Palau is working on the finalization of the draft for the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)to come up with possibilities of easing application process of Overseas Filipino Workers OFWs) bound for Palau.
Justice Minister and Vice President Raynold Oilouch, in an interview with the media last week, said that earlier this month, the Philippines’ DOLE and his ministry had engaged in talks on the MOU.
Oilouch said that the DOLE had recently sent over the draft to Palau and it is now undergoing revision and also awaiting inputs from Palau’s national congress and employers.
“I want to get feedback from them (the national congress and the employers) before we finalize this agreement and get it signed,” Oilouch said.
The 2017 progress report of Palau’s Division of Labor (DOL) revealed that 56% of non-resident workers in Palau that applied for permit last year are Filipinos.
According to Oilouch, the idea behind the MOU is to “give confidence” to both countries that Palau needs labor from the Philippines and that the Philippines will provide labor without imposing so much restrictions.
Oilouch, however, stressed that the Palauan government understands that the Philippines needs to be assured that its people is treated well, adding that Palau does not want to be likened to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
“We’re hoping that once everything is agreeable to both sides, then we’re going to have it signed with the Palau and Philippine government,” Oilouch said.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has recently banned the deployment of newly-hired and returning Filipino workers to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) due to reports of abuses and maltreatment of its overseas workers.
POEA has cited reports about OFW maltreatment and abuses at the Chuuk State Hospital in FSM in 2017 which led the agency to include the health institution on its black list.
Late this September, Philippines’ Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello has announced the partial lifting of the ban after receiving reports from Filipino workers in FSM that denied such claims of abuses.
There are currently over 2,000 Filipino workers in the FSM. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)