VENICE, Italy – A bilateral agreement that would allow the entry of Filipino health workers to Italy is expected to be signed by the two countries soon.
This was the good news relayed by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to the Filipino community leaders in Veneto region during the joint celebration of the 114th Philippine Independence Day and Migrant Workers Day at Antony Hotel here recently.
Baldoz said her meeting with Italian Labor officials was successful. She said the two countries agreed to start on a “technical level”, which means the Philippines will be sending a team to Italy to further study the technical aspects of the possible agreement.
One important requirement for the Filipino nurses and other health workers is the sufficient knowledge of the Italian language.
Aside from this good news, Baldoz also told the Veneto-based OFWs of the improved services of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and its attached agencies—the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
This include the use of internet in processing documents of OFWs and the issuance of multiple overseas employment certificate (OEC) to all OFWs whose labor contract allows more than one vacation leave to the county.
Online transactions are now being readied to prevent "red tape," Baldoz added.
While the issuance of multiple OEC will give convenience to returning OFWs because they don’t need to go back and queue at POEA every time they spend their holidays in the country.
Baldoz also reported on the improvements of the country under the Aquino administration.
She enumerated improvements like prioritizing the sectors which are not included in the formal labor laws including domestic helpers; reforms, conciliations and settlements on all labor disputes; more foreign investors are expressing interest; GDP growth; tourism industry providing jobs; and giving priority to social services, health and education.
The convention held in Manila in 2010 which discussed issues concerning welfare of domestic helpers was already brought to the Senate for concurrence ratification after the President ratified it, she said.
Despite being a former "strike" capital of Asia, the Philippines is now regaining the confidence of the business community, Baldoz stressed.
The 6.4% GDP growth recorded was very satisfying compared to last year’s 3.7%. Last year’s GDP provided 1 million jobs, she added.
Baldoz is optimistic that the country’s quest towards progress will slowly be attained.
“Totoong-totoo po yun dahil kapag po may reklamo, inaaksyunan po kaagad ni PNoy,” Baldoz said.
The Association of Filipino Community Presidents (FILCOMPRES) was happy with the labor secretary’s visit.
They were also glad to know the developments back home. However, some of them said the hour-long speech just bragged about the Aquino administration's accomplishments. Filcompres President Joey Tanjeco tagged the speech as SONA (state of the nation address).
After Venice, Baldoz also visited Rome.