191,000 of 340,000 OFWs displaced by COVID-19 choose not to return to PH — DOLE
MANILA, Philippines — Around 191,000 of 340,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) whose jobs were adversely affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have opted not to return to the Philippines since they are still hoping to find work abroad, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Wednesday.
“Ang affected doon mahigit 340,000. Pero doon sa 340,000, 191,000 po [ay] ayaw umuwi (There are 340,000 affected OFWs. But in these 340,000, around 191,000 do not want to go home),” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
Bello said DOLE was originally expecting over 42,000 OFWs to return to the country amid the coronavirus crisis by June but labor attachés reported that only 16,679 have so far secured permits.
He said qualified OFWs may be hired to work for the Build, Build, Build program or the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure program so they can have jobs once they return to the country.
“’Yung Build, Build, Build program ng ating Pangulo, full implementation na ngayon kaya mangangailangan sila ng skilled workers lalo na ‘yung mga construction workers (The Build, Build, Build program of the President is now on full implementation so we will need skilled workers especially construction workers),” said the Labor chief.
Those who will not be accommodated for employment will be given livelihood assistance, according to Bello.
Over 24,000 OFWs who have finished their 14-day quarantine period were recently sent back to their home provinces.
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