Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has made the country realize that it should not just rely on the remittances of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in order to boost its economy.
In The Filipino Times’ live streaming on Facebook titled ‘TFT Usapang OFW: Tulong at Serbisyo para sa bawat OFW mula kay Pangulong Duterte’, the spokesperson said that about 100,000 OFWs have already come home since the onset of the pandemic following job loss and retrenchment. He added that they expect the total number to go as high as 300,000 in the coming months.
“Hindi tayo pwedeng umasa lang na maka-abroad ang mga Pilipinas, kailangan maging mas reliant tayo sa ating domestic economy,” said Roque, adding that it is now time to plan how to provide Filipinos adequate source of income without the need to go abroad.
He also said that merely relying on the remittances of OFWs is not sustainable, stressing that there will come a time many Filipinos will be forced to return home once they have exhausted all their opportunities abroad.
“Dadating ang araw na kapag naubos na ang silbi ng mga Pilipino sa iba’t ibang lugar ay pababalikin din sila sa Pilipinas,” added the spokesperson.
Recently, experts noted that the Philippines has plunged into a technical recession, mainly due to the declining OFW remittances following mass retrenchments as well as the placing of many parts of the country under quarantine status. According to Roque, the country’s economy has dipped by 16.5 percent in the second quarter.
He added that part of the government’s goal is to provide jobs for Filipinos with compensation and benefits that can equal those OFWs get abroad.
He also discussed how President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘BUILD, BUILD, BUILD’ program promises to provide OFWs in the construction center a new chance to get a competitive livelihood.
“Para sa mga nawalan ng trabaho sa construction, ‘wag po kayong mag-alala dahil napakadami po nating ‘BUILD, BUILD, BUILD’projects na tinutuloy so kung ano ang trabaho niyo dyan ay gagawin niyo din sa Pilipians at hindi pa magkakalayo ang sweldo ninyo,” Roque underscored.