TRANSPORTATION Secretary Arthur Tugade has reiterated his call to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to join the workforce of the agency, which is implementing several big ticket infrastructure projects under the government's "Build Build Build" program.
Tugade called on former OFWs to make use of available employment opportunities in the country and be given priority to work under the Build, Build, Build Infrastructure Program of the Duterte administration.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) chief made the call during the 2021 Migrant Workers' Day celebration organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), where he and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) to provide employment to OFWs displaced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This agreement will serve a dual purpose. First, our repatriated OFWs who are out of work will be able to work under the DOTr at narito sila sa sarili nilang bansa. They no longer need to go out of the country because work is here at home. Second, we will not be looking elsewhere in getting the needed workforce to finish various infrastructure projects,” Tugade said.
With many countries dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, the employment of many OFWs was affected, forcing them to return home, Tugade said.
In recognition of their sacrifice, the government reached out to the displaced OFWs and immediately offered them assistance, he added.
“Using a whole-of-government approach in dealing with this pressing situation, nagsama-sama ‘ho tayong lahat— ang DOTr, ang DOLE at ang Owwa -- upang makatulong sa ating mga OFWs. Ganyan 'ho pinahahalagahan ng pamahalaan ang inyong kapakanan,” said Tugade.
Under the agreement, the DOTr will provide Owwa with a list of vacant positions and skills required where an OFW can apply for work.
The DOTr will likewise inform Owwa of other projects that may benefit OFWs.
Tugade said 200 former OFWs now employed to work on the PNR Clark Phase 1 Project.
He added that 2,000 more available jobs will be made available to prioritize not only OFWs, but also displaced public utility drivers and conductors once the project becomes operational.
The transportation chief also told Bello his favorite success story about "Deo," a former OFW who worked as an engineer in Denmark but is now practicing his profession in the Build, Build, Build Program.
“Siya ay pumunta sa Clark upang umattend ng pulong-pulong kasama ang kanyang asawa at anak. Sinabi n'ya, ‘Handa akong magtrabaho sa Republika ng Pilipinas! Gumawa ako ng tren, subway para sa ibang bansa. Gusto ko naman tumulong at gumawa ng mga proyektong ito para sa kapwa ko Pilipino, sa mahal kong bansa’. Maraming taon ang kanyang iginugugol sa ibang bansa, ngayon nakikiisa sya sa proyekto ng Pilipino para sa Pilipino,” Tugade said.
He added that employment opportunities abound in the DOTr, where former OFWs can “work without leaving home” and at the same time earn a decent income.
“Nariyan ang mga proyekto sa riles, paliparan, kalsada, ports projects. Andito ang oportunidad. Pumasok kayo at gamitin ang oportunidad na nandito,” he said.