Monday, 13 April 2009

200,000 MidEast jobs for Filipinos

Mia Gonzalez
Business Mirror

MIDDLE East employers have assured the Philippines of more than 200,000 new jobs for the rest of the year, further buoying President Arroyo’s hopes of a “resilient” overseas Philippine labor market despite the global crisis.

The President received the employment commitment through a manifesto presented to her at the Middle East Forum in Dubai, containing the output of the forum including job orders for Philippine workers.

In her remarks, the President said the “market for OFWs remains high and resilient” even as there remain challenges, as proven by the sizable number of job orders from different Middle East countries.

“Overall, while some [Filipino] expatriates have lost their jobs. . . new jobs are being created at the same time, like the 200,000 new jobs that you the employers, recruitment agencies and hardworking government officials [were] able to put together,” she said.

A total of 222,131 new jobs await Filipino workers in the Middle East this year: 107,525 in Saudi Arabia, 39,128 in the United Arab Emirates, 39,159 in Kuwait, 21,517 in Libya and Algeria, 11,356 in Oman, and 3,446 in Bahrain.

The President said the manifesto specified the needed skills for employment, which will help the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) to respond accordingly.

“In these trying times for Filipino workers, both overseas and domestic workers in the Philippines in the export-oriented industry, the government will not sit idly and do nothing. Given the global environment, indeed we must be prepared, which is why we are doing everything possible to continue to create jobs at home and abroad,” she said.

She said the government is implementing “a program of full reciprocity” to help Filipino workers in host countries in crisis times, by providing for skills improvement and retraining to retool them for other employment opportunities abroad.

The President also welcomed “bilateral discussions with many countries [which] are opening up new employment opportunities abroad for Filipinos in a wide range of skills sector.”

A Palace statement said the Middle East Forum aims to bring together employers, manpower providers, officials of the Philippines and Gulf cooperating countries to discuss how the Philippines can fill up large-scale job orders in the region within the year.

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