354 distressed OFWs from Saudi Arabia set to arrive in PHL – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020   •   630

MANILA, Philippines – Some 354 distressed overseas Filipino workers repatriated from Saudi Arabia are set to arrive in the country on Wednesday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the group of repatriated Filipinos is expected to land in Manila on Wednesday afternoon onboard a chartered flight.

In a report to Bello, Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa said majority of the passengers are distressed OFWs from Philippine Overseas Labor Office’s Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh, and from temporary shelters maintained by the POLOs in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia.

Also included in the flight are 12 workers from Jussur Emdad, 45 workers from Arkad Co., as well as 14 OFWs previously employed by Abdullah Aldossary, Azmeel Contracting Co., Rakan Trading, which are all based in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia.

These OFWs joined a number of OFWs who have worked for Freyssinet, Jussur Emdad, Samana Company and Rent Human Resources as well as walk-in OFWs whose exit visas were facilitated by the labor office in Riyadh, Bello added.

The labor chief said he has instructed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide all necessary assistance to the returning Filipino workers.

The repatriation of the OFWs is in line with the department’s efforts to provide assistance to OFWs adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately, some of our OFWs have been greatly impacted by the pandemic and we hope that our repatriation efforts would bring them comfort as they will soon join their families and loved ones,” Bello said.

DOLE also reported that so far, more than 111,400 returning OFWs have been transported to their respective provinces.

The last batch of OFWs to be sent home are 3,035 workers who took their rides in OWWA-arranged buses and other means of transportation on Monday.  

Bello on Sinas’ request requiring police clearance for labor-related transactions: ‘More harm than good.’

Marje Pelayo   •   May 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III responded to the request of Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Debold Sinas on the latter’s request to require national police clearances for labor-related transactions.

Bello argued that though his agency supports the PNP’s rollout of the National Police Clearance System (NPCS) and while the proposal is ‘good-intentioned,’ the Labor Chief said requiring DOLE’s clients to secure an NPC to avail of its services will do ‘more harm than good.’

“It is a form of a red tape to all and an additional financial burden to many,” Bello said.

The Labor Secretary noted that after his consultation with DOLE’s stakeholders including workers and employers group, 94% of them are not in favor of requiring an NPC in labor-related transactions.

Bello also argued that the proposal is not aligned with the policy of President Rodrigo Duterte on the Ease in Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 and there is no legal basis in requiring an NOC to DOLE clients.

“We are with the PNP in building a safer place for Filipino. We can achieve this without adding burden to the transacting public and the people we serve,” Bello concluded.

Sinas sent a letter to Bello recommending to the agency the use of national police clearance to have broader information as to the character of all its applicants.

The Labor Chief earlier reacted that such a policy will only add to the burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to its applicant.

Over 45K local, overseas jobs up for grabs at Labor Day online job fairs beginning May 1

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—In commemoration of Labor Day, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will open nationwide online job fairs beginning May 1.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III encouraged jobseekers to take advantage of the  which is estimated to offer 38,000 local employment and 7,000 overseas job opportunities from various industries such as manufacturing, business process outsourcing, health services, retail, and construction.

Jobseekers can visit DOLE’s website to access the links where they can submit an application.

DOLE ASEC. Dominique “Nikki” Tutay said the department has three major events prepared in celebration of Labor Day.

“Mayroon po tayong gaganapin na job summit kung saan ang pamahalaan ilalatag niya ang tinatawag na 8 point employment recovery agenda under the national employment recovery strategy o NERS, she said.”

(We have a job summit where the government lays out an 8-point employment recovery agenda under NERS.)

Based on the latest Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Office (PSO), unemployment rate in the country has reached 8.8% or an equivalent of 4.2 million Filipinos with no jobs.

“Sa buong taon po ng 2021 patuloy po ang ating tinatawag na emergency employment program. Isinusulong parin natin ang wage subsidy program para sa ating mga businesses at sa ating mga maggagawa and pangatlo ang ating mga youth employability programs para makatulong sa mga kabataan,” Tutay said.

(Throughout 2021, we will continue our emergency employment program. We will also continue our wage subsidy program for our businesses and employees. We also have youth employability programs.)   AAC (with reports from Marvin Calas) 

 

PH may receive 2.3 million Pfizer COVID-19 vax shots from COVAX in June – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is expecting to receive in June around 2.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by US-based Pfizer-BioNTech, National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Thursday.

In a Palace briefing, Galvez said a total of 2,355,210 Pfizer vaccine shots from World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX facility will be delivered “not later than June” as stated in a letter sent to the country by the vaccine-sharing facility.

Galvez also disclosed that Pfizer and the Philippine government are finalizing the agreement on legal immunity and compensation in case of adverse effects from the vaccine use.

“Napaka-cordial, napaka-bait nga po ng Pfizer… Kahit mayroon tayong tinatawag na challenges, legal challenges, talagang hindi nila binago yung kanilang tinatawag na offer sa atin,” he said.

Galvez also expressed hope that the bulk of vaccine doses procured by the government will arrive in the country by the third quarter.

“Hopefully, magkakaroon po tayo ng sunud-sunod na development at mga deliveries this coming July and August,” he said.

Aside from Pfizer shots, Galvez said that starting in June, the country may also receive 194,000 doses from Moderna; 4.5 million from Sinovac; 2 million from Gamaleya Research Institute; and 1.3 million from AstraZeneca

In July, the Philippines may receive 13.5 million vaccine doses, including those from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.

Up to 40 million vaccine doses may also be delivered by August and September.

Once the bulk of vaccine supply arrives, Galvez said the government will start the vaccination of individuals belonging in the A4 and A5 priority sectors by June, and the general population by August or September.

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