The Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is reportedly considering opening the country to foreign workers. A list of occupations for which there is a “shortage” of local people qualified to fill has been released by the DOLE…
Geologist – Geophysicist, petrogeochemist, petrophysicist, micropaleontologist, engineering geologist
Computer Numerical Control Machinist
Assembly Technician (Servo-actuator/ Valve)
According to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, it may be time “to liberalize the labor market and allow entry of foreign workers with the required skills so we can fill up those hard to fill occupations due to shortage.”
The DOLE chief explained that an occupation can be considered to be experiencing shortage when there is a high demand for the position but there are very few applicants, or when there are few qualified applicants compared to the number of available jobs.
“This is common in occupations which are numerically small within the total workforce, but the function is central to company operations such as pilot and geologist,” Baldoz said.
“Since there is a shortage, these occupations can be opened potentially to foreign skilled workers,” she added.
All this, amazingly, in a country burdened by a severely-idled workforce and a population of 100 million largely dependent on foreign remittances to prop up more than 10 percent of its economy. But then is it really just a matter of employing the vast pool of unemployed Filipinos sitting around drinking beer in the nation’s corner stores?
Most of the jobs in the DOLE list are jobs that require highly-skilled professionals that require huge sums of money to educate in the STEM fields (i.e. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). As such, in a country renowned for its pwede-na-yan philosophy, skills, are not a bright feature of the local labour force. Those who do possess such marketable skills are sucked up by the overseas labour market where these professionals are more highly-valued, as measured by the big salaries awaiting them there.
And whatever talented graduates the few good universities in the Philippines turn out who are willing to stay in the country are soaked up by the nation’s growing carpet of call centre and ‘business process outsourcing’ (BPO) firms which dangle offers they simply can’t refuse. Suffice to say, an immense pool of talented Filipino graduates who could’ve gone on to invent that longer-lasting light bulb and make billions for the Philippine economy are now languishing in little cubicles talking to whiny Australians about the latest iPhone plan in exchange for enough money to fund their latte and smartphone habits.
So tough luck. Commies like Elmer “Bong” Labog, chairperson of the leftist group Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1 Movement) can stomp around all they want crying bloody murder over alien workers “stealing” jobs from the hapless Filipino. There are deeper causes for the chronic idleness that has characterised Philippine labour for decades that simply cannot be solved by the idiotic notion of “creating jobs”.
[Photo courtesy PlanetPhilippines.com.]
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