GOVERNMENT continues to drum up with glee the amount of remittances sent in by the brow-beaten "Bagong Bayani" overseas Filipino workers, while one particular presidential candidate has been drumming up the number of OFW he has helped bring home -- battered, raped, abused.

These two pictures put together give a glimpse of a scenario government refuses to acknowledge: Malacañang because this will mean a substantial reduction in the pogi points gained by an economy propped up by OFW remittances, and Mr. Senator because he is still part of the legislative branch of government and has done nothing more than bring home the battered and the abused, who will forever be personally thankful to him.

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This is a glimpse of workers in vulnerable employment, many of whom are OFWs skipping from one work to another just to have dollars, dinar, lira, rupiah, whatever, to send home.

The International Labor Organization (ILO), in its long-term program for decent work, is drumming up the concern to keep in mind and focus those who have fallen in vulnerable employment so that these people will not be lost in the general statistics of the employed and unemployed. They are employed, yes, but they are employed in situations that open them to abuse, to neglect, to the dire existence billions all over the world are suffering in. Even as their numbers increase, poor countries like the Philippines continue to send their workforce abroad to prop economies with remittances.

In the January 2010 Global Employment Trends released just this week by ILO it noted the increase in number and proportion of workers in vulnerable employment in South-East Asia and the Pacific as compared to 2008. It estimates some five-million workers having joined those in vulnerable work.

"This trend is to be expected, as many workers who have lost their job in export-oriented manufacturing cannot afford to join the ranks of the unemployed and instead will take up employment in the informal sector, perhaps working in agricultural activities or in informal services, such as street vending," the report says.

Somehow, this rings so true with our domestic helpers and health workers out there, where government doesn't see them.

The total number of jobless worldwide has reached 212 million in 2009 for an unprecedented increase of 34-million compared to 2007, the report says.

Of note is the increase in unemployed youth, which at 10.2 million was the largest since 1991.

Unemployment figures were worse in the developed economies and European Union where it jumped to 8.4 per cent in 2009, up from 6.0 per cent in 2008 and 5.7 per cent in 2007.

The trends show, that yes, workers are still out there, but there is a clear shift to the vulnerable sector, the unsecured employment, work at high risk of abuse. It also shows that our prime market for our skilled workforce are still reeling from last year's meltdown, and it's also saying that the youth are just as affected, if not worse.

Stepping further to get a clearer picture, we see very picture of our OFWs -- the young, the desperate to remain in a job abroad in the land of milk and honey and everything else that's white.

That's the very reason why government, especially the policy makers, should keep a keen eye not only on the increases and decreases of remittances but on those who fall into vulnerable employment just to be able to remit earnings for their families' survival.

As Lawrence Jeffrey Johnson, who directed the publication of the report, told ILO: "Before the economic crisis, the share of workers in vulnerable employment was on a downward trend in all regions, decreasing globally by around 4 percentage points between 1998 and 2008. Today, the total number of vulnerable workers worldwide is estimated at between 1.48 and 1.59 billion -- around half of the total global workforce. The number of workers in vulnerable employment may have increased by between 41.6 and 109.5 million from 2008 to 2009."

How many of those are Filipinos? The glowing remittance reports of government are not telling us anything.