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Monday, March 02, 2009

Gov’t holds forum with land-based, sea-based recruitment agencies

The government will hold an overseas employment forum in Malacanang on Monday (March 2) with the participation of over 150 land-based and sea-based recruitment agencies to fast track efforts in helping Filipino workers find jobs overseas especially those who lost their employment due to the global economic crisis, Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque today said.

Roque said the forum on overseas employment is part of national efforts in job generation and job preservation, which are being pursued intensively to cushion the impact of the economic downturn on the people.

He said President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo initiated the forum to hasten the placement and deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) including the displaced and unemployed who are seeking jobs abroad.

The Labor and Employment Secretary said the overseas employment forum complements an earlier presidential initiative, the Job Summit Joining Hands Against The Global Crisis," which drew together labor and management and other stakeholders in Malacanang last Feb. 9 to tackle measures aimed at cushioning the impact of the global crisis on the workers.

Two previous multi-sectoral consultations which were conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) including the conference with stakeholders in the agri-based industry also identified similar measures to help workers cope with the economic crunch.

“The DOLE is at the frontline in these initiatives as it strengthens its readiness to deliver services to the workers which include helping them find jobs whether locally or overseas,” Roque said.

He said that for the overseas employment forum, the DOLE mobilized and gained the support of the recruitment industry in the efforts to place the workers in productive jobs abroad.

He said the participants consisting of industry leaders and representatives of land-based and sea-based recruitment agencies helped the DOLE in identifying concerns and problems in the placement of OFWs for overseas employment during an earlier meeting held at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The DOLE Chief said the industry in particular identified measures and solutions on how to facilitate the deployment of OFWs, citing in particular the need to fill up overseas job orders for skilled workers and professionals that have so far accumulated with the POEA.

He said that at this early part of the year, POEA already has over 400,000 job orders that are waiting to be filled up by OFWs with appropriate skills.

Roque said the measures would be incorporated in a Communique expressing the industry’s commitment of support to job generation and preservation and the promotion of the welfare of OFWs, adding that the Communique would be presented to President Arroyo at the forum.

The measures include the industry’s commitment to help enhance the protective mechanisms for OFWs and collectively form a consortium in the setting up of more training centers to meet the need of training workers in skills highly in demand abroad.

The industry shall also collaborate with POEA in the conduct of marketing missions to intensify the search for overseas jobs in emerging markets and regions that are not affected by the crisis.
At the same time, POEA and DOLE shall review and streamline recruitment policies and procedures, facilitate the conduct of onsite recruitment of displaced OFWs including those with finished contracts, and improve the private sector’s access to the online registry of skills to facilitate skills and jobs matching.

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