Govt urges OFWs affected by Taiwan’s hiring freeze to find other jobs abroad

Published by rudy Date posted on July 10, 2013

(UPDATED 3:40 p.m.) – The Philippine government on Wednesday advised some 16,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) rendered jobless by the hiring freeze in Taiwan to seek other jobs abroad.

Quoting a text message from Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said OFWs affected by the freeze hiring should look for job vacancies on government websites.

“Alternate jobs overseas can be accessed through the POEA [Philippine Overseas Employment Administration] website on approved job orders in all countries. They can apply and qualify through accredited licensed recruitment agencies,” Lacierda said at a press briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday afternoon.

However, Lacierda said there are no guarantees that all of the OFWs who were supposed to work in Taiwan will get new jobs in other countries.

“Siyempre may qualifications naman ‘yon, pero may mga overseas jobs po na makikita sila doon sa POEA website. Lahat naman po ‘yon ina-apply, pati na po ‘yung pagpunta sa Taiwan, ina-apply lahat ‘yon,” the President’s spokesman said.

In a television interview on Tuesday, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chairman Amadeo Perez, the Philippines’ de facto envoy in Taipei, said 10,000 OFWs were not renewed while another 6,000 were not issued working visas to Taiwan.

Taiwan froze the hiring of Filipino workers last May days after the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman suspected of poaching in the Balintang Channel by the Philippine Coast Guard.

Last month, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed that criminal and administrative charges have been recommended against Coast Guard personnel involved in the shooting incident.

President Benigno Aquino III has yet to act on the recommendations made by the justice department through the National Bureau of Investigation.

Lacierda said the Philippine government will release the findings on the shooting incident after the President has studied the recommendations.

“We will release the results of the report as our investigators evaluate the evidence… It will not be subject to any pressure,” he said.

Four conditions

Meanwhile, according to a report of Balitanghali’s Claire Delfin on Wednesday, Perez said Taiwan may lift the hiring freeze if the Philippines complies with four conditions:

• an apology from the Philippine government,
• compensation for the family of the slain fisherman,
• impartial investigation on the incident, and
• bilateral fisheries agreement

A personal apology from President Noynoy Aquino III, coursed through Perez, had earlier been accepted by the family.

The Philippine government is also negotiating with the fisherman’s family for the compensation.

Although MECO does not want to disclose the amount being asked by the family, they said it was a “large” amount.

The report said the MECO is asking donations from Chinese and Taiwanese businessmen in the Philippines due to a lack of budget for the compensation.

However, MECO also belied reports that they already received $4,000 in donations from Taiwanese businessmen.

As for the investigation, both the Philippine and Taiwanese investigative teams have yet to release the official findings based on their parralel probe.

On the fisheries agreement, Perez said it was unlikely because the issue has been raised as early as 2006 but no progress has been made.

He also cited the Philippines’ constitution and fisheries code which both state that free access of other countries in our marine territory is forbidden.

Blow to the tourism industry

The report also said aside from the 16,000 OFWs affected by Taiwan’s hiring freeze, the Philippine tourism industry also suffered a blow.

The drop in Taiwanese tourist arrivals was attributed to the travel advisory issued by Taiwan against the Philippine to its citizens after the shooting incident.

Perez said an estimated 150,000 Taiwanese canceled their flights and hotel bookings to the Philippines.

He also noted that the travel advisory’s impact was magnified because the peak season for Taiwanese tourists visiting the Philippines is from June to August. – with a report from Andrei Medina, VVP, GMA News

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