THE Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) assured Tuesday overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iran that there are job openings for them in case they opt to return home and avoid the escalation of conflict between the two countries.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said she has already instructed Dole agencies to map out all available local jobs in case there will be massive OFW repatriation from Saudi and Iran.
"It is true that holders of these jobs may receive less in salaries when they work in the Philippines. But their being in their homeland with their families cannot be equated with material value because the social cost of migration is incompensable," said Baldoz.
She noted how there are over 230,000 vacancies posted at the PhilJobNet, which is the government's online job portal.
"This is to allay apprehensions that OFWs, who return to the country, particularly those who will decide to stay for good, may find it difficult to find jobs locally, if and when they decide to look for one... Career opportunities are aplenty in the Philippines," said Baldoz.
Of the 230,000 jobs on the government website, 90,000 are overseas vacancies in countries that could be considered as "alternative markets".
Baldoz added that there are also livelihood opportunities that are available for OFWs looking to return home and become entrepreneurs.
Last month, the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia escalated after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in response to the execution of a Shia religious leader in Riyadh.
The conflict has led to fears that the security situation in the two countries would deteriorate, thereby endangering the public, including foreign workers.
Baldoz said she has already provided directives to concerned Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) to conduct a comprehensive profile of Filipino workers in the two countries.
"Because of the development involving Saudi Arabia and Iran, I have directed all our POLOs in the Gulf to prepare a very comprehensive profile of our workers and their occupations there," said the Labor official.
Initially, the Baldoz noted that majority of OFWs in Saudi and Iran are household service workers and other household-related workers, such as cleaners, as well as nurses, engineers, technicians, laborers, cleaners, electricians, drivers, mechanics, welders, waiters/waitresses, construction workers, service crew, carpenters, sales workers, supervisors, plumbers, painters, and machine operators. (HDT/Sunnex)