Overly optimisticCebu Daily News
According to some government economists, the country’s economy has been growing steadily in the past few months that it won’t be long before the overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) decide to return and stay here for good.
But the closure of a Lexmark inkjet supply plant in Lapu-Lapu City’s economic zone which is seen to affect 1,700 employees may give official prognosticators some serious pause.
An Associated Press report said the restructuring is the second this year for Lexmark, a United States-based company, which is shifting from consumer inkjet printers to higher-profit laser printers and supplies for businesses and software services.
The closure won’t be completed until 2015 yet, but this early the people employed in the company’s inkjet printer business are likely seeking new jobs in anticipation of the downsizing.
It would go without saying that they would be given their severance packages but still the closure would be felt in Lapu-Lapu City for some time since the city still relies on locators in its economic zone to generate taxable revenue and jobs for its residents.
The Department of Labor and Employment should also step in to provide immediate employment for the soon-to-be displaced workers should they require such assistance. But don’t be surprised if they look outside the country for more substantial, high-paying jobs.
Which is why the assessment about the country’s economy and plans by the government to phase out employment of Filipinos as domestic maids or helpers is unrealistic at least in the immediate future.
A good number of the country’s overseas workers end up as maids in Hong Kong or some Middle East countries even if their academic and professional background qualifies them for better jobs.
In fact a lot of underprivileged students apply for scholarships and then work abroad to provide for their families and even the best projections by government won’t stop them from doing so anytime.
The recent analysis was in keeping with President Benigno Aquino III’s pledge to encourage the OFWs to come home and work here. But if ever they do return, it won’t be because there are many jobs waiting for them.
It would likely be by force of necessity since the US and Europe are closing down a lot of businesses and won’t hire foreign labor in their industries as they try to circle their wagons and ensure employment for Americans and Europeans first.
With employment opportunities drying up, most Filipinos including Cebuanos and Visayans would now consider local jobs to keep providing for their families.
The country still has a long way towards enticing its own workers to come home, but this early the Aquino administration should do everything in its power to make them want to stay home without sacrificing their family’s future.
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