RP, Canada renew OFW deployment agreement

September 22, 2010 10:09 am 

MANILA, Sept. 21 — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Tuesday signed a renewed Memorandum of Understanding with Department of Labour and Immigration (LIM) of the Province of Manitoba, Canada concerning cooperation in human resource deployment and development.

“This MOU is closely aligned to the overarching goal of President Benigno S. Aquino III to invest and develop our human resources to make us more competitive and employable. It is also in line with the 22-point labor and employment agenda which, among others, calls for expanded protection of our OFWs,” Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said.

She signed the MOU on behalf of the Philippines while Premier Greg Selinger signed on behalf of Manitoba in a simple ceremony in Makati City. The two officials later held a press conference to announce the MOU’s signing.

Mr. Selinger flew in to Manila not just to sign the MOU but also to lead a delegation of Manitobans that would like to explore trade, investment, and cultural cooperation with the Philippines.

The MOU, a follow-through of the initial MOU signed by the DOLE and Manitoba in 2008, provides a framework for the partnership and collaboration between the Philippines and Manitoba in the recruitment and deployment of skilled OFWs to Manitoba, in their protection, and in the further development of human resources.

She said that with the MOU, the recruitment and deployment of OFWs to Manitoba that began in 2008 will be sustained, adding it is a testimony to the continued preference of Manitoba employers for OFWs and the latter’s world-class competitiveness and superior work ethics.

The RP-Manitoba MOU clarifies the current intentions of the DOLE and LIM to promote and strengthen areas of cooperation in the fields of ethical and safe employment and human resource development.

Under the MOU, both parties will work together to enable Filipino workers to enter Manitoba under a process that is effective and clearly communicated to employers and workers alike.

The shared priorities for collaboration and cooperation under the new MOU include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Ensure that the need of Manitoba employers for Filipino workers with appropriate skills are met through training and credential-recognition activities;

(2) Expedite the approval of selected workers for employment opportunities in Manitoba, including efforts to support the work of the Canadian visa office in Manila it the processing of worker workers’ permits and visas;

(3) Promote sound, ethical, and equitable recruitment and employment practices;

(4) Share information to support initiatives, subject to privacy laws of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of Manitoba, Canada; and

(5) On prior agreement, explore the role for the International Organization for Migration to support the foregoing initiatives.

Both parties to the MOU also agree to regularly determine other priority areas for collaboration and cooperation.

Data showed that under the RP-Manitoba agreement, 91 OFWs were deployed to Manitoba in 2008. Deployment rose to 162 in 2009, which was 44 percent higher than the 2008 deployment.

Of the total deployed in 2009, 61 percent were nurses, 23 percent were production workers, and 16 percent were service workers.

The labor and employment chief said that with the new RP-Manitoba agreement and the improving world economy, more OFWs may be deployed to Manitoba starting this year, adding Filipino workers from the health, agricultural production, hotel, and restaurant and construction sectors will continue to be in demand in Manitoba.

“We hope that the MOU will result not only to the increased protection of Filipino workers being deployed to Manitoba, but more importantly, to the facilitation of the recruitment and hiring process, which in turn would enable the Philippines to get a bigger share of the projected demand of Manitoba for approximately 20,000 workers by 2016,” Baldoz said.

In pursuing the areas of collaboration and cooperation under the MOU the DOLE and the LIM agree to act in compliance with their respective laws and regulations, such as The Employment Standards Code, The Worker Recruitment and Protection Act, and The Workplace Safety and Health Act on the part of Manitoba; and the Philippine Labor Code, as amended, and the 2002 POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Land-Based Overseas Workers implementing R. A. 8042, as well as amendments to such legislation on the part of the Philippines. (PNA) LOR/MPC

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