Senate bet Allan Montaño: Equip Filipino workers for ASEAN integration
MANILA, Philippines – Now that the ASEAN regional integration is already in full swing, a senatorial candidate urged the government to equip Filipino workers with enough skills to help them compete with their counterparts in neighboring countries.
“We have to keep our labor force equipped with skills to be more competitive than any other labor force in our neighboring countries. Skills development should have been the focus in recent times, but more has to be done in this aspect,” labor lawyer Allan Montaño said on Friday, April 22, at the last leg of Rappler’s senatorial debates held at the FEU Institute of Technology in Manila.
He lamented the limited job opportunities in the country which, he said, leaves Filipinos with no choice but to “grab the opportunity in the ASEAN integration."
Fellow senatorial candidate Rafael Alunan III said the ASEAN has yet to come up with a common labor code that will protect the regional workforce, especially migrant workers within the ASEAN.
“Another thing to look into, is the strength of institutions that will protect labor abroad. Our diplomatic institutions, are they strong or weak? The POEA, and OWWA, are they strong or weak?" Alunan asked.
Reacting to Alunan, Montaño said the government still has a lot to do in order to protect its migrant workers.
A joint study conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2014 said the ASEAN integration stands to contribute 3.1 million more jobs in the Philippines, but its workers should have improved skills traininto take advantage of this. – Rappler.com
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