News from home: Saudi hiring 1M OFWs, Maharlika updates, goodbye 'Eat...Bulaga!'?

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
News from home: Saudi hiring 1M OFWs, Maharlika updates, goodbye 'Eat...Bulaga!'?
View from Riyadh's Kingdom Centre-Sky Bridge.
Philstar.com / Kristine Joy Patag

MANILA, Philippines — From Saudi Arabia looking to hire more Filipino workers, Congress greenlighting the creation of a sovereign wealth fund, to the sudden departure of main hosts from 'Eat...Bulaga!' — these were among our headlines and news stories from the past week we think you should know if you’re a Filipino based abroad. 

Overseas Filipinos

  • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants to hire one million skilled Filipino workers over the next two years as the Gulf state addresses its “labor needs” in the hospitality, construction, and information and technology sectors.

    Saudi Arabia will be sending a technical team to the Philippines this month to discuss the program, while the Philippines looks for ways to enable opportunities without compromising the industries back home.
  • European envoys have raised concern after a Senate version of the Magna Carta for Seafarers scrapped the escrow provision, which would protect seafarers and industry employers from predatory lawyers who practice “ambulance chasing” or when lawyers encourage seafarers even with minor injuries to file for large settlements. 

    Ambassadors warned that without the provision, the competitiveness of Filipino seafarers — who make up about 14% of the industry — may be threatened.
  • Prosecutors have indicted eight people for running a human trafficking scheme in Pampanga, where authorities rescued more than a thousand victims duped into working in a cryptocurrency investment scam. More than 900 rescued are foreign nationals, while there were 465 Filipinos.
  • Workers who wish to be deployed overseas have been warned against contracting fixers to get an expedited release of their Overseas Employment Certificates. The Bureau of Immigration last week intercepted a batch of aspiring overseas Filipino workers who paid P500 to P7,000 for the bogus document, warning that its database is connected with the Department of Migrant Workers’ and it will be easy to spot fakes.

Work and the economy

  • Both chambers of Congress have approved a measure creating the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund, which is now awaiting the signature of the president. Senators greenlighted the bill in a nearly 12-hour-long session last week while the House readily adopted the Senate version.

    While the bill now prohibits state-run pension funds such as the SSS, GSIS, and the OWWA pension funds from investing in the sovereign wealth fund, groups still aired concern as this might become a new vehicle for corruption.
  • A Social Weather Stations survey conducted from March 26 to 29 showed that only 29% of Filipino adults said their quality of life improved in the past year, while 25% noted their quality of life got worse as inflation woes continue to affect most adults.

    Almost half or 46% said that it has remained the same. A separate SWS poll, however, showed that 42% of Filipinos are hoping that their lives will improve in the next 12 months.

Politics and the nation

You can view last week’s rundown here or sign up for the newsletter here.

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