by Mayen Jaymalin
from The Philippine Star
The country’s largest labor group yesterday rejected a proposed measure restricting the deployment of Filipino doctors and other medical workers abroad.
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said the proposed bill requiring Filipino professionals to render compulsory service prior to working overseas is highly discriminatory.
“We consider the bill absolutely unfair and highly discriminatory, because it singles out registered professionals,” said TUCP secretary-general and former senator Ernesto Herrera.
Alarmed by the continuing exodus of health workers abroad and possible paralysis of the country’s health system, Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Arroyo filed House Bill 4580.
Under the proposed law, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, medical technologists, physical therapists, engineers, teachers, sailors, accountants, interior designers, nutritionists and criminologists and even librarians, guidance counselors and master plumbers would have to perform at least 24 months of service here before they may be allowed to seek greener pastures abroad.
Herrera doubted the government’s ability to enforce the bill, once enacted.
“How is the government actually going to require compliance, when it is not in a position to physically bar professionals from leaving the country?” he asked.
Herrera further questioned the wisdom of Arroyo’s proposal, considering the large surplus of professionals in many sectors of the labor market.
“We have a huge glut of professionals in many sectors. In the case of nurses, the main reason they are leaving the country is because wages here are grossly inadequate. And the pay is meager precisely because of the massive surplus of nurses. This is the law of supply and demand at work,” Herrera pointed out.
The restriction, Herrera said, is in effect, helping to keep the wages of nurses depressed by promoting the huge surplus
Nurses comprise the biggest group of professionals leaving the country with more than 21,000 Filipino nurses seeking employment in the United States alone annually.
But based on data from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), the country has been producing more than 132,000 nurses every year.
Meantime, high paying jobs await Filipino engineers in the United Arab Emirates.
The local recruitment industry yesterday reported that Dubai is in need of engineers for the construction of new refineries and power plants.
“The demand is so heavy that well-known construction firm Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction is willing to pay as much as $5,000 a month for architectural engineers,” recruitment leaders disclosed.
Cherry Cleary, president of Jerphi recruitment agency, said the local recruitment industry continues to receive hundreds of thousands of job orders from the Middle East for engineers and highly skilled workers due to the ongoing trillion-dollar projects in the region.
Kuwait alone is currently implementing $15 billion development projects, Cleary added.
Cleary noted that their agency alone is looking for site engineers for various projects in Dubai. “There is no placement fee for the professionals needed in Dubai.”
Aside from the job orders in Middle East countries, Cleary said one of the largest engineering companies in Australia, Atlas Heavy Engineering Pty Ltd., is also looking for boilermakers, welders and CNC operators.
Applicants can file their resumes in person at the Jerphi office in Unit 219, Aurora Plaza 1, Arquiza corner Bocobo Streets, Ermita, Manila or email email@example.com.
In a related development, the Philippine Association of Service Exporters Inc. (PASEI) called on the government to take action against the unified contract scheme by the agency from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia called Saudi National Recruitment,” a leader said.
Under the scheme to be implemented starting Sept. 1, the employer-employee relations between the Saudi employer and the Filipino OCW will be governed by the work contract presented by the SANARCOM agency.
“If this arrangement is tolerated, it would certainly spawn the abhorrent practice of contract substitution to the detriment of the Filipino OCWs,” PASEI president Vic Fernandez explained.