OFW Demand Stabilizes Philippine Economy

By: Kathleen Yu

Manpower resources are one of the Philippines’ greatest exports. Presently, over eleven percent of the population are employed as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Filipino communities are found in almost every industrialized nation in the world. The OFW diaspora regularly injects dollars into the economy in the form of remittances from Filipino professionals working abroad sending money home to their families. This has assisted the Philippine government immensely, and kept the local economy afloat.

There are over 8 million registered Filipinos working abroad with the United States alone employing over 3 million Filipino migrants. Despite the global recession, Filipino professionals working in the US remitted over $17.3 billion in the last year alone, an estimated 5.6% increase from the 2008 figures. Saudi Arabia employs over 900,000 OFWs and the numbers are growing.

Overseas Filipino Workers are appropriately termed “modern day heroes” because of the sacrifices they make in leaving their families to work abroad. Most of them are blue collar workers, employed in jobs like caregiving, nursing and housekeeping.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is a government agency that monitors and assists OFWs working abroad. OFWs are required to register with the POEA, while in the process of applying for working visas and other permits to go abroad. The POEA is also tasked with registering and monitoring recruitment agencies in the Philippines to ensure that no OFWs are led into forced labor, and other forms of abuse.

According to corporate lawyer Amanda Carpo, legal counsel of Makati-based firm Kittelson and Carpo Consulting, “The number of overseas recruitment agencies setting up operations in the Philippines is growing at an exorbitant rate. This is primarily because OFWs are considered a global commodity. Higher salaries and superior living conditions have lured a large number of OFWs abroad, and more and more Filipinos are following in their footsteps. This bodes well for the Philippine economy, which can only stand to gain from an increase in OFW remittances.”

On the other hand, as the Philippines undergoes a change in government and the job market abroad gets continually more competitive the question arises as to whether or not Filipinos will continue to venture abroad, in search of greener pastures. With such a competitive overseas job market, OFWs may be returning home to the Philippines making for highly-skilled overseas trained employees. The Philippine government should be prepared to respond to these scenarios and to support the OFWs who have been and continue to be a positive force in the economy.

RP eyes OFW protection in Israel with honorary consul

OFWs Israel

OFWs Israel

The Philippine government expects to ensure more protection for overseas Filipino workers in Israel following the appointment of a prominent lawyer as new honorary consul general there.

Boaz Waksman was sworn in to office as the Philippine Honorary Consul in Ashdod with consular jurisdiction over Southern Israel last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

“Mr. Waksman, a prominent and practicing lawyer, is engaged in the tourism industry for the past 30 years. He owns and operates Ophir Tours Limited, one of Israel’s leading tourism companies with at least 24 branches in all of Israel,” the DFA said.

Citing a report from the Philippine Embassy in Tel-Aviv, the DFA said Waksman’s assumption of office took place after the Israeli Foreign Ministry gave its consent to his appointment.

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OFWs in KSA warned of new immigration rule

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Saudi Arabia have been warned of a new immigration rule blacklisting foreign workers that are reported by their employers to have run away.

Welfare Officer Romualdo Exmundo of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah said the new policy makes runaway workers more vulnerable to deportation, which means they no longer have any chance of returning to Saudi Arabia to work.

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Crisis leaves bleak future for Pinoy migrants

Temporary or undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFW) would bear the brunt of the global economic crisis, a global labor group said Wednesday.

In a report, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said migrant workers in Asia would be faced with much lower demand, particularly in sectors of construction, finance, and trade-related industries such as export manufacturing and shipping.

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Manilyn pays tribute to all moms with ‘Pasensiya Na’

AFTER years of hiatus in singing, Manilyn Reynes is back to inspire and honor all working mothers around the world.

Manilyn recently released her latest single dubbed “Pasensiya Na” which is a composition dedicated to every working mother, especially those abroad.

“It’s (single) a lullaby for all the children of very hard working mothers here and abroad… especially OFWs (overseas Filipino workers). A mother apologizing to her kids – why she can’t do the things a mother should do to and for her children,” she shared.

As a mother, Manilyn said she admires OFWs who choose to be away to provide food for their families. Through her song, she hopes to convey the braveness and sacrifices of OFWs to everyone.

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23,485 job losses traced to crisis

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 23,485 Filipinos here and abroad have lost their jobs as a direct result of the global financial crisis, the Department of Labor and Employment said Tuesday.

Since the crisis started taking its toll in October, 19,443 workers have lost jobs in the Philippines and 4,042 overseas, department spokesman Jay Julian said.

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