Qatar needs 37,000 OFWs

Published by rudy Date posted on December 15, 2008

Taiwan to lay off 5,000 next year
 
The Philippine government said it projects a minimal displacement of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) despite the sweeping global financial crisis, because Arab countries could absorb a large number of Filipino workers.

President Gloria Arroyo, who arrived in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday evening, told OFWs that instead of retrenching expatriates, Qatar needs 37,000 more workers.

The 37,000 job openings, she said, more than offsets the displacement of Filipino workers in other countries. One thousand Filipino workers in Taiwan were retrenched recently, while 5,000 other OFWs are expected to lose their jobs there next year.

As other countries cut down their overseas manpower requirements in the cusp of the global economic downturn, Qatar, on the contrary, continues to beef up its roll of foreign workers to fill the needs of its booming economy, she said.

Employers in Qatar and other Middle East countries prefer Filipino workers because of their diligence, trustworthiness, efficiency and skills.

The President attributed the preference of Qatari employers for Filipinos to their good work ethics, adding that Filipino workers were well-liked by their employers.

”However, notwithstanding the continuing bright prospects for Filipino labor abroad, it’s always prudent to be prepared for the unexpected,” she said.

She added that her administration launched a P250-million livelihood support fund to help displaced OFWs. Recipients could use the assistance to pursue their studies or engage in livelihood projects.

The President assured the Filipino workers that her administration would do everything possible to help overseas Filipino workers, especially those in distress.

Compared to other countries now in the throes of economic difficulties arising from the global economic crisis, the Philippines is stronger because the government was able to collect additional taxes such as the expanded value added taxes (EVAT), the President said.

She thanked Filipino expatriates for their sacrifices and concern not only for their families but also for their country as she wished them joyful holidays.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Qatar’s emir, personally welcomed President Arroyo when she arrived at the Qatar International Airport.

The President’s three-day visit will center on generating investment, ckecking on the conditions of OFWs, and asking the Qatari government’s participation in the Mindanao peace process.

Accompanying the President are Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, Presidential adviser on the peace process Hermogenes Esperon Jr., and a small group of congressmen.

Layoffs in Taiwan

In Taipei, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) said that to date, around 2,000 overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan have already been displaced, as the island-country projects another 5,000 job layoffs from various sectors in the first quarter of next year.

Some 50,000 workers overall— not Filipinos—are expected to lose their jobs in Taiwan in 2009.

According to Antonio Basilio, MECO’s resident representative, about 800 more OFWs in Taiwan lost their jobs as of their latest count. MECO earlier reported that, as of end-November, 1,263 OFWs here were dismissed from their work this year, primarily as an effect of the global economic meltdown.

He said some 49 companies employing these OFWs have either shut down or scaled back operations, resulting to these job losses.

Most of these OFWs retrenched were from the export-manufacturing sector, as Taiwan’s exports slowed down, because the downturn’s impact on its major export destinations, such as the Europe, Japan and the US.

Basilio said they still do not know how many OFWs are included in the Taiwanese government’s projection of layoffs early next year. Taiwan said it may be able to create a total of 45,000 new jobs for both locals and foreign workers next year, but this would still fall short of the bigger number of workers who would lose their bread and butter, he added.

He maintained that Taiwan continues to source OFWs for other industries, including care­givers, construction workers, fishermen, household workers and professionals.

Basilio added that MECO is confident that the Taiwanese government’s about 500-billion new Taiwan dollars (around US$15 billion) economic stimulus package to revitalize its domestic economy would benefit OFWs, as they hope that more OFWs would be hired once the Taiwanese economy stabilizes.

About 90,000 Filipinos are currently still working in Taiwan, according to MECO.

BPOs booming

Vice President Noli De Castro over the weekend said prospects of the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in the Philippines are bright despite the global economic crunch.

Speaking during the inauguration of the EXL Service Facility at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, de Castro said such a positive outlook is based on the solid fundamentals of the country’s outsourcing sector.

De Castro said the Philippines has enough supply of educated, English-speaking labor force.

“Thanks to the importance Filipino families give to education, we have a steady flow of graduates from universities, colleges, and technical institutions,” he told foreign investors during the event.

He added that the new breed of Filipino workers is familiar with the latest technology.

“Many first-time visitors to the Philippines marvel at the extent by which cellular phones, computers, Wifi hotspots, and internet cafés have penetrated the lifestyle of our young,” he said.

He pointed out that there are other locations outside Metro Manila that can effectively host process-out­sourcing centers. This can be attributed to the support that government gives to the local outsourcing sector, which he described as one of the country’s sunrise industries.

EXL recently entered invested $8 million in Manila to set up a world-class facility that would generate around 1,500 new jobs in the next 12 months.

The firm is an addition to the leading global names in the outsourcing that are operating in the Philippines.
— Angelo S. Samonte, Ben Arnold De Vera And Francis Earl A. Cueto, Manila Times

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