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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Government Points to Prospective Rise in Demand for OFWs in Algeria




The demand for overseas Filipino workers in Algeria is expected to increase substantially due to the preference for OFW skills and expertise among several global companies engaged in massive infrastructure, energy, agriculture and other ongoing development projects in that country, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today bared.


Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque  has cited a report of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) based in Tripoli, Libya that as a result of the firms' prospective demand for skilled Filipinos, the stock estimate of OFWs in Algeria is projected to go up substantially in the future.


The Labor and Employment Chief quoted the POLO in Libya, which exercises jurisdiction over the OFWs in neighboring economies like Algeria, that the impressive economic developments in Algeria are complemented by the successful reduction of its external debt to the Paris and London Clubs, the strength of its oil and gas sectors, as well as the construction of flourishing new cities in the desert. 


"In the light of the host country's impressive thrusts, the globally preferred OFWs would continue to affirm their productive contributions and are poised to increase their presence in the area substantially into the future." 


Roque had been apprised of the productive prospects for OFWs in Algeria following a recent mission conducted by Labor Attache Nasser S. Mustafa, who heads the POLO in Tripoli, to that growing economy.  As a result of the mission, Mustafa reported that there are three global companies, currently engaged in massive Algerian development projects,that would prospectively need some 7,050 OFWs. He identified the three firms as Daewoo E&C of Korea, the COJAAL consortium of Japan, and SNC Lavalin of Canada. Prospectively, their demand, as it materializes, could eventually raise the total OFW stock estimate in that country from the current 2,697.


Mustafa emphasized that despite the nationalization policy of Algeria, the workers from the Philippines remain preferred for their skills and are likely to be considered in that country's thrust to build new cities for its growing population and economy.  He said that in this light, the OFWs are appreciated for having significantly contributed, through their expertise and skills, to the development of Algeria under the projects successfully undertaken by the said companies in the past.


Mustafa  said that Daewoo E&C alone would progressively need OFWs, mainly professional and skilled workers like engineers, electricians, pipe fitters, welders, carpenters, masons and others for a prospective US$569.3 million project during the construction of the new Algerian oasis city of Bourghezoul, in the vast agricultural region of Medea Wilaya, over a three-year period. All-in-all, the company could prospectively require OFWs for prospective projects involved in building the new city (1,500 OFWs) and its adjunct irrigation (300) and underground works (700), as well as a fertilizer plant (1,500) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) undertakings (1,500) both in the French-built city of Oran, Algeria, and a post project in Shengin (150).


Meanwhile, the Japanese consortium of COJAAL, Mustafa indicated, would need p600 OFWs for asphalting road and related infrastructure projects in Constantine and Annaba, Algeria. COJAAL, which includes the firms Kajima, Taichi, Nishimachu, Hajama, and Itochu, currently has an existing OFW stock estimate of 2,150.


Finally, Mustafa said that SNC Lavalin of Canada, already well-known for its massive renovation of the Benghazi International Airport in Libya, had signified its intention to deploy another 800 OFWs for the construction of a water dam in Wilaya Blida, on top of the 300 previously deployed in the Algerian government project.


Mustafa emphasized that as the demand for the OFWs continues to brighten in the area, the proper verification processes through the POLO and standard procedures under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will be adhered to ensure the welfare of our workers, and complement the impressive rise of Algeria, despite the global crisis, as one of the best potential alternative niches for OFWs.  

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