MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Monday, July 6, said there is no need to repatriate thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Greece, following the looming economic crisis in the European country.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said OFWs are still in a good place in Greece despite current economic problems.
“We do not expect mass repatriation from Greece. Most OFWs are highly skilled workers and they continue to be in demand. For those affected, they prefer to be trained as caregivers for 3rd-country deployment like Canada. Others are married to Greek nationals,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr quoted the labor secretary.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said there are 61,500 OFWs in Greece – 11,500 are land-based while the rest work at sea. Most of the land-based OFWs work as “household service workers.”
In an earlier Rappler report, some Filipinos who grew up in Greece said they felt the crunch as early as late 2000, when prices of commodities started to rise.
They said, however, they are not yet personally disturbed as the crisis had been “silently” creeping up. (READ: Filipinos on Greek debt crisis: ‘Slow death’)
On Monday, leaders of the European Union scrambled for a response after Greeks, in a referendum, voted for a resounding “No” to the International Monetary Fund’s imposition of additional austerity measure. The IMF requires these additional measures before it gives Athens its bailout funds.
‘No need to worry’
Malacañang, for its part, reassured the public that the Philippine economy can withstand the possible fallout of the referendum.
Coloma said the Philippine economy is “strong and resilient,” as a result of the supposed “good economic management” of the Aquino administration.
“Investor confidence is at an all-time high and given the wide fiscal space created by high growth rates and sound economic management during the past five years, the government can deploy ample resources for dealing with possible deleterious effects,” Coloma said in a text message to reporters.
A Filipino economist shared the Palace’s sentiment. Economist Romeo Bernardo of GlobalSource Partners Incorporated earlier told Rappler the minimal trade and financial linkages between European economies and the Philippines means the debt crisis in Greece has no direct impact on the local economy. (READ: Greek crisis has no direct impact on Philippines) – Rappler.com