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2,000 Filipino teachers to be hired in China starting July

09 May 2018

By Daisy CL Mandap

A first batch of 2,000 Filipino English teachers could be deployed to China as early as July this year, as part of a deal to open the Chinese labor market to hundreds of thousands of workers from the Philippines.

This was confirmed to The SUN by Philippine Ambassador to Beijing, Jose Santiago Sto. Romana, amid reports as many as 300,000 Filipino workers could be allowed to work in China in a landmark agreement to be signed before the end of the year.

According to Ambassador Sta. Romana, a memorandum of understanding on the hiring of Filipino teachers of English in China was signed at the sidelines of the Boao forum in Hainan last month, where President Rodrigo R. Duterte met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The MOU was signed on Apr 10 by Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua. The Department of Labor and Employment was designated as the lead agency in the Philippines for the agreement, and will issue the implementing guidelines for the MOU. For China, the lead agency is the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.
Bello and Jiao sign the MOU in Hainan, in front of President Duterte and his entourage,

“(The) teaching contracts will be for 2 years and can be renewed. The quota for 2018 (from July 1st to June 30th next yr) is 2,000 teachers. We are still waiting for implementing rules from DOLE for other details,” Ambassador Sta Romana said.

Separately, the Philippines’ special envoy to China William J. Lima, reportedly told the South China Morning Post that up to 500,000 work visas could be issued to Filipinos as part of an agreement to be signed by Manila and Beijing by the end of the year.

The 300,000 workers will be new hires, while 200,000 other visas will be issued to Filipinos already working clandestinely in China, mostly as domestic helpers.

Of the 300,000 workers still to be deployed, a third could be English teachers.

According to Secretary Bello in a separate interview conducted earlier, China has vacancies for 100,000 English teachers. He also said that the Filipino English teachers to be hired under the already signed MOU will be paid a monthly salary of US$1,200.

The Filipinos’ known facility for the English language reportedly made them ideal candidates for the job.

To qualify under the MOU, a Filipino teacher must have a bachelor’s degree in English teaching, education or English language from Philippine universities accredited by the Chinese Education Ministry, and must have passed the Philippine Board of Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers (BLEPT).

Also in the cards, according to the Philippine government officials, is the hiring of Filipino domestic workers in China “because the Chinese middle class is growing.”

“They look at what’s happening in Hong Kong and there is a growing demand for English-speaking helpers,” Sta. Romana said.

Meanwhile, Lima reportedly said that there were still some small issues to be ironed out, like the type of health services that should be provided to the Filipino migrant workers.

“For instance, China offers a range of traditional medicine that Filipino workers might not be used to,” he said. “This is something we are still talking about,” Lima reportedly said.  “However, things are going well generally and I expect we can conclude fairly soon.”

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