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1.28M Filipinos leave for overseas jobs, 1.17M repatriated in 2017

29 December 2017

The government recorded 1.28 million Filipinos who left the country for overseas employment in the first nine months of 2017 while 1.17 million others were brought back home for various reasons from different countries, mostly from the Middle East.

According to partial statistics from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), 1.06 million of those who left for overseas work from January to September were land-based workers while 22, 477 were mostly seafarers.

However, only 321, 345 of those who left were new hires. The rest were re-hires.

The POEA suspended the deployment of new hires for 15 days in November purportedly to control illegal recruitment operations involving certain officials and employees of the agency.

While Filipino workers continue to seek employment abroad, more have also been receiving repatriation and reintegration benefits from the government.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said 1,170,514 OFWs received welfare and protection programs, including reintegration and repatriation services from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in 2017.

From July to October of this year, 54,470 OFWs and their families benefitted from the government’s intensified reintegration programs, including skills training and livelihood assistance, the labor chief reported.

He said 36,438 OFWs, mostly from the Middle East, were repatriated and provided with on-site assistance and P20, 000 financial aids each.

A total of 9,512 repatriated OFWs were provided additional cash grants of P6, 000 each while 13,245 OFWs were given food and hygiene kits each.

In connection with the 90-day amnesty program of Saudi Arabia for undocumented and stranded foreign nationals, OWWA also recorded a total of 15,839 Filipino migrant workers who took up the amnesty, 10,011 of whom were repatriated to the Philippines.

The DOLE released a total of P514, 412,350.21 to provide various assistance to OFWs, such as food and hygiene kits, legal counseling and stress debriefing, medical and psycho-social services and training assistance.

Bello said DOLE sought bigger budget for next year’s repatriation program because the government needs to prepare for the possible repatriation of OFWs in Qatar and other Middle East countries due to prevailing conflicts. “The situation in Qatar is still stable, but we cannot just relax our guard, we are talking of 240,000 Filipinos staying there,” he said.

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