MANILA, Philippines — “HIRE FILIPINOS FIRST. Milyon-milyong mga Pilipino ang nawalan ng kabuhayan at nagugutom sa ngayon dahil sa COVID-19. Daan-daang libong mga OFW din ang babalik sa bansa nang walang trabaho. Unahin natin sila,” said Senator Risa Hontiveros.
(Hire Filipinos first. Millions of Filipinos are losing their job and going hungry because of COVID-19. Thousands of OFWs are returning to the country because of unemployment. Let us put them first.)
Senator Hontiveros slammed the government’s study on letting more foreign workers in for flagship projects, Wednesay, June 24. “Kailangan ng solusyon. Government has to step in as one of our major employers through flagship projects while we are in crisis,” she said.
The senator also urged the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to put together a plan for new investments that will generate employment for Filipinos and stressed on the need to prioritize agriculture, food, health and urban-rural transport networks.
“Siguraduhin nating may trabaho ang mga Pilipino.”SEN. RISA HONTIVEROS
(Let us make sure that Filipinos have work.)
On June 5, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported its highest unemployment rate at 17.7 percent in April. Senator Hontiveros called on the government to survey the population to address the unemployment crisis, saying that majority of the unemployed are health workers, engineers and architects.
In an article by Philstar, the government will be looking into proposals to allow foreigners working in state flagship projects to come to the country.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said an embassy ha requested for a report on visa holders performing work for flagship projects, permanent residents, retirees and special investors saying “It is now being discussed. This was brought up by Secretary Meynard (Guevarra) of DOJ (Department of Justice) last Friday.”
According to Philstar, the government has suspended visa-free privileges of foreigners to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Only accredited foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents; and foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals are exempted from the restriction.