LOOK: Incoming Labor Secretary Encourages Local Employment Over Overseas

While working overseas has its advantages, the Incoming Labor Secretary encourages local employment for a number of reasons.

Seeking greener pastures is a phrase commonly associated with working overseas. In fact, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2020 pegged the number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) at 1.77 million. And while the data is lower than the 2.18 million that was reported in 2019, it still is a considerable number.

With that in mind, Incoming Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma—who was appointed under the administration of presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.—said on Tuesday, May 24, that he would “make a pitch” to encourage more workers to stay in the Philippines instead of seeking employment abroad.

Pros and Cons of Working Overseas

While salaries may be higher in other countries, Laguesma cites reasons like the “separation of family, too much dependence on foreign remittance, spending more than what you are actually earning and not saving for the future” as issues that come from working overseas.

“I will make my pitch on local employment because while I see foreign employment as providing us needed foreign remittances, I also look at the social costs that go with it,” he explains at ANC’s Headstart.

“My mission should be able to promote and create… more employment opportunities so that our workers will have the option really of choosing if they are staying with their families, maybe not with very lucrative salaries, but enjoying and watching the growing up of their children,” he adds.

Plan of Action to Encourage Local Employment

Laguesma also said that he was keen on turning Marcos Jr’s “Bayan Babangon Muli” campaign slogan into a “framework of governance” for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). However, he has yet to craft solutions to encourage local employment over overseas, nor has he created a plan on how to provide jobs for the OFWs displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For this, he further adds that he will coordinate closely with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and hold discussions with stakeholders in order to find solutions to labor issues in favor for both workers and employers. “DOLE is principally not a job creation organization. Our contribution would be making things simpler for workers and employers to accomplish, we’d like to deliver services promptly and correctly,” says Laguesma.

Gusto ko makita na ang department na magkaroon ng imahe na talagang nagrerespond siya. Maybe kulang ang resources pero the services are there,” he explains. “Workers and employers are not feeling left out o parang dinideadma lang ba, hindi pinakikinggan.”

[Rough Translation: I want to see that the department has an image that it is responsive. It may lack resources, but the services are there. Workers and employees are not feeling left out, snubbed, or unheard.]

The incoming secretary adds that this will also mean ease of doing business. “We are contributory to a friendly environment that will encourage existing investors to invest more and probably attract other investors,” he adds, ending with “Walang [there is no] magic wand. There must be a balance.”

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