‘Lift OFW deployment cap’: Salceda tells Marcos’ DMW, DOLE appointees

House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Joey Salceda told incoming Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan Ople and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma to lift the deployment ban on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

(Photo from Joey Salceda's Facebook)

Salceda called on the appointees of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to lift the deployment ban on OFW healthcare workers and other high-demand field workers within the first week of the incoming administration.

“I appeal to Secretary Laguesma, who has been my friend since the Estrada administration, and to Secretary Ople. Just lift the deployment bans. It’s contrary to sound social policy. It’s also bad economic policy,” the Albay 2nd district solon said on Tuesday, June 28.

He is referring to the national government’s policy which makes it so that only 7,000 newly-hired healthcare workers can be deployed as OFWs annually.

Read more here: https://mb.com.ph/2021/12/10/iatf-raises-to-7000-healthcare-workers-annual-deployment-cap/

“When you think about it, the policy is hideous. Imagine forcing health care workers to stay at home and just suck it up if they have complaints about low pay here. If the point is to keep them during a health emergency, the best way is to pay them right. Besides, if you don’t pay them enough, they won’t work for our hospitals. They’ll just stay at home. So, as a policy, it’s set for failure,” Salceda posited.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is reportedly considering an increase of 500 to the cap this year, placing it at 7,500.

“Normally, some 17,000 to 23,000 health care workers leave the country every year. They earn around P150,000/month. So, you are foregoing some P18 to 28 billion in annual income for Filipino families just for healthcare workers alone. That’s earned income, not income we need to give in ayuda,” Salceda continued.

He also added that he and Marcos-appointee incoming Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla had discussed that the most effective way to address the depreciating value of the Philippine peso was through earning more foreign currency through OFWs and exports.

“That way, the depreciation benefits the economy. It’s not something that scares me. Depreciation has been national policy in so many of our export-oriented neighbors,” the economist-lawmaker said.

“When the peso is cheap, the easiest logical choice is to earn more foreign currency. There is no easier way to do that, in our case, than to allow OFWs to work wherever they wish. Labor mobility is a human right, after all. And in this case, it’s good economics, too,” Salceda concluded.