SEEING the high demand for workers in Japan, the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental is currently strengthening its Japanese language and culture training program to equip Negrenses aiming to work abroad.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said on Tuesday the strong value of dollar over peso is currently benefiting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as well as local exporters.
Thus, there is a need to encourage more exporters and OFWs in foreign countries like Japan that provides higher wages, Marañon said.
"There is a huge demand for workers in Japan, but part of the requirement is knowing the country's language and culture," he added.
For Negros Occidental, the provincial government has a continuing program with the Organization for Industrial Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (Oisca), a non-government organization that operates a silkworm processing center in Barangay Tabunan, Bago City.
Through the "Study Now, Pay Later" program, the province and Oisca provide free Japanese language and culture training to Negrense health and skilled workers.
Karen Dinsay, head of the Negros Occidental Scholarships Division (NOSD), said the program which started last year has already produced first batch of 25 scholar-workers from the province.
Dinsay said some of these workers are about to start working in Japan next month.
Under the program, the province will shoulder the training and other fees, which will be paid back by the recipients within a year upon working in Japan, she said, reiterating that "the beauty of this program is that the payment will be used to assist another batch of recipients."
This year, the Provincial Government targets to cover at least 75 recipients in three batches, at 25 per batch.
On March 3, the province will start screening applicants, who are single health and skilled workers aged 22 to 29 years old.
A total of P5.1 million has been allocated for the implementation of the program this year, Dinsay said.
"We are expecting the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) to approve the supplemental budget request that includes the P1.7 million fund for the program's first batch of scholars this April," she added.