Binay lauds OFWs for propping up economy
Ghio Ong, Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - December 29, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay praised yesterday overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for propping up the economy and compensating for the massive underspending of the Aquino administration.

Binay, former presidential adviser on OFW concerns, said the remittances of workers helped drive the economy through domestic consumption of their families.

“Their purchase of goods using the money sent to them by their relatives abroad generates economic activity and that means profits for businesses and revenues for the government,” he said.

Remittances reached $20.6 billion from January to October, a 3.67 percent increase from the same period last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said.

Last year, OFWs sent a record high $24 billion to the Philippines, which accounted for almost a tenth of the country’s gross domestic product.

Binay, however, said if he wins the presidency next year, his administration would work to increase domestic jobs to lessen the number of Filipinos working abroad.

He said his administration would focus on strengthening the five biggest creators of employment, which are agriculture, manufacturing, mining, business process outsourcing and export to provide more jobs.

“We can then say that we’ll go abroad because we wanted it and not because we were forced to do so,” he said.

The Vice President said he would continue and improve the financial literacy programs offered to OFWs “to teach OFWs’ families to invest, and not to merely spend the money sent home.”

The Philippines is the third-leading recipient of remittances in the world after India and China. About 12 million Filipinos work abroad.

Job recruiters warned the people of a sharp decline in the deployment of Filipino workers abroad in 2016 with the implementation of the government’s no placement fee policy.

Many recruitment agencies also face possible closure as a result of the new policy, recruitment leaders said.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), recruitment officials said, has drafted the resolution prohibiting agencies from collecting placement fees to conform with the laws of some countries that ban the collection of such fees.

“The new POEA policy will discourage private sector participation in the government’s overseas recruitment program and force them out of business,” the recruiters said in a statement.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said she directed the POEA to come out with the list of countries that prohibits the collection of placement fees.

Under the proposed resolution, private employment agencies are prohibited from charging directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, any fees or costs to workers.

Private recruitment agencies could only collect direct costs of deployment such as airfare, medical fees, processing and visa fees.

“The new policy runs counter to the business of the recruitment agencies whose main income are the service fees and placement fees of the workers,” they explained.

But POEA chief Hans Cacdac said the adoption of the no placement fee policy is still under discussion. – With Mayen Jaymalin

ACIRC BANGKO SENTRAL BINAY FEES HANS CACDAC INDIA AND CHINA LABOR SECRETARY ROSALINDA BALDOZ PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATION VICE PRESIDENT VICE PRESIDENT JEJOMAR BINAY WITH MAYEN JAYMALIN
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