39,000 lose jobs–DOLE

Published by rudy Date posted on February 24, 2009

Officials allot P7B to create180,000 jobs

At least 39,000 Filipinos have lost their jobs since October, as factories and companies lay off workers amid the deepening global financial crisis, an official said Monday.

The 39,000 included more than 5,400 overseas-based Filipinos who had lost their jobs in the Middle East and Taiwan, which accounted for the bulk of the returning expatriates, Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said.

Roque said the figure was based on official reports by industry leaders as well as trade groups.

He said the government had allotted P7 billion ($149 million) to create 180,000 “emergency jobs” this year as a stopgap measure to prevent unemployment from ballooning.

“As of last Friday we have about 39,000 fall outs. These are workers who have lost their jobs mainly in the electronics and manufacturing sector,” Roque told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

He said the government had enough resources to create temporary employment opportunities in the next two years, but would be hard pressed if the crisis extended beyond that.

Roque noted that many Filipinos lost their jobs in the real estate and services sector in Dubai, but had managed to find employment elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates.

He said of the estimated 300,000 Filipinos in the Emirates, 2,000 were now out of work.

Places for Filipino nurses in the United States were also “dropping” with only 700 contracts up for grabs last year, compared with up to 8,000 available three years ago, he said.

The jobless rate among Filipinos abroad could be much higher, he conceded, noting that a large portion of the eight million Filipino workers abroad were without proper documentation.

Government programs

The government has already launched a retraining program for those who lost their jobs, with the business process outsourcing sector expected to provide opportunities as it is projected to grow 20 percent this year despite the crisis, Roque said.

But the government “cannot hit a 100-percent batting average in terms of helping these overseas Filipinos,” he said, noting that many were already heavily in debt even before flying out.

“They are expecting immediate relief, and it’s something we can’t do quickly,” he said.  –AFP

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