South Korea lauds PHL efforts to reduce number of undocumented OFWs
The South Korean government has lauded the Philippines for its efforts to reduce the number of undocumented Filipinos in South Korea as well as its promotion of voluntary return programs.
Deputy Minister Jong-kil Park of the Ministry of Employment on Labor of the Republic of Korea (MOEL-ROK) commended the Philippines for reducing the number of undocumented number of Filipino EPS workers from 6,548 in 2013 to 4,962 in 2016.
Park also called on the Philippines to present its OFW reintegration programs to 15 other countries under South Korea's Employment Permit System (EPS).
Welfare Officer Manuela Peña of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) explained, “With our country’s accomplishments, we have been called to present the Philippines’ policy and best practices in complementing the host government’s effort to promote the return support program for foreign workers."
EPS Filipino workers are required to undertake the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) and Labor Education Seminar upon their arrival.
They may avail of their share of the P2 billion Peso Reintegration Loan of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Land Bank of the Philippines.
Filipinos could also take advantage of the Assist WELL Program, and investment options under the Pag-IBIG Fund.
Earlier this year, OWWA-LBP also offered EPS Filipino workers a loan assistance program that can help pay up to P52,000 of their pre-departure fees and assist their relatives until they can remit.
“Because of these initiatives, the MOEL-ROK encouraged the other labor-sending countries to look into the programs of the Philippine government on reintegration for possible reference in adopting return programs in their respective countries,” Peña concluded.
The Philippines is one of the original six countries that signed the EPS agreement with MOEL in April 2004. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News