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Thursday, September 10, 2009

2 senior Guam senators visit Manila; offer 20,000 jobs for OFWs



A top level Guam Senate team visited the country last week to finalize details on the hiring of 20,000 Filipino skilled workers for the construction of military headquarters in Guam beginning July 2010, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said.

Guam Senators Judith P. Guthertz and Rory J. Respicio held high level talks with Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque and Administrators Jennifer Manalili of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Carmelita Dimzon of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). The two legislators also met with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Augusto Syjuco.

Guthertz chairs the Guam legislature's committee on Guam U.S. military buildup. She is also Guam's homeland security assistant majority leader. Respicio chairs the Guam legislature committee on rules, natural resources, federal foreign and Micronesia affairs majority leader.

Roque said the visit of the Guam delegation to the country indicated Guam's preference and intent to hire OFWs to meet its manpower requirements for the relocation and construction of U.S. military facilities from Okinawa to Guam in the next five years.

He said military construction in Guam is scheduled to start in July 2010, which means that hiring and deployment of OFWs to Guam could be simultaneous as construction begins or could even be earlier than July next year.

He said Guam would initially need engineers, architects, allied professionals, and skilled construction workers. But as military buildup continues coupled with the relocation of more military personnel and their families from Okinawa to Guam, it is envisioned that this island U.S territory may also hire OFWs in the service and healthcare sectors.

In view of the bright prospects for OFWs in Guam, Roque said the DOLE and POEA have specified an action agenda for the deployment of OFWs to Guam. On top of the agenda are the adoption of a standard employment contract and the setting up of guidelines on the deployment of Guam-bound OFWs.

POEA is expected to come up with the standard contract and deployment guidelines before the year ends, in accordance with U.S. laws which include the U.S. H2B rule prohibiting the charging of recruitment fee from foreign workers.

Roque said OFWs wanting to work in Guam should be wary of recruiters who may charge them fees, which is a violation of U.S. laws. He reiterated his calls on OFWs to check first with POEA the veracity of overseas job offers and to report to the authorities recruiters charging prohibitive recruitment fees.

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