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PIA Press Release

PGMA bares contingency plan to safeguard expatriates amidst global storm

Tacloban City (October 23) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in her speech during the Closing Ceremony of the 34th Philippine Business Conference and Expo on October 22 at the Manila Hotel, said that the country has contingency agenda for expatriates, despite the fact that the DOLE Philippines Overseas Labor Office reported that so far there has been no displacement of expatriates related to the US financial crisis.

The employment of the two million expats in the Middle East remains secure and the employment of 500,000 expats in Europe is also secure and stable so far, President Arroyo told the 3,000 local and international business leaders who participated the largest gathering of business people.

Besides, the President said, overseas employment opportunities are emerging in other expatriate markets like Canada which need 30,000 in the next two years; Australia which needs another 30,000; New Zealand which needs 10,000 in the next two years; and Guam which needs 20,000 starting 2010 when the military base in Okinawa, Japan begins to move in Guam.

The Government's contingency agenda for the expatriates include a 24 hours- 7 days a week heightened monitoring of overseas labor-market displacements; and monitoring of job orders for any decrease in overseas labor demand.

Also included among the agenda are: registration of Filipino workers "so we can get track of them;" redeployment of Filipino workers to emerging labor markets; continuous identification and development of new market niches; and assistance in repatriation.

For returning expatriates, should there be, President Arroyo said the government will conduct constant monitoring of job order of foreign principals. The government will also have an expanded livelihood and business formation program with a P250 million livelihood fund though NLSF and the Reintegration Center which has business counselling; will strengthen the reintegration services; and will register workers who will be displaced.

If there should be a recession in the US, the President said, the government will need a massive skills upgrading and retooling service and will continue to facilitate the mobilization of expatriates.

To be able to do all these, the President added, there is a need for strengthened partnership between the government and the private sector. (PIA 8) [top]

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