DOLE forms task force to speed up OFW processing, return to homes
Robie de Guzman • May 28, 2020 • 360
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced that it has formed task force groups to expedite the return of quarantined overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to their respective homes.
In a statement issued Wednesday, DOLE said the task groups, dubbed as “balik-probinsiya” and “balik-abroad,” will help fast track the movement of OFWs from various quarantine facilities to their respective home destinations, as well as facilitate the speedy processing of outbound workers.
The move follows President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to immediately send home all OFWs who tested negative for COVID-19 conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Red Cross.
DOLE said about 24,000 OFWs have been kept in government-designated quarantine facilities since their return to the country. Most workers had complained of the slow release of their results and clearances after weeks and even months of quarantine and tests.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, however, said the government did not intend to inconvenience the returning OFWs with their prolonged quarantine and delayed test results.
“DOLE and OWWA simply had no control over the testing and issuance of clearances,” he said.
Bello said he had ordered the designation of additional personnel from its regional and attached agencies to beef up the manpower requirement of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in ensuring the smooth land and air transport, and monitoring of OFWs from various quarantine facilities to their respective home destinations.
In an administrative order, Bello also formed a separate task group to ease the processing of outbound land and sea-based workers whose country of destination has lifted the restrictions on the employment of foreign workers.
“We are doing this so as we don’t lose the jobs for our OFWs, while at the same time we help facilitate the quick homecoming and be of assistance to our returning workers,” the labor chief said.
Aside from facilitating the processing of inbound and outbound OFWs, the ‘hatid-probinsya’ and ‘balik-abroad’ task groups will serve as monitoring offices for onsite OFWs and those seeking repatriation, DOLE said.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday cited a number of “resilient” jobs in the National Capital Region (NCR) that “withstood the impact” of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic that rendered millions unemployed.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said online job postings for workers with skills in health care, logistics, information technology, business process management, education, and construction are rising.
He also noted that under the health care and wellness sector, requirements are increasing for medical doctors, nurses, medical and radiologic technologists, pharmacists, psychologists, medical researchers and writers, and wellness trainers and representatives.
Citing records of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), Bello said the government through the Department of Health hired a total of 8,056 health workers out of the 10,693 job openings for doctors, nurses, and other health care workers under the emergency hiring program to augment medical front-liners battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They were deployed in public hospitals, diagnostic facilities, isolation and quarantine sites, local government units, and other hospitals and COVID-19 referral facilities,” the labor chief said.
Of this number, nurses account for the highest number of hires by profession at 2,701, followed by medical technologists at 1,356, he added.
Bello also said that there are more than 10,000 job opportunities in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry such as customer service representatives, technical support staff, frontline/specialists, supervisors, trainers, managers, and others for the human resources and recruitment, finance, information technology, and marketing sectors.
He added that increased demand for workers in the construction sector has also been observed, specifically for heavy equipment operators and safety engineers.
“The government has significant allocation for the Build, Build, Build program of the government in the proposed national budget for 2021 so we could expect more jobs in the construction towards the following year,” he said.
With most schools conducting only virtual learning for several weeks and months of the new school year, Bello said demand for on-line Instructors are picking up under the education sector.
Also promising is the logistics sector where demand for transport network and vehicle service drivers is going strong due to a switch in consumers’ buying habits during the pandemic.
For instance, DOLE NCR Director Sarah Buena Mirasol said the PESO-Quezon City facilitated the hiring of at least 500 food service delivery personnel for Food Panda, Lala Jeep, and Grab Food.
Similarly, PESO-Mandaluyong is set to facilitate the employment of its locally displaced tricycle drivers.
“An estimated 300 displaced workers are projected to benefit from this LGU intervention,” she said.
Mirasol said the resilient jobs were identified from the situation and labor market landscape of the region based on the recently conducted environmental scanning research.
While it is important to develop one’s industry-specific hard skills, Mirasol pointed out that “specific essential skills such as adaptability, technology know-how, creativity and innovation, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and leadership skills are necessary for workers to cultivate in order to survive and thrive in the new normal.”
More than 30,000 college students who are dependents of repatriated, displaced, and deceased overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will benefit from the government’s P1 billion education subsidy, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed a memorandum of agreement to launch “Tabang OFW”. The program aims to provide a one-time financial assistance of P30,000 to one college-level dependent of a repatriated, displaced, or deceased OFW.
Bello said the program is just one of the government’s ways of reciprocating the sacrifices of overseas Filipinos.
“We hope this will go a long way in helping our OFWs and their children in these most challenging times. By doing this, we also hope we can partly repay our modern-day heroes,” he said.
Under the agreement the Labor Department shall issue orders, circulars or guidelines that will spell out the effective and efficient implementation of the program while the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will release the funds amounting to P1 billion to DOLE for its implementation.
The Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) will assist DOLE on the promotion and other information dissemination activities of the program. AAC
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it has sought the assistance of national Coast Guards from China, South Korea and Taiwan to help locate the Filipino crew men of the livestock cargo vessel that sank off south-western Japan.
In a meeting on Thursday (September 25), Bello assured the kin of missing seafarers that the government is doing its best to find the answers as to what happened to their loved ones.
“I know you’re in a very difficult situation, but there’s hope,” Bello told wives, siblings and parents of the missing seafarers.
Prior to this, the Japanese Coast guard, which found three Filipino mariners—two survivors and one fatality—announced that it has stopped its special operations for the remaining crew —36 Filipinos, two Australians and two New Zealanders–of the ill-fated MV Gulf Livestock 1.
“So don’t give up on your loved ones because there’s really hope. Three foreign governments are helping us find them,” Bello, who requested the assistance abroad, said
Huang Xilian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China, said China has already commenced rescue operations.
The Chinese government announced, however, that they have not found any sign of the missing seafarers during their rescue operations on September 19 and 20.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ambassador Peiyung Hsu told Belo his request was immediately conveyed to the Taiwan Coast Guard (TCG).
“Rest assured that your good office will be kept posted on any findings or developments of the said operations,” he said.
Meanwhile, South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-Man in response to Bello’s request said he has already forwarded the endorsement to their Ministry of Foreign Affairs for proper action.
“I am hoping that our government’s participation in any search and rescue operation that may be conducted will shed light on the status of the missing crew,” the official added.
Given these developments, families of the missing mariners thanked Bello for giving them hope. Each family of the victims present during the meeting was given financial assistance by DOLE through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
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