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PIA Press Release

23-T OFWs come from Davao in past 12 months

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (13 September) -- The Davao Region for the past 12 months from June 2006 to June 2007 registered a total of 23,000 overseas Filipino workers employed in the different parts of the world.

Ron Lionel M. Bartolome, regional director of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA XI) said.

He said they derived the figure based on the number of workers that were covered by the health insurance through the OWWA.

On the average he said workers exiting the country from the Davao Region numbered about 600 monthly although he disclosed that last August was highest with 850.

He said this was because of the availability of jobs in Saudi Arabia for medical workers where the country needs about 5,000.

Bartolome meanwhile said that jobs related to medical remain in high demand also in countries like Australia, Canada and the US.

But Bartolome reminded that it is not easy for the workers to transfer from one job to another because this is prohibited.

He said one must first go back to his or her country of origin before it can transfer to another job.

Bartolome who was assigned in Kuwait prior to his assignment in the Davao Region said the OFWs face problems now and then while in the job site.

He said despite the new policy for post departure seminar given to them upon arrival in the host country chances they fall to the wrong hands and get victimized.

He said it those working as domestic helper that are difficult to address mainly because employers don't allow establishing contact with other people.

The only time that they know about the problem the moment there are distress calls, he said.

And in Kuwait he said about 7,000 cases was handled by him during his stint as labor attaché from 2004 to 2007 (April).

Bartolome also said that in Kuwait there are about 110,000 OFWs. About 65,000 of them are household workers, 10,000 are undocumented and the rest skilled workers.

He said that most of those working as domestic helpers in Kuwait are from Cotabato.

The OWWA Regional director also said that some of those working as household help possess high qualifications thinking that it could be a stepping stone for them to go to other countries.

He said this is not true because one could not just change visa while there from Visa 20 for domestic helper to Visa 18 for skilled.

One has to exit first to the Philippines and apply for a new visa, Bartolome added. (PIA) [top]

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