Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo, a solon who works closely with overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), says thousands of skilled construction workers are currently needed in Guam.
And the best part is, this United States (US) territory just happens to prefer to hire Filipino workers.
“Amidst the pandemic, Guam has provided working opportunities for Filipinos, especially in the construction sector," Salo, chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, said in a statement Monday, Dec. 12.
"We were informed that Guam has a backlog of almost 10,000 skilled construction workers. In addition, they will be needing an average of 3,000 skilled construction workers in annual requirement for the next four or five years," he noted.
Salo and a handful of members of the committee had just left for Guam in order to conducting a fact-finding mission on the living and working conditions of Filipino migrant workers there.
"It is very important then that we monitor and ensure that the welfare of our OFWs is taken care of, just as we endeavor to provide more work opportunities to our kababayans,” he remarked.
“Governor Leon Guerrero prefers to employ skilled Filipino workers for their ongoing construction projects in Guam, so we shall look into possible ways of streamlining the processing of OFWs for jobs in Guam, including the necessity of establishing Filipino migrant affairs office there,” the veteran solon explained.
At any rate, Salo noted that Guam complies with the highest standards of working conditions, as well as the $9.25 per hour minimum wage being a US territory.
"Other skilled workers are, in fact, given higher than minimum wage. It is a favored destination for both migrating Filipinos and OFWs due to its proximity and similarity of cultures. As of 2017, Guam’s population is comprised of more than 41,000 Filipinos or over 26 percent of its entire population,” he said.
Joining the fact-finding mission, which will run from Dec. 11 to 15, are Pangasinan 3rd district Rep. Ma. Rachel Arenas, who currently chairs the Committee on Foreign Affairs; SAGIP Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta; COOP-NATCCO Party-list Rep. Felimon Espares; and House of Representatives Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs’ Secretary, lawyer Christopher Lomibao.
“The result of the fact-finding mission would certainly help in crafting relevant legislation, or as inputs to the executive in facilitating and improving our government processes,” Salo concluded.