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PIA Press Release

Bohol ready for return of "retrenched OFWs"

by Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City (6 February) -- COME hell or high water, local labor and employment authorities have prepared for the worst, should Boholano workers abroad find themselves in face of the feared retrenchments.

Local preparations include stringing enough safety nets to catch homecoming workers.

Speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa PIA aired live over DyTR, labor department's German Guidaben and Capitol's Romy Tagaan detailed their preparations for any eventuality.

Tagaan, who heads Bohol Employment and Placement Office (BEPO) said 2009 would be a tough year [for BEPO] while they anticipate for the worst.

He told radio listeners of the Kapihan that the forecasted massive laying off of workers would put them in triple to quadruple efforts assisting workers land new jobs.

By that, he means pressing hard on giving free trainings, scholarships and skills upgrades for local and homecoming workers to easily allow them entry into newly opened job opportunities or technical assistance, should workers decide to invest in livelihood.

Aside from skills trainings to tool workers into the right jobs, BEPO also holds regular jobs fair and mobile passporting services, job recruitments, pre-employment orientations seminars and invites local employers to their job matching activities,

On the other hand, Bohol labor and Employment's (DOLE) authorities are strengthening the line with the National Center for Reintegration of OFWs (NCRO) to rationalize government assistance to retrenched foreign workers, adds Guidaben.

He said, "the NCRO processes homecoming displaced workers to present to the assistance packages readied by the government through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration."

Even then, both Kapihan guests agree that while global crisis is strongly felt in some economies, the Middle East has remained a ripe option for Filipino workers who might be caught in the economic maelstrom in specific economies in the globe.

This week, to help soften the impacts, President Gloria Macapagal Aarroyo has earmarked P1 B for a program she calls the Filipino Expatriate Support Fund (FELSF) aimed to aid displaced workers in the current global economic crisis. This is to open up another option for worker now wanting a business venture.

Working with the country's premier technical education and skills training authority to upgrade workers to fit into the global jobs competition, Guidaben elaborated that DOLE also impresses hope in the blooming local employment opportunities.

Aside from the potential menu opened for micro-finance with the government's economic stimulus package, economists have also expressed belief that the special livelihood and work package for out of school youth can muffle the impact of the crisis to the country's most vulnerable sector; poorest of the poor. (PIA) [top]

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