Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 pandemic can take advantage of local employment opportunities or avail of the livelihood package offered by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

DOLE Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay stressed this during the webinar conducted yesterday by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Singapore and attended by more than 100 OFWs. There are job vacancies in business process outsourcing, information technology, manufacturing and construction sectors, which can be filled by repatriated OFWs, Tutay said.

“The Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector is one of the biggest employment creators in the country and it is ready to give OFWs a fresh start upon their return to the Philippines. About 35,000 vacancies in 38 IT-BPM firms are available for OFWs who wish to shift career to the sector. Around 8,000 repatriated OFWs have been offered jobs in the sector to work as customer service, sales and IT support staff; app developer and bookkeeper.” Tutay said.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the four pillars of Decent Work that include employment creation, rights at work, access to social protection and social dialogue. The Philippine government made adjustments in its programs to mitigate the pandemic’s adverse impact to workers, including our OFWs, Tutay added.

Meanwhile, National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) OIC-Director Roel Martin said that returning displaced OFWs can be provided with a livelihood grant of up to Php20,000 under the Balik-Pinas, Balik-Hanapbuhay Program. OFWs who formed themselves into associations can also avail of up to Php1 million livelihood grant under the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-Unlad ng Samahang OFWs (Tulong-Puso). OFWs given livelihood grant can set up micro and small businesses of their choice, Martin said.

Displaced OFWs may also avail of Php30,000 tertiary education assistance for their dependent children under the Tabang OFW Program, Martin added.

POLO-Singapore Assistant Labor Attaché Macy Monique Maglanque encouraged the OFWs to take advantage of the opportunities made available for them. Success comes through persistence, diligence and courage in pursuing their dreams. The pandemic is not an excuse for failure, she said.

POLO Singapore organized the webinar to inform displaced and to be displaced OFWs about their options in the Philippines.###