MANILA - Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Hans Cacdac said the agency supports the report from Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) that there is no drop in the number of job orders from overseas employers despite the ongoing oil crisis in the Middle East.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Cacdac said the outlook even sees an increase in job orders this year compared to 2014 and 2015.
"For February 2016, ang outlook pa nga ay baka mas mataas pa sa February 2014 and 2015, with respect to skilled workers, semi-skilled and non-household worker type of job orders," Cacdac said.
This includes workers in the fields of engineering and medicine.
"Sa medical nurses, ang indication ay positive eh, kasi ang logic d'yan simple lang eh: whether or not there is a crisis, political or economic, there will always be a need for health workers. So, for all indications, positive signs that we are getting especially the nurses, ay merong hindi paghupa ng kanilang demand," Cacdac added.
Job orders for semi-skilled workers also include those in the construction sector, office and administrative work, managerial work, welders and carpenters.
"Ang tinitignan natin dito is, the host country economy is trying its best na maibsan ang negative effect ng oil price drop. So, in the case of Saudi Arabia, we can see that they are trying their best to maintain economic activities, projects, construction work... Kasi kasabay ng pagpapatuloy ng economic activities ay confidence, kumpyansa ng mga investors, workers du'n sa Saudi Arabia," the POEA chief said.
However, Cacdac admitted that even since last year, there are workers who are suffering the effects of the oil situation, wherein some are not receiving their regular wages.
The POLO has assisted workers in finding new jobs through the "Assist Well” program.
"Binabantayan natin ang sitwasyon. Di naman nating sinasabi na tuluyan nang naibsan ang sitwasyon... It's beyond our control... Nakikita naman natin na nagsisipkap ang oil producing countries," Cacdac added.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment said Tuesday that contrary to speculations, majority of the returning OFWs come home due to contract violations and not because of the oil price drop.
"We thought initially that because of the hype about the decline in the global price of oil, OFWs who would come home will advance this as reason for returning to the Philippines," said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.
"But the record at the Assist WELL Centers show otherwise. Majority of the OFWs who registered returned because of contractual violations by their employers, such as underpayment of wages, misrepresentation, contract substitution, and excessive collection of fees. So I have instructed the POEA to address these alleged violations by calling the attention of recruitment agencies that deployed these workers," she added.
Of the 163 OFWs who returned home in the past two weeks and were provided various assistance under the program, 107 said came home on account of various contract violations, and not due to dropping oil prices in the global market.