overseas Filipinos

ACTS-OFW calls for stronger apprenticeship program for OFWs, dependents

Michelle Abad

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ACTS-OFW calls for stronger apprenticeship program for OFWs, dependents

CHRISTMAS RUSH. Overseas Filipino workers start arriving for the holiday season, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on December 1, 2021.

Inoue Jaena/Rappler

The party-list group says that since the TESDA apprenticeship program knows no age, it can help find opportunities for OFWs displaced from their work amid the pandemic

MANILA, Philippines – The Acts-Overseas Filipino Workers Coalition of Organizations (ACTS-OFW) called for the expansion of apprenticeship programs in the Philippines to aid overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their dependents.

In a statement released Thursday, April 28, the party-list group said more apprenticeship opportunities would not only address the needs of the youth, but repatriated and displaced OFWs and their dependents as well.

Tinatawagan namin and iba’t-ibang ahensya ng gobyerno katuwang ang pribadong sektor na mas paigtingin ang pagpapatupad ng apprenticeship program dahil ito ang magsisilbing kasagutan sa isyu ng unemployment sa bansa,” said Imelda Enriquez, ACTS-OFW’s first nominee.

(We are calling on different agencies of the goverment, together with the private sector, to strengthen the implementation of the apprenticeship program because this will serve as the answer to the unemployment issue in the country.)

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) offers an apprenticeship program which allows Filipinos to train and work at an approved apprenticeable occupation for up to six months. ACTS-OFW said workers under apprenticeships can earn a salary of 75% of the applicable minimum wage.

ACTS-OFW said that the program was an existing mechanism the government could use to ensure the continuous supply of manpower across industries, especially as millions of Filipinos were displaced from their jobs.

Albert Datu, ACTS-OFW’s executive and training development officer, encouraged OFWs to enroll in apprenticeship programs. He also said that the program could be expanded to cater to OFWs’ dependents as well.

Malaki po ang maitutulong ng apprenticeship program para masolusyunan ang kahirapan ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino. Higit sa lahat, magsisilbi itong tulay tungo sa tuluyang pagbangon ng Pilipinas mula sa mga nagdaang krisis,” he said. (The apprenticeship program can greatly help solve poverty in each Filipino family. Most of all, this will serve as a bridge to helping the Philippines recover from the crisis.)

Ang edukasyon ay walang pinipiling tao o edad, kaya naman nais po naming sabihin na ang apprenticeship program ay para sa lahat,” added Enriquez. (Education does not choose people nor age, so we would like to say that the apprenticeship program is for all.)

ACTS-OFW said it was partnering with technical and vocational training institutes to help provide access to education, training, and employment opportunities.

The coronavirus pandemic plunged the Philippines into recession. In 2020, the country’s economy experienced its worst contraction since World War II with gross domestic product (GDP) falling by 9.5%.

In 2021, GDP grew by 5.6%, beating the target that the government set. The Philippine Statistics Authority found that more Filipinos were actively seeking employment, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, as the economy reopened further in February 2022. – Rappler.com

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.