While over a thousand Filipino workers in Taiwan have lost their jobs as the country’s export sector was hit badly by the international financial crisis, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) said that Taiwan continues employing Filipinos in industries not as affected.
According to Antonio Basilio, MECO’s resident representative, Taiwan still hires caregivers, construction workers, fishermen, household workers and professionals.
“There still are employment opportunities. We are working closely with Taiwan’s government to ensure that these opportunities remain open and are hopefully expanded, so that we can at least mitigate the dislocation caused by the slowdown in the exports sector,” Basilio said in a statement.
He added that growth in job orders for Filipino workers in Taiwan grew 26 percent in the first three quarters of 2008 and has already exceeded the Department of Labor and Employment’s growth target this year of 10 percent.
In November alone, new hirings totaled 1,716, Basilio said.
A total of 1,263 Filipino workers in Taiwan have been displaced, MECO reported on Wednesday.
In a report dated December 2, Rodolfo Sabulao, the representative of the Labor department and MECO director for labor affairs, said that 18 Taiwanese companies scaled back or shut down operations, and had to let go of the Filipino workers they employed.
Sabulao also reported that most of these distressed companies were in the electronics and textile industries whose major export destinations include the US and other countries affected by the global economic crunch.
“Except for those who are still negotiating with their former employers, repatriated OFWs [overseas Filipino workers] have received their employment-related benefits, which include wages, earned leaves, separation pay and plane tickets. Not all of the Taiwanese companies were able to shoulder the full cost of the plane tickets of the OFWs returning home, but they have at least contributed to the airfare,” he said.
Also, MECO said it is seeking a greater share of employment opportunities for OFWs to be offered under an economic stimulus package being readied by the Taiwanese government.
According to Basilio, Taiwan would launch a big economic stimulus project, worth nearly 500 billion new Taiwan dollars (about $15 billion), to reinvigorate the domestic economy.
The budget, he said, would mainly go to incentives to investors, upgrading of industries, infrastructure projects and urban renewal, including 82.9 billion new Taiwan dollars in shopping vouchers to Taiwanese citizens.
“We have asked the Taiwanese authorities to give priority to the rehiring of Filipino workers for this new project,” Basilio added.
There currently are an estimated 90,000 OFWs in Taiwan, about two-thirds of whom are factory workers, MECO said.
–Ben Arnold O. De Vera, Manila Times