Amid the expected increase in the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in China, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is planning to put up a new Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in Shanghai.
More OFWs are soon expected to head to China with the full implementation of the country’s new memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government this month for the deployment of Filipino teachers.
Aside from China, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the DOLE is also targeting to set up a new Polo in Florida (United States), Berlin (Germany), Osaka (Japan), and Wellington (New Zealand).
“We have to immediately consider putting up one [in these areas] so they could help the [Filipino] people there,” Bello told reporters in a previous press briefing.
“We would implement once we can provide the necessary manpower,” he added.
Currently, China, Germany and New Zealand have no existing Polos.
The planned Polos in the US and in Japan will be the second Polos in the said territories once set up. In the United States, the existing Polo is in Washington, D.C., while that in Japan is in Tokyo.
Bello said they wanted to put up additional Polos in both countries due to the large number of Filipino seafarers in Florida and Osaka.
Initially, the new Polos were supposed to be set up this year, but Bello said the DOLE is seeking funds to bankroll the initiative. He said the DOLE hopes that Congress will have the necessary allocation in their 2019 budget for this program.
The DOLE is requesting for P126 million next year for its labor attaches, welfare officers and other personnel assigned abroad.
The Polos are directly under the Office of the Secretary of Labor. It acts as the operating arm of the DOLE for the administration and enforcement of its policies and programs applicable to OFWs.