The Ministry of Employment on Labor of the Republic of Korea (MOEL-ROK) has commended the Philippines for its active promotion of voluntary return of workers and for rolling out successful reintegration programs, making it a possible reference in adopting return programs of other labor-sending countries under the Employment Permit System (EPS).
This was the gist of the report of Welfare Officer Manuela Peña of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Korea to Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, saying that the commendation was in recognition of Philippines’ best practices in complementing the South Korean’s effort to promote the return support program for foreign workers.
“The Philippines was commended for its major achievement of maintaining a steady percentage decline of undocumented number of Filipino EPS workers from 2013 to July 2016, reducing it from 6,548 to 4,962, or from 31.7 percent down to 19.7 percent,” Peña said.
In her report, Peña said the commendation came from MOEL Deputy Minister Jong-kil Park, during a meeting on 21 October 2016 at Royal Hotel Seoul in Myeongdong.
Labor Attachés of the 16 labor-sending countries under the EPS attended this meeting which aimed to discuss the current implementation status of EPS and the comprehensive sending system monitoring program for foreign workers in South Korea.
The Welfare Officer noted that during the meeting, MOEL Deputy Minister Park extended his sincere gratitude for the interest and continued cooperation of the countries sending workers under the EPS via the non-professional or E9 visa category, which are mostly employed in the small and medium enterprises in the country.
“Deputy Minister Park elaborated the sound implementation of the current implementation status and achievements of EPS, specifically the comprehensive monitoring on the sending process, active promotion of voluntary return to reduce the number of illegally-staying workers and the improvements in recruiting process,” Peña said in her report.
She also added that right after the discussion, Deputy Minister Park cited the Philippines for its exemplary performance and active promotion of voluntary return of workers and for establishing and executing measures to facilitate their reintegration process.
“With our country’s accomplishments, we have been called to present the Philippines’ policy and best practices in complementing the host government’s effort to promote the return support program for foreign workers,” Peña said.
She said that together with Administrative Staff Rene Mangune, they presented the paper on the Philippine Reintegration Program for Overseas Filipino Workers, enumerating among others the programs of the Department of Labor and Employment.
Among these are the programs of the DOLE’s National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO); the 2Billion Peso Reintegration Loan of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Land Bank of the Philippines (OWWA-LBP); the Assist WELL Program, and the investment options under the Pag-IBIG Fund.
Peña also shared that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
conducts the Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS) and Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS), and requires EPS workers to execute undertaking that as soon as their labor contract expires, they will leave Korea and shall not overstay.
The regular conduct of Post-Arrival Orientation briefing and Labor Education Seminar among EPS Filipino workers was also mentioned during the presentation.
The POLO-Korea delegation also highlighted in the presentation the active coordination of the Post with the Filipino community, migrant centers and faith-based organizations to conduct livelihood skills trainings, such as basic courses in baking and sewing, barista training, web development and graphic design.
“Because of these initiatives, the MOEL-ROK encouraged the other labor-sending countries to look into the programs of the Philippine government on reintegration for possible reference in adopting return programs in their respective countries,” Peña concluded in her report.
END/POLO-Korea Report/Tim Laderas