Ossco a sign PH not ditching labor export?
LAST AUG. 15 the Department of Labor and Employment, through its adjunct agency, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), announced the formal opening of a One-Stop Service Center for OFWs (Ossco) at the ground floor of the POEA main office in Ortigas Avenue corner Edsa, Mandaluyong City.
It is true that the Ossco will greatly help would-be and active overseas Filipino workers avail themselves of much-needed services from various government offices in just one place, thereby reducing transportation expenses and waiting time to get all required papers for overseas employment. We are concerned, however, that the Ossco thrust is also an indication that the Duterte administration is not yet abandoning the government’s labor export program.
The Ossco’s main hidden purpose is to speed up the deployment of OFWs—be they new hires or returning OFWs or balik-manggagawa. With the government also set to eventually put up other Osscos nationwide, at various regional government centers, the record deployment of 1.2 million OFWs yearly, or of 5,200 OFWs daily may only be surpassed.
The Philippine government, labor department or POEA may deny that the implementation of the Ossco program has nothing to do with the intensification of exporting Filipino labor, but we won’t buy it.
We ask: Is the Duterte administration enabling the Philippines to absorb the millions of Filipino workers abroad, by transforming its economy into a labor-intensive economy producing its own goods and products locally? Only then can we say that working abroad will become an option and no longer a necessity.
—JOHN LEONARD MONTERONA, convenor, United Overseas Filipinos Worldwide, firstname.lastname@example.org
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