By Genalyn Kabiling
The government is determined to explore alternative work opportunities for local and overseas Filipino workers who will be displaced by the coronavirus-related global economic slowdown.
According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, many Filipinos may lose their jobs but can still be re-deployed to other industries that will “flourish” even during the coronavirus pandemic.
The reintegration program of the displaced workers will form part of the contingency plans being readied by the government amid the adverse impact of the coronavirus on the economy and the people.
“Sa OFWs, well necessarily dahil global and worldwide pandemic ito, maaring maraming OFWs ang mawawalan ng trabaho so instead of deploying them abroad, ano ‘yung industriya na pwede natin silang ipasok so even in this worldwide global pandemic, even in the situation in COVID-19, may mga ibang industriya that will flourish, na aakyat, na aangat. (Because of the global pandemic, there will probably be many OFWs who will lose their jobs. So instead of deploying them abroad, there will be industries where we can redeploy them. There are other industries that will flourish and grow even in this worldwide global pandemic, even in the COVID-19 situation),” Nograles said during the virtual press conference Monday.
“May industriya na maapektuhan so dapat ano tulong natin dyan. Ngayon ano ‘yung industriya na magflo-flourish, na aangat, na aakyat. ‘Yun doon tulungan natin para habang umaakyat sila, habang lumalago sila, habang nag-dedevelop sila then we can counter displacement dito, dalhin natin sa up-and-coming industries (There are industries that will be affected so we must help them. There are also industries that will flourish and grow, we should also help them so while they are growing and developing then we can counter displacement, we can bring the workers to these up-and-coming industries),” he said.
Nograles said a technical working group led by the National Economic and Development (NEDA) has already been directed to craft strategies on forward economic planning. The plan includes rebuilding of consumer and business confidence and the resumption of a new normal state of economic activities.
The task group led by NEDA will also look into the possible displacement of workers here and abroad as well as potential drop in OFW remittances to the country, Nograles added.
“So even sa remittances, how many OFWs will be displaced, how many workers may be displaced even locally domestically hindi lang abroad, kasama ‘yan sa pinag-aaralan (Even the remittances, how many OFWs will be displaced, how many workers may be displaced even locally domestically, not just abroad, those will be under study),” he said.
(All of these are based on estimates pero hindi pa siya solid figure. These are just assumptions and estimates pero it gives us as policy planners an idea of what to expect para maka-prepare po tayo so gaano kadami ang mawawalan ang trabaho, saan tayo hahanap na industriya o ano yung mga industriya na puwede pa natin palawakin para doon natin ilalagay yung workforce natin (All of these are based on estimates but these are not yet solid figures. These are just assumptions and estimates but it gives us as policy planners an idea of what to expect so we can prepare for how many will lose their jobs, which industries that can be expanded to accommodate our workforce),” he added.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said they have set aside a P1.5 billion cash assistance package for affected overseas Filipino workers estimated to reach about 70,000.
Under the program, the labor department intends to give a cash aid amounting to US$200 to OFWs who worker were affected by the coronavirus pandemic. To avail themselves of the cash subsidy, OFWs will be asked to submit their certificate of employment issued by their agencies, which will then be proceeded by the concerned government labor agencies.
More than 10,000 Filipino workers, including seafarers, have reportedly returned to the country since the repatriation of workers triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.