to June 2017.

The figure represents more than 50 percent of the total number of workers deployed last year which stood at 2,122,331.

It was also reported the bulk of remittances come from the United States of America, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Japan, United Kingdom, Qatar, Kuwait, Germany and Hong Kong.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported foreign remittances have grown from US$ 23.8 billion in 2012 to US$ 29.7 billion in 2016 despite the global economic slowdown, armed conflict and terrorism related violence.

(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

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