Government ready to help displaced migrant workers
Unverified reports of layoffs in Middle East reach POEA
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and its attached agencies are preparing to assist migrant workers who may lose their jobs as the global oil industry continues to reel under falling crude prices.
Lawyer Rhett Casiño, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) adjudicator, said they have received “unverified reports” about some Filipino workers who have been forced to return home after their contracts were pre-terminated by their employers in the Middle East.
“Since second semester of last year, there have been complaints of termination because of retrenchment,” he said.
Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East were highlighted as among the affected countries, he added.
But Casiño said they have not been able to verify these “complaints.” DOLE is still waiting for confirmation from its central office on the status of the migrant workers, he added.
Casiño said the government is prepared to assist the displaced workers.
He said DOLE-7 will help migrant workers find local job opportunities. The department already has several existing programs on livelihood development and assistance for small business entrepreneurs.
Livelihood assistance, scholarship programs and possibly financial assistance will also be provided by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
Casiño said OFWs who wish to look for jobs outside the Philippines can ask for referrals from the POEA to other agencies.
The department is also ready to provide legal counseling should there be any problems with employers.
An “Assist Well Program” has also been organized for the affected workers in coordination with other agencies, the official added.
Like the programs already in place with DOLE, the “Assist Well Program” will focus on providing livelihood opportunities for the OFWs.
“It’s safe to say that we are ready and prepared to receive any OFW who is possibly affected by the financial troubles in the oil industry,” Casiño said.
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