Unfazed by the raging global economic crisis which has already displaced thousands of workers, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said it would intensify efforts to help more Filipinos find jobs abroad this year.
“We will be focusing on marketing missions to generate jobs rather than regulating recruitment agencies this year,” POEA chief Jennifer Manalili told The STAR yesterday.
She said the POEA is just awaiting Malacañang’s issuance of an administrative order concerning the POEA’s new direction.
“Aside from our regulatory powers, job generation is also part of our mandate, only this time we are moving towards the intensifying of marketing missions because of the economic crisis,” Manalili explained.
In the light of the economic crisis, Manalili said it has become more urgent for the government, including the POEA, to intensify job-generating programs.
Manalili said the POEA governing board will meet as soon as possible to discuss marketing plans to promote overseas employment opportunities for Filipinos.
She stressed, however, that the deployment ban in high-risk areas like Iraq, Nigeria and Afghanistan remains.
“Even if there is a need to create more jobs, we are not going to compromise the life and safety of our workers. We will not become lenient just because of the economic crisis,” Manalili pointed out.
Manalili also reported that in 2008, POEA delisted 64 recruitment agencies which failed to comply with government regulations on deployment of workers abroad.
“We have maintained our aggressive stance on the ‘hard to enter-easy to go’ policy which resulted in 20.8 percent increase in the number of delisted agencies,” Manalili said.
The number of recruitment agencies in “good standing” is pegged at 1,389 as of November 2008.
Manalili said 1.2 million Filipinos are working overseas and that the figure is expected to swell with the opening of new markets like Romania, Bulgaria and Australia.
Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said the government undertook eight marketing missions in 2008 that expanded employment opportunities for Filipinos.–Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star