'Next president should have jobs roadmap' – OFW advocate
MANILA, Philippines – Two months away from the 2016 election registration deadline, OFW advocate Susan "Toots" Ople said she would like to see the next administration present a clearer roadmap in job creation.
"I would like to see a jobs road map. It’s not enough that the President said the OFWs are coming home, that more jobs are being created," Ople told Rappler in a studio interview.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Benigno Aquino III cited the return of 440,000 OFWs and an decrease in unemployment. The Philippines, however, still has the highest unemployment in Southeast Asia.
Aquino and other Cabinet officials say they envision a future where Filipinos would work abroad by choice, and not out of necessity.
"We’d like to see a breakdown of the data that supports that thesis, so that the OFWs themselves can start planning," Ople said.
She would like to see growth areas identified so OFWs can "put up small businesses, and maybe have streamlined procedures just to entice them to come home."
She added that she would like to see the creation of a Department for OFWs. Government agencies serving OFWs and Filipinos looking to work abroad are the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), Overseas Workers' Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Department of Labor (DOLE).
The locations of these offices are also spread across Metro Manila, making it difficult for job applicants and OFWs to get to.
Ople said, "It's tiresome even for us as, an NGO, to go to different agencies just to solidify what services an aggrieved OFW can get." – Rappler.com