Philippine Gov’t Has No Interest in Confronting Problem Victimizing Seafarers

In terms of dollar remittances, in 2007 the seafarers sent back home an outstanding US$2.2 billion (P103,717,548,966.80) or the equivalent of 15 percent of the $14.5 billion overall amount of dollar remittances sent to the Philippines.

Earlier this year, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) happily announced that there was a 27.8- percent increase in the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from 2007 to 2008, which translates to 1.376 million Filipinos now working abroad in 190 different host destinations or countries.

Labor Secretary and former Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) chief Marianito D. Roque said that there are about 3,772 OFWs leaving the country daily, and that the current number of deployed OFWs represents 137.7 percent of the government’s one million OFW deployment goal. (For the full story, kindly see this URL: http://www.dole.gov.ph/news/details.asp?id=N000002281).

LEP reflects Philippines’ weak economy

Entero believes that the hands of the government are tied due to its weaknesses in addressing the problems of the continuously weakening local economy.

“The government’s LEP is but a reflection of the poor state of the national economy where employment opportunities are very much wanting,” he further explained.

“As the local economy cannot accommodate the steady influx of seafarers brought about by hundreds and thousands of college graduates that our educational system has been producing, exporting labor to other countries has become the only logical choice to arrest unemployment while benefiting from the dollar remittances,” Entero said.

This observation by Entero seems to be true based on no less than Roque’s own words.

“The potential effects of the continuing global economic slowdown on deployment could be mitigated by the strong labor demand in host countries like Canada, Bulgaria, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar,” Roque said. “The DoLE, through its Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in more than 30 strategic host destinations worldwide, continues to conduct marketing missions and employment facilitation programs to widen the productive opportunities for Filipino workers both in the local and global spheres.”

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