‘Next president should have jobs roadmap’ – OFW advocate

Ryan Macasero
‘Next president should have jobs roadmap’ – OFW advocate
OFW advocate Susan Ople wants the next administration to create a separate department devoted to OFWs, among others

MANILA, Philippines – Two months away from the 2016 election registration deadline, OFW advocate Susan “Toots” Ople said she would like to see the next administration present a clearer roadmap in job creation.

“I would like to see a jobs road map. It’s not enough that the President said the OFWs are coming home, that more jobs are being created,” Ople told Rappler in a studio interview.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Benigno Aquino III  cited the return of 440,000 OFWs and an decrease in unemployment. The Philippines, however, still has the highest unemployment in Southeast Asia.

Aquino and other Cabinet officials say they envision a future where Filipinos would work abroad by choice, and not out of necessity.

“We’d like to see a breakdown of the data that supports that thesis, so that the OFWs themselves can start planning,” Ople said.

She would like to see growth areas identified so OFWs can “put up small businesses, and maybe have streamlined procedures just to entice them to come home.” 

She added that she would like to see the creation of a Department for OFWs. Government agencies serving OFWs and Filipinos looking to work abroad are the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Department of Labor (DOLE).

The locations of these offices are also spread across Metro Manila, making it difficult for job applicants and OFWs to get to. 

Ople said, “It’s tiresome even for us as, an NGO, to go to different agencies just to solidify what services an aggrieved OFW can get.” – Rappler.com 

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at ryan.macasero@rappler.com