Monday, 04 July 2011 13:09
The Philippine government has contingency measures in case Saudi Arabia imposes its new policy halting the grant of working permits to domestic helpers coming from Asian countries.
In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace is confident that there are alternative destinations that can absorb overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) wanting to go to Saudi Arabia but are affected by the ban.
“Kung sakaling hindi magkaayos, we have alternative markets at confident tayo na ma-aabsorb yung mga gustong pumunta ng Saudi,” Valte said.
“At iyung iba naman, meron pong programa ang Department of Labor and Employment [DOLE] na tinatawag nilang ‘Balik-Pinay! Balik-Hanapbuhay! Project’ and livelihood training and assistance program para sa mga maaapektuhan ng polisiyang ito kung sakaling matuloy talaga,” she added.
These livelihood packages for returning OFWs include training and assistance for food processing, garments, beauty shops or computer shops.
Saudi authorities announced the new policy, which is also called “Saudization” that prioritizes hiring of local workers instead of foreign laborers. Aside from the Philippines, Indonesia, which also sends domestic workers to Saudi Arabia, is also affected by the policy.
Saudi Arabia and Asian countries sending workers to the kingdom could not agree on hiring conditions that seek better worker protection and ensure worker safety. But Valte noted that these demands are based on labor laws.
This week, Malacanang said the Philippines would seek clarification from Saudi Arabia about the new policy. Valte said that the Philippine labor department wanted to clarify whether the policy only affects new applicants and not those who are rehires and those who are already working in that country.
Some 1.3 million Filipinos work in Saudi Arabia, a major market for the nine million-strong overseas-based Filipino workforce. According to a Filipino workers organization based in Saudi Arabia, between 120,000 and 150,000 are employed as domestic workers in the kingdom. (PNA)
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