DOLE: Pact with Russia over OFWs soon to be finalized

By Analou De Vera 

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) expressed optimism that the bilateral labor agreement (BLA) between the Philippines and Russia will soon be finalized "in line with our commitment to provide protection and support for OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) as we continue to see increasing demand for our workers in that part of the world," Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement on Saturday.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III (ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN) Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

"Both countries are keen on signing a BLA amid the burgeoning requirement for skilled and semi-skilled workers in Russia," he added.

Bello announced in September last year that they will pursue a labor agreement with Moscow.

Meanwhile, the labor chief also said that 1,000 OFWs in Russia, most of them female household service workers, have registered for membership with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

"We are elated by their decision to register with OWWA as members, and as such will now allow them to have insurance coverage," said Bello.

"Their membership will also enable them to access free skills and entrepreneurship training, not to mention scholarship for their children, return and reintegration preparedness, and other programs," he added.