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Alternative markets sought for OFWs in Russia

Mayen Jaymalin, Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
Alternative markets sought for OFWs in Russia
Undated photo of Evacuated Filipino seafarers from the M/V S-Breeze docked in Ukraine arrive at NAIA Terminal 1. The 21 seafarers went to Moldova and then Romania before being repatriated to the Philippines.
Krizjohn Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will look for alternative job markets for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the economic sanctions against Russia.

“Depends on the skills and matching. It’s hard to force them into a sector that they are not familiar with and they don’t have related experience. That is what we are looking into, how to match their skills,” POEA chief Bernard Olalia said on Wednesday.

After the individual profiling of the OFW, Olalia said the POEA would start looking for available jobs and match them to the skills of the OFWs. He noted that traditional and emerging markets are now opening up for Filipino workers, particularly in Israel, Taiwan and Japan.

He said the deployment of Filipino tourism workers is expected to resume in April and sees the country’s overseas deployment to increase compared to the past two years.

Meanwhile, the Philippines reaffirmed its full support for the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) to settle the dispute between Ukraine and Russia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

“The Philippines takes this opportunity to reaffirm its full support for the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations,” the DFA said in a March 23 statement.

“The Philippines further urges Russia and Ukraine to abide by the decision of the International Court of Justice and to continue exerting every effort, short of the latter surrendering any portion or particle of a state’s sovereignty and the rights, privileges, and prerogatives pertaining thereto – war is not the worst evil nor is peace at the price of submission – to peacefully settle their dispute in the interest of upholding the rule of law and maintaining international peace and security,” it added.

The ICJ ruled on March 16 that Russia must immediately suspend military operations in Ukraine. By a vote of 13 to two, with Vice-President Kirill Gevorgian of Russia and Judge Xue Hanqin of China dissenting, the ICJ ruled that Russia “shall immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on Feb. 24.”

The court’s ruling – the first such verdict handed down by the ‘world court’ since the Russian invasion began – is in response to a suit filed by Ukraine on Feb. 27, accusing Russia of manipulating the concept of genocide to justify its military aggression.

Not an option

Neutrality cannot be an option in Russian invasion of Ukraine as it would consequently mean accepting Russia’s position and aggression, Germany’s top diplomat in the Philippines said.

“Germany’s position is that standing aside or remaining neutral cannot be an option in this matter of war and peace. It cannot be an option since it would consequently mean accepting Russia’s position and aggression,” Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel said in an interview on “The Chiefs” on Wednesday.

“And this is why we, Germany, and the European Union stand up in solidarity with Ukraine and fight not only for our values and principles but for the peace and security at the global level,” she added.

At a media forum on Monday, Russian Ambassador Marat Pavlov welcomed President Duterte’s neutral stance on the invasion of Ukraine, calling it a “balanced and wise” position and the relations between Manila and Moscow can still be strengthened despite sanctions against Russia.

The Philippines voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution on Feb. 28 condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling for the “cessation of hostilities” and protection of civilians. But Duterte said in a speech in Leyte that the current situation of Russian President Vladimir Putin is “hurting” him since he considered Putin as his “personal friend” and he refused to take sides in the conflict.

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