The government is working on possible partnerships with private companies in order to absorb returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), especially those who may be displaced by falling oil prices in the Middle East.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said this is also part of the Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) goal to give OFWs "ample and meaningful" job opportunities in the country.
"We just have to pin down which of our respective programs can be identified as possible areas of collaboration, develop OFW-tailored programs and services, and direct these to OFWs for their own choosing," Baldoz said in a statement.
Baldoz had earlier denied that there was mass retrenchment of OFWs in the Middle East due to the oil situation there, saying the reported termination notices being received by some Filipino workers are "hardly traceable" to the drastic plunge in oil prices.
MOA with Coca Cola
Baldoz issued the statement after the DOLE entered into an agreement with Coca Cola FEMSA Philippines Inc., one of the country's largest employers, on the joint development of new programs and initiatives geared for employment matching, livelihood enhancement and business training for OFWs.
"This agreement indicates that convergence with the private sector is important," said Baldoz, who signed the memorandum of agreement with Coca Cola FEMSA Philippines CEO Washington Fabricio Ponce Garcia at the DOLE office in Intramuros, Manila, on Tuesday.
She said the agreement will pave the way for the development of responsive programs on employment and livelihoods that will cater to OFWs returning permanently to the country.
In entering the partnership, both the DOLE and Cocal Cola FEMSA have expressed mutual interest in collaborating for the implementation of new employment and livelihood programs and activities especifically for OFWs.
Coca Cola FEMSA, one of the largest employers in the Philippines, is at the forefront of the beverage industry. It has extensive business operations nationwide, and has its own existing employment and livelihood programs.
Baldoz said that the DOLE is also currently pursuing similar collaborative agreements with other private sector partners, such as the Philippine Plastics Industry Association, Inc.; Philippine Association of Local Service Contractors, Inc.; Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Inc.; Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines; Aerospace Industries Association of the Philippines; and Ayala Land, Inc. —KBK, GMA News