[ Manila Bulletin Online ] January 22, 2009
By RAYMUND F. ANTONIO
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported yesterday that the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to various countries reached a new record high last year of 1,376,823.
POEA Administrator Jennifer Jardin Manalili said the latest figure surpassed the OFW deployment of 1,077,623 in 2007 by almost 300,000, an indication that overseas deployment of workers remains robust despite the global economic crisis.
She said the overseas employment record has been steadily increasing every year from 867,969 in 2003 to 933,588 in 2004 until the government set a new milestone of an all-time high of 1.3 million last year.
Data from POEA showed that some 89,799 Filipino workers left the country in December while several hundreds OFWs returned home in time for the Yuletide season celebration.
However, the number of OFWs whose contracts were processed by the POEA in the same period went down to 1,176,801 from 1.3 million in the previous year. New hires are higher than the rehires by 43,677.
From January to December last year, POEA approved 650,563 job orders with a balance of 389,014 for professionals, technical, administrative and clerical workers, sales and service workers.
Host countries with the most job orders were Saudi Arabia with 93,764; United Arab Emirates, 78,966; Qatar, 72,771; Kuwait, 36,568; Hong Kong, 26,592; and Taiwan, 24,159.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) reassured Filipino workers who lost their jobs in Taiwan due to the economic meltdown that they will get employment and livelihood assistance.
"Assistance would include helping them prepare a business plan, operate a business, and market their products while their case is being resolved at POEA," Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito Roque said.
He ordered the POEA to hold continuous hearings to expedite the resolution of the OFWs’ complaint against their recruitment agencies and Taiwanese employers while Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) was tasked to reimburse their airfare.
DoLE’s move to help the displaced OFWs came in the wake of a protest rally at the DoLE offices by OFWs together with Migrante and other groups, demanding for a refund of their placement fees and airfares.
DoLE has tied up with private companies in providing free entrepreneurial training for those displaced under the government’s contingency plan for OFWs affected by the global financial crisis.
Saudi Prince Khalid hails RP workers, says more will be hired By EDD K. USMAN
Saudi Prince Khalid Bin Al-Saudi Bin Khalid, deputy minister of foreign affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, hailed Tuesday the presence of about 1.3 million Filipino workers in his country.
The Saudi royal family member of the House of Saud said his country is also getting not just laborers, but also nurses and doctors.
The Prince said Saudi Ministry of Health officials are coming to the Philippines this year to hire nurses and doctors.
He praised Filipino workers and told Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita as the "greatest resources you have are your human resources."
Prince Khalid, who returns today to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, with other officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), visited the Philippines January 19 to 22 to lead the regional meeting of 55 Saudi ambassadors assigned in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia at the new building of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Makati City.
No details of the Monday and Tuesday meeting’s results was revealed, however, to the media.
Saudi ambassadors, consulate officials and those responsible for Saudi nationals abroad attended the meeting.
Right after his entrance at the fifth floor venue of Tuesday’s dinner reception and inauguration attended by high government officials, business leaders, local Muslim government functionaries, diplomats, and friends of embassy, the Prince struck an animated conversation with Ermita, Sen. Edgardo Angara, House Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr, House Deputy Speaker Simeon Datumanong, Manila Bulletin President Miguel V. Varela, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Sultan Kudarat Rep. Datu Pax Mangudadatu, Ambassador Amable Aguiluz III, Secretary Romulo Neri, Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, and many other guests.
Non-Saudi Ambassadors who attended were Malaysian Ambassador Dato Ahmad Rashidi Bin Hazizi, new Brunei Ambassador Malai Halimah Yussof, Pakistani Ambassador Muhammad Naeem Khan, Qatari Ambassador Abdullah Al-Mutawaa, among others.
Prince Khalid praised repeatedly the Filipino workers.
Ermita welcomed Prince Khalid’s coming to Manila.
"We told him that his visit will continue to enhance the relations between our countries," said Ermita.
"He (Prince Khalid) is very happy to tell us that he knows we have over a million Filipinos working in his country and that our greatest assets are our human resources," the executive secretary said.
Prince Khalid aired hopes that peace and tranquility would be achieved in Mindanao and that the government and Mindanaoans could solve their problem.
Saudi Ambassador Muhammad Ameen Wali told the Manila Bulletin earlier the regional meeting of the Saudi diplomats was held in the Philippines in recognition of the strong relations of Riyadh and Manila.
Wali said the Prince came precisely for the yearly meeting, last held in the Saudi capital, and also to lead the inauguration of the US million ( P942 million) new Saudi embassy building in Salcedo Village, Makati City.
"His Royal Highness Prince Khalid, our deputy minister of foreign affairs, visited the Philippines for the regional meeting of Saudi ambassadors and for the inauguration of our new embassy," said Wali.
"The visit and the meeting are signs of our strong relations with the Philippines," added the Saudi diplomat, who hosted the Tuesday affair.
An official of the Saudi foreign ministry traveling with the Prince, Director Amr Abdallah Allegheny, said during the affair that "Filipino workers are very good."
Allegheny, who loves "malling" in the Philippines, visited the SM’s Mall of Asia on and Glorietta Shopping Mall on Monday. He said he has a Filipino maid working for his family for six years now.
"Maria Theresa is now on vacation in the Philippines. She asked to extend her vacation for 15 days which I granted," said Allegheny.
Saudi Arabia is still the number one destination for OFWs which now total to 1.3 million, said Allegheny.
The Saudi government has expressed its desire to hire thousands of Filipino nurses.