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Arroyo: 500,000 job openings abroad

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 12:22:00 03/02/2009

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has announced that 500,000 jobs were waiting for Filipinos overseas, as she stressed the importance of matching workers’ skills to the demand abroad.

Citing a Grant Thornton business survey, Arroyo said, “Many Filipino companies will hire more people and raise pay despite the global slowdown.”

The job orders are mainly for construction workers in the Middle East although there are vacancies for “all positions,” including health workers, in Australia and Canada, Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said.

“I’m very glad to hear from [labor] undersecretary [Luzviminda] Padilla that there are 500,000 jobs available abroad,” Arroyo said in a speech Monday during the second jobs summit in Malacañang.

“The challenge is to match the job with the skills,” she said.

Roque said the 500,000 job orders have been placed with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA).

“These are already job orders for Filipinos… It’s [just] a matter of filling it up for the year,” he told reporters.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Augusto Syjuco advised Filipinos looking for jobs to train welding, roofing, carpentry, and tile laying.

A welder, Syjuco said, could earn as much as $6,000 a month while a butcher could earn as much as $1,600 a month abroad, which would be a fraction of what they would earn in the country.

Syjuco said that on Sunday, he talked with a female nurse at TESDA who was taking up welding to get a job abroad.

“Ang hinahanap ng employer ay skills, ‘di naghahanap ng diploma na nakabitin sa dingding [Employers are looking for skills, not a diploma hanging on the wall],” he said.

Syjuco refused to describe this as underemployment, when asked by reporters.

“It’s not under employment, it’s a situation where one discovers in her career that she prefers,” he said.

Syjuco said around 3,700 Filipinos have been leaving for jobs abroad everyday.

“The Filipino is the most wanted worker in the world,” he said.

During the summit, a joint communiqué was presented to Arroyo wherein stakeholders in the labor sector pledged to enhance skills training, make the hiring of Filipinos abroad easier, improve the welfare of OFWs, review employment contracts to enhance overseas working conditions, address the shortage of marine deck and engine officers, fight illegal recruitment, and improve the competitiveness of Philippine vessels.

One of the measures that will be adopted to make applying for jobs abroad easier is the setting up of webcams in DOLE regional offices so that job interviews could be done via the Internet, Roque said.

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Written by joelguinto

MonUTC2009-03-02T07:17:14+00:00UTC03bUTCMon, 02 Mar 2009 07:17:14 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am03

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