12,000 overseas workers laid off–Labor official
The economic crisis has cost over 121,000 Filipino workers their jobs, pay cuts or reduced work loads, a government official said on Sunday.
Between October last year and mid-March this year, 11,574 permanently lost their jobs and 38,806 others were temporarily laid off by Philippine-based companies, Labor Undersecretary Rosalinda Baldoz told an economic forum in Clark, an industrial enclave in Pampanga pro-vince north of Manila.
A total of 59,149 others were placed on flexible work arrangements, Baldoz said.
Meanwhile, 12,000 out of the 8.5 million-strong Filipino work force abroad had lost their jobs, mostly in Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates, according to the Labor undersecretary.
Remittances from overseas Filipino workers have helped keep the economy afloat but the global economic crunch has considerably lessened the money being sent home by those employed overseas, according to official data.
Job prospects for Filipinos who want to work abroad look bright in South Korea. They became possible after sister cities Manila and Incheon signed an agreement inviting the Philippine government to the Incheon Global Fair and Festival to be held on August 7 to October 25 this year. The agreement was signed in 2008.
During a recent meeting, Incheon Mayor Ahn Sang Soo, South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Ok and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim agreed to deploy Filipino workers to the Incheon Free Economic Zone, a logistics, international-trade, leisure and tourism hub for Northeast Asia.
In Spain, the estimated 50,000 OFWs there are unscathed despite the global crisis, according to Angel Moratinos, the country’s Foreign Minister.
He said that these workers are “very much welcome” because they are helping Spain’s economy through their “competence and adaptability.”
Most of the OFWs there, Moratinos added, work in the service sector and live in the major cities of Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia.
Last week, the government said that electronics firms based in the Philippines began giving their remaining workers half-pay or P150 ($3.11) a day in a bid to keep them employed until demand picks up again.
The Labor undersecretary said that the electronics sector was the worst hit with almost half the total work force affected.
The crisis has also hit about 10 percent of employees in the automotive, garments, mining, property, services and woodworking industries, Baldoz added.
She went on to say that the government expects the crisis to bottom out over the next few months as just 397 workers a day were losing their jobs in mid-March compared to 437 at the start of the month.
“Before the first semester [of 2009] ends, we could say that the worst is over,” Baldoz said.
“In the next five months, workers’ displacements will continue but we expect it to be on a slower pace and only in the export-manufacturing sector,” she added.