In times of economic turmoil and mass layoffs elsewhere around the world, officials from the Philippines – a country whose economy largely relies on the remittances of overseas workers – hope to generate 30,000 jobs in Kuwait alone. Following in the footsteps of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Employment and Business Opportunities Summit held in Dubai in mid-April, Joseph Jimenez, the Philippine Labor Attach? to Kuwait, hosted a one-day job conference at the Costa del Sol Hotel on
Sunday to brief local and Manila-based recruitment and principal companies on the concerns and issues raised at the previous summit in Dubai. The event was held amidst global recession and continuing reports of companies being closed down and workers being laid off around the world.
The summit, which took place on April 12-13, aimed to assess employment and business opportunities in the Gulf countries, considering their major role as a labor market for Filipino workers. While there have been no reports of Filipinos being affected in Kuwait since the outset of the global financial crisis, around 5,000 Filipinos have been laid off in Dubai and more than 50,000 across Europe and the Americas and in Taiwan. Jimenez admitted that President Arroyo’s presence at the Dubai summit was aimed at
creating and generating job placements for Filipinos who were previously laid off as a result of the economic recession elsewhere in the world.
President Gloria Arroyo was really concerned about the welfare of overseas Filipino workers and it was manifested in the recent Dubai summit which she attended. Since she noticed countries in the Middle East are least affected (by global economic crisis) she wanted to make sure that jobs for Filipinos are protected and preserved here if not to generate more,” Jimenez added.
During the summit in Dubai, Jimenez pledged to generate at least 30,000 jobs for Filipinos in Kuwait this year. “For the last three months, we have generated around 12,000 jobs for Filipinos in Kuwait, so I think the 30,000 (jobs) which I projected for Kuwait is achievable. The Philippine labor attach? in Saudi Arabia projected to generate around 80,000 jobs for Filipinos in 2009,” he revealed.
According to Jimenez, President Arroyo has already reserved billions of pesos to train and equip Filipinos with the necessary skills through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)- a government program attached to the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment.
In Kuwait alone, we want to focus and generate jobs for Filipino skilled workers and the majority of the 12,000 jobs we generated in the last three months were mostly for skilled workers. Filipinos are easily trainable and as far as we are concerned we can learn skills easily for a job in a short period of time just like for the hotels and restaurant services now being dominated by Filipinos. We want as much as possible to shun away from dirty, dangerous, degrading, difficult and deceptive jobs,” Jimenez
Filipinos represent about five percent of the total 2.3 million foreign workers in Kuwait. As of today, there are around 130,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait; most, though, are in the domestic help sector. Jimenez also revealed that President Arroyo is expected to visit Kuwait after Philippine Independence Day in June or immediately after the local elections in Kuwait.
Repoted on Kuwait Times