The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Singapore conducted a webinar on virtual careers yesterday, November 15, 2020 via Zoom and Facebook. Participated by 75 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the webinar highlighted home- and internet-based jobs as among the best career alternatives for displaced OFWs and those returning to the Philippines for good.

Webinar resource speaker Ann Kristine Peñaredondo noted that having a virtual career allows one to work at the comfort of home, earn different currencies and serve different businesses. She said that virtual careers sometime create misconceptions, doubts and fears as they are novel and have not been fully explored yet by many people. Admitting that virtual careers are not for everyone, she, however, noted that many of those who chose to go into these careers became successful. Guest speakers and former OFWs Lyn Nafarette and Tina Lanipa shared how they successfully shifted to virtual careers, which allowed them to earn as much as when they were working overseas while staying and spending time with their families. Peñaredondo added that writers, accountants, bloggers, advertisers, bookkeepers, coders, software engineers, illustrators, videographers and many other skilled professionals can build their virtual careers if they so wish.

Labor Attaché Saul De Vries underscored the relevance of the webinar in light of the ongoing global pandemic, which has been causing the displacement of thousands of OFWs in Singapore and other countries. Virtual careers are alternative options for those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 as well as those who do not want to work away from their families, he added. ILS Executive Director Ahmma Charisma Satumba, meanwhile, said that virtual careers provide vast opportunities for OFWs and other workers as the market for virtual work is open, wide and empty.

The webinar, which revolved around the topic “Pano maging OFW ng hindi lumalabas ng Pinas?” (How to be OFW without leaving the Philippines?), was moderated by Assistant Labor Attaché Macy Monique Maglanque and Atty. Tecelyn Maramag. It was streamed live on Facebook and viewed by more than 1,500 Facebook users.