MANILA, Philippines—Employment and business opportunities in the Philippines await overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the reported hiring freeze in Taiwan.
This was the assurance given by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Wednesday, following news reports of an estimated 10,000 Filipinos to be displaced due to a reported freeze hiring in Taiwan.
“We are still verifying the report. Initially, it appears that the figure of 10,000 is grossly off the mark,” Baldoz said in a statement. She said Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) historical records showed that the Philippines have been deploying only 2,000 to 2,500 workers a month.
The hiring freeze in Taiwan was triggered by its recent row with the Philippines over the May 9 fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman suspected of poaching in the Balintang Channel by Philippine Coast Guard personnel.
According to Baldoz, there are more than 100,000 jobs posted at PhilJobNet, the official online job search and matching portal of the government.
Taiwan-displaced OFWs can also apply for jobs in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Saudi Arabia which need production workers and personal services, such as care-giving.
“Based on balances of available job orders of licensed recruitment agencies approved by the POEA, they can apply for work in these countries without need for further training/retraining,” Baldoz said.
But she added that local employment would also be a viable option for the displaced workers.
“Those who are already here in the Philippines and those whose contracts are expiring and may not be able to go back to Taiwan can apply in the 129,180 available job vacancies posted in the PhilJobNet,” she said. Positions available include plant and machine operators and assemblers (13,544 vacancies); factory workers (6,040 positions); engineers and technicians (2,956 positions); and machinists (323 positions).
“They may also explore jobs in the business process outsourcing sector, such as call center agents, technical support staff, and customer service assistants. Those who have low skills may also apply for skills training/upgrading in TESDA-accredited training providers,” she added.
Baldoz said another option for displaced OFWs would be to engage in enterprise or business activity.
“They may avail of the government’s entrepreneurial development assistance under the National Reintegration Program for OFWs which include training and capability-building, as well as business capital loans of P300,000 to P2 million from the P2 billion Reintegration Loan Fund offered by the Land Bank of the Philippines and guaranteed by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration,” Baldoz explained.
The loan carries an interest of only 7.5 percent per year and has a repayment term of five years, which can be extended to seven years.
The labor chief encouraged the OFWs to accept the invitation to invest their hard-earned savings, if they have any, in agribusiness, a priority area under the reintegration program partnership between the DOLE and the Department of Agriculture.
Under the DOLE-DA partnership, the agencies promote agribusiness as an investment option for OFWs. The DA has developed 37 agribusiness modules from which OFWs can choose from.
These ‘ready-to-roll’ modules contain detailed information on needed capital, location of business, market, cost, and rate of return on investment.