Local job placements breach .5-M mark

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday reported that a total of 526,274 job seekers were placed in jobs through the assistance of the government’s nationwide Public Employment Service Office (PESO) network in the first nine months of 2006.

Labor Secretary Arturo D. Brion said 442,229, or 84 percent of the 526,274, were placed mainly in local jobs, productive self-employment, and training from January to September this year.

Brion, citing a report of Bureau of Local Employment Director Jalilo dela Torre, said that the other 16 percent (84,045) found jobs through special programs implemented for disadvantaged sectors and persons as follows: poor students through the Special Program for the Employment of Students (52,713); out-of-school youth through the Work Appreciation Program (1,847); persons-with-disabilities through the Tulong Alalay sa Taong May Kapansanan (1,201); retrenched/displaced workers (1,462); returning overseas Filipino workers (455); migratory workers (6,935); and rural workers (19,432).

Brion noted that nationwide, the highest job placements were achieved by the PESOs in the following regions: Region IV-A or Calabarzon with a total of 95,846 applicants placed; Region III (Central Luzon) with 86,216; and the National Capital Region, with 52,931.

Brion was apprised by Dela Torre that the total 526,274 persons successfully placed in jobs in the first three quarters of 2006 accounted for 70.1 percent of all PESO job referrals, as well as 59.6 percent, of the total applicants registered by the nationwide network during the period.

The mainly local job placements were achieved through the active collaboration of the DOLE-supervised PESOs in local government units (LGUs) with DOLE regional offices nationwide, the private sector, as well as agencies facilitating local and overseas employment.

On the global front, the labor chief noted that the deployment of documented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) grew by 11 percent (98,388) from 893,073 in the same period last year to 991,461 from January 1 to November 18.

Brion cited a report of Administrator Rosalinda D. Baldoz of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration that the deployment figure is the highest registered so far, and now represents a milestone 99 percent of the POEA’s one-million annual OFW deployment goal. Brion said that the figure is short by only 8,539 of the one-million OFW deployment target well before year-end 2006.

Brion was apprised by Baldoz that the land-based sector continues to set the pace in global OFW deployment growth, with some 751,974 land-based OFWs deployed from January 1 to November 18 this year, or 11.5 percent above the 674,138 deployed worldwide in the same period in 2005.

On the other hand, the global deployment of overseas Filipino seafarers reached 239,487, for a robust growth of 9.4 percent from 218,935 within the comparative period.

Amidst the development, Brion expressed confidence that the OFW remittances to the country’s economy will approach the $13-billion mark by yearend. He cited the latest official figures of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas that global OFW remittances through the formal banking channels alone reached $9.11 billion from January to September 2006, or 14.4 percent higher compared to the same period last year.