Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said DOLE plans to limit the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to the Middle East, amid complaints from abused migrant workers.
“I received a lot of concerns and complaints from our Filipino household workers in the Middle East. This is why I am seriously considering, if not to suspend, to decrease the number of deployment of domestic helpers, OFWs, and skilled workers, especially in the Middle East,” Bello said in a media forum on Monday, May 8.
OFWs, especially those in the Middle East, Bello said, remain vulnerable to employer abuse.
But besides vulnerability to abuse, another reason to the deployment restriction is the scarcity of skilled workers — carpenters, electricians and plumbers — in the Philippines as they prefer to work abroad where they are paid higher.
“We are studying the level of shortage of our skilled workers in the country. Even I had experienced this. Before, I can easily get a plumber with much lesser cost, but now, even if you offer a considerable amount of fee, these skilled workers would ignore you. So we should now slowdown in processing the deployment of these skilled workers,” Bello added.
To address the skilled worker shortage, Bello said DOLE is fast tracking the training of skilled workers to better prepare them for better jobs and ability to demand higher salaries in the Philippines.