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Global Financial Crisis Good for the Philippines

Back in November, I wrote an article“OFW, Good or Bad for the Philippines”. In that, I wrote about all the Filipinos that work abroad and how their remittance helps support their families in the Philippines. In today’s Sun Star there is an article about how the global crisis is causing more jobs for Filipinos.

I originally thought, with thoughts of the U.S. that jobs would be lost to Filipinos since work visas and work contacts cannot be issued if there were Americans that can fill the position. As company’s layoff and then rehire, Americans and legal residents would fill the jobs lost. I have also heard on the news, Americans who had lost their jobs in the mass layoffs were going back to school for training in the health industry. This would defiantly hurt all the thousands of nursing graduated with dream of working in the U.S.

Well, according to the Sun Star, one of the areas of growing employment is in the seafaring industry. Well-trained and English speaking seaman and Marine engineers from the Philippines are being hired.

“The pressure to drastically reduce costs has led some companies to accelerate their staff sourcing from countries such as the Philippines, which has a large pool of comparatively cheap, English-speaking, and well qualified sea-farers. As a result, sea-farers’ deployment increased by about 20 percent in the year through November 2009 despite the decline in cargo shipping,” the report said.

Other service areas are also seeing an increase in hiring’s, mostly for the Middle East and Asia. Once business enjoying this boom is the agencies finding the personnel to fill all these positions.

There is a government organization the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), part of the Department of Labor sets up the guidelines and restrictions for employees working abroad and licenses the agencies that hire. Most employees hired by an agency is paid through the agency. With this setup, the companies that hire the personnel pay the personnel. They receive the fee from the employers, take their share as a fee, and then pay the workers.

So, as in many cases, the Filipino worker loses. They are paid lower wages than employees in the country they are working and part of their wages are withdrawn by the agency. Some agencies offer to cover all the paperwork and transportation to the country of their employment and then have to pay the costs back with interest as in a loan.

Most of these agencies are in Manila just as the POAE office. So applicants have to travel to Manila to apply to the agencies and to get their permit from the POAE. Because of this, many qualified applicants can not avail of these jobs since they cannot afford the airfare and living expenses to travel to Manila.

2 Responses to “Global Financial Crisis Good for the Philippines”

  1. James says:

    Hi. I’m James from Davao. I’ve just started reading your blog. It’s great coz I get to see things from a foreigner’s perspective.

    My uncles are both seamen. They’ve been employed for more than 20 years now. Yes, they may get lower wages than other citizens and other fees of sorts may be deducted from their original salaries for the agencies…but, to sum it all…they still earn about 2 to 3 times an average employee would do if they worked here in the country. My uncle has got my cousins through to highschool and he’s even paid for part of my tuition in Medical School.

    It may seem to some that they are being mistreated for being paid lower wages but for us, Filipinos, we have grown accustomed to it not that we aren’t fighting for equality or something. At the end of the day, what Filipinos consider is if they’ve put food on the plate, dressed their children, made them go to quality schools, provided for their health needs, got extra for savings or travel…and they’re satisfied. If the relatively low wage provides for all this…we are happy.


    • Bruce says:

      I have a nephew who is a Seaman, actually a Marine Engineer. He has mentioned staff is being reduced. I realize they are being paid less than seamen from other countries, but that is why so many Filipinos are being hired. So it is good for the Filipino and their family. I am glad this is a way to support and educate their families.
      I just wish and pray for someday the Philippines and their people will be a better country and no longer a 3rd world nation.

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