PHL and China agreement to open 10,000 OFW jobs, DBM’s Diokno says 

The negative impact of China’s one-child policy in previous years is now good news for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are facing an uphill battle in securing employment in the Middle East and elsewhere on the globe.

This was according to Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, who said China and the Philippines will be entering into a government-to-government (G2G) agreement on labor exports where around 10,000 OFWs can be hired by various companies in China.

Diokno said this is just one of the economic benefits of the Philippines with its renewed ties with China and the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.

“They are planning to hire our countrymen because we’re afraid that, [with] what’s happening in the Middle East, there’s going to be an exodus of OFWs. China is willing to hire our OFWs. It’s G2G [arrangement], not through a third party,” Diokno told reporters at a forum in Quezon City on Monday. “[Because of their] one-child policy, they might be able to use our surplus labor here.”

Diokno said, in order to sustain China’s development, they would need more workers, and Chinese firms are willing to pay more for this. He revealed there is already a talk that those working in Hong Kong are already thinking of transferring to China because of the higher pay and better economic opportunities.

He said sending foreign workers to China is already common, adding there already a lot of expats in various Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong.

Insofar as Chinese workers being hired by Philippine-based companies, especially those involved in the “Build, Build, Build” program, Diokno said there was no cause for concern.

The budget secretary said almost all workers, around 99 percent, are Filipinos. Only 1 percent are Chinese workers who are involved in high- technology machinery.

The entry of a third telco player, Diokno said, is also one part of these benefits. Mislatel, which was considered the only firm qualified to become the third telco player in the country, was a consortium between China Telecom and Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp.

“Of course the adoption of new technology…just the choice of the telco, for example, third telco player, that’s the joint venture between the Chinese firm, so we will benefit from this relationship in those terms, higher trade, exchange of manpower and the adoption of new technology,” Diokno said.

Apart from workers and technology, Diokno said, better trade relations could result from the renewed ties between Manila and Beijing. This augurs well for the country given that China is one of its top trading partners.

Based on the January-to-September data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the top 3 import sources of the country were China, South Korea and Japan.

Imports from China reached $15.629 billion in the January-to- September period, accounting for 19.4 percent of the total $80.665 billion total imports during the period.

In terms of exports, the top export destinations of the Philippines were the United States, Hong Kong and Japan. China was the fourth-largest export market, which cornered 12.9 percent of the country’s total export earnings in the January-to-September period.

No public-school teachers allowed

IN a related development, the looming deployment of Filipino teachers to China will be restricted only for those working in the private sector.

According to the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Philippine-China memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed early this month, public-school teachers are barred from being deployed to China.

Applicants must also have a bachelor’s degree or above from normal universities or in education or English language from Philippine educational institutions accredited by the Chinese government.

To qualify for the program, they should also possess the following qualifications: has not been charged or convicted of any crime or administrative offense; in good physical and mental-health condition; and other requirements mutually agreed upon by the Philippines and China.

It will also be limited to a quota-based system, which will be adjusted from time to time.

“The number of Filipino teachers of English language that can enter China under this MOA shall be based on the actual situation of market supply and demand determined through negotiation between the Philippines and China,” the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.

Qualified applicants will be employed in tertiary educational institutions in China.

The measure was imposed to ensure the program will not lead to a shortage in the country’s education sector.

The six-page IRR was signed on November 8, but was only made public on Monday.

But even with the issuance of the IRR, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said it may still take some time before the first batch of Filipino teachers are deployed to China under the program.

“We are still waiting from China the details of the first batch of applicants needed before it could be posted by the GPB [Government Placement Branch],” POEA Administrator Undersecretary Bernard Olalia told the BusinessMirror in an SMS.

The DOLE earlier estimated around 2,000 workers will deployed in the first batch.

According to the POEA, the number of deployed OFWs in China increased by 39 percent from 6,564 in 2015 to 9,166 in 2016. With Samuel P. Medenilla

 

 

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