RP to deploy more than 1 million overseas workers by end of 2008

The Philippine Government projects that the number of Filipinos leaving the country for overseas employment will surpass one million by the end of 2008, the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney announced.

The Philippine Department of Labor and Employment reported that during the period January 1 to April 30, 2008, a total of 399,638 Filipinos left the Philippines for work in various countries, or an average of 3,303 Filipinos everyday.

The outflow of Filipinos leaving for other countries each year exceeds the number of those returning to the country upon finishing their contracts. There are an estimated 8.8 million overseas Filipinos working in 198 countries and territories worldwide, comprising about 10-percent of the total population of 88 million.

The remittances of overseas Filipinos to their families totalled US$ 14.449 billion in 2007, which exceeded the US$ 12.761 billion of 2006 and US$ 10.689 billion of 2005. The projected volume of remittances for 2008 is expected to exceed US$ 15 billion.

In view of the need to monitor the Filipino skilled workers employed in Australia, the Philippine Government assigned a Labour Representative, Mr. Victor Ablan of the Department of Labor and Employment, to liaise with the Australian Government and business sector and to “provide assistance to Filipinos who possess a visa which accords them the right to work in Australia. Mr. Ablan is expected to consult and cooperate closely with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship on all relevant matters and concerns relating to subclass 457 (temporary business) visa arrangements.”

Mr. Ablan will head the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Australia, which will be at the premises of the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney. Prior to his assignment to Australia, Ablan was the Labor Attaché of the Philippines to London and Dublin, and earlier to Hong Kong and Macau.