MANILA, Philippines – Sorry, there’s only so much the Philippines can do for 16,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who lost their jobs in Taiwan, the government admitted Wednesday, July 10.
“Our hands are tied because of the freeze order issued by the Taiwanese government, and we have no means of providing or giving them additional work,” said Amadeo Perez Jr, chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), in an interview.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said only one option is left, at least for now: Find other jobs abroad.
Up to 16,000 OFWs lost their employment after Taiwan, in a diplomatic row with the Philippines, banned the hiring of new Filipino workers and refused to renew thousands of contracts.
Taiwan imposed these sanctions after the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman in the Philippines triggered a diplomatic row.
Perez said 10,000 affected OFWs had existing contracts that Taiwan refused to renew. He described 6,000 as “new contract workers” to whom Taiwan didn’t issue visas.
‘Find other jobs’
He said the Philippines is “hoping for the best” for up to 90,000 OFWs in Taiwan.
“I cannot set a definitive date when we will be able to finish the issue. But we are exerting all efforts to solve the problem,” Perez explained.
The DOLE, for its part, offered “alternate jobs overseas” for affected OFWs.
In a message sent to presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said affected OFWs can find “alternate jobs” through the website of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
“They can apply and qualify through accredited licensed recruitment agencies. They can also access vacancies in the electronic phil-job.net,” Baldoz told Lacierda.
The Palace promises to release the report on the investigation into the Taiwanese fisherman’s death, Lacierda said.
Last June 13, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed that the National Bureau of Investigation has recommended the filing of administrative and criminal charges against Philippine Coast Guard personnel involved in the fisherman’s death. – Rappler.com
Taiwan flag via Shutterstock. With file photo/EPA.