The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) placed more than 1.5 million people in local and overseas jobs in 2004 including skilled workers, graduates, would-be overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and displaced workers, poor students, out-of-school youth, persons-with-disability (PWDs), returning OFWs, rural, and migratory workers.

Apprised by the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE), Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas said the country’s more than 1,300 Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) in local government units and various schools nationwide placed some 672,351 persons in all types of jobs in the first ten months of 2004.

Meanwhile, the DOLE’s Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) also reported to Sto. Tomas the deployment of 871,700 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in emerging and traditional job markets worldwide in 2004.

“With these reports, we refute insinuations that the government has neglected its job generation targets, even as our offices have worked hard to ensure continuous responses and concrete assistance, achieving, in the process, job placements the year-round for Filipino workers both locally and overseas.”

Sto. Tomas cited the POEA’s preliminary report that the number of rehired OFWs in the land-based sector increased to 392,058 in 2004 from 272,373 in 2003, adding there were also 254,520 newly-hired OFWs deployed in various overseas economies. Earlier, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) noted the increased deployment of skilled and professional OFWs such as nurses, health workers, office and food service staff, and production related workers overseas.

On top of land-based OFWs, the deployment of overseas Filipino seafarers for the entire year also rose to 225,122, surpassing the 216,031 seafarers deployed in 2003, Sto. Tomas said.

The BLE, on the other hand, reported that the PESOs placed job seekers from January to October 2004 as follows: local employment — 504,429; overseas employment — 13,722; self-employment — 35,648; and training — 18,985.

The 672,351 PESO job placements in the year’s first ten months, on top of benefiting skilled workers, graduates, and other job seekers, also benefited some 99,567 disadvantaged persons including displaced workers, poor students, out-of-school youth, returning OFWs, persons-with-disability (PWDs), and migratory and rural workers as follows:

1) Some 2,131retrenched/displaced workers who were assisted, referred, and placed in jobs;
2) 800 returning OFWs who were assisted for productive reintegration into the local mainstream via job placement;
3) 72,429 students from poor families placed in temporary jobs to help them earn money to augment their tuition and educational needs;
4) 6,543 out-of-school youth afforded productive exposure through the DOLE’s Work Appreciation Program (WAP);
5) 1,282 PWDs placed in jobs, or assisted on self-employment, via its Tulong Alalay sa Taong May Kapansanan (TULAY);
6) 9,513 migratory workers in the countryside who were similarly placed in jobs; and,
7) 6,869 rural workers the PESOs assisted via DOLE employment facilitation programs.

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