MANILA, Philippines – Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III has assured that the government will exhaust all means to help overseas Filipino workers (OFW) regain jobs they lost due to the economic fallout brought about by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement issued over the weekend, Bello said the possibility of OFWs being rehired by their former employers gained ground with the reopening of many economies around the world amid the public health crisis.
“Many governments went ahead of us in easing restrictions. Their industries are almost fully operational again by now. They could recall our OFWs anytime,” Bello said.
If that happens, he said the labor department is committed to provide assistance required by OFWs.
The labor chief also assured the government is ready to discuss with foreign governments new policies on migrant workers in terms of the safety and health measures against the viral respiratory disease.
“They might ask more requirements from our OFWs like government certifications to prove they are not a threat to the health and safety of their people. We can do that,” Bello said.
He also raised the possibilities that OFWs could be rehired en masse by economies that are fast recovering.
“That would require transportation and if our OFWs need chartered flights we will do our best to come up with enough logistics for that,” he added.
Earlier, experts from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) noted the pandemic could trigger stricter health and safety rules among recovering economies against workers from countries with weak anti-COVID-19 system.
But Bello said there is nothing to worry about the Philippines’ way of dealing with the pandemic as the government has sustained a strong and effective response against the outbreak.
“The last time we checked our health system and responses to control the virus, we’re just doing fine,” he said.
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