PH feared to lose $6-B remittances
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines stands to lose up to $6 billion in remittances this year as the COVID-19 pandemic that walloped the global economy might render about 400,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) jobless, Sen. Joel Villanueva said on Tuesday.
Villanueva, Senate labor committee chair, said the government should immediately intervene and come up with a comprehensive plan to help nearly 50,000 displaced OFWs who had already been repatriated.
He cited the need to conduct a labor audit to determine how many Filipinos, including migrant workers, would be displaced by the contagion and how the government could help them find another source of income.
“We want to know the situation of the OFWs. From what we have seen and heard in the news and in social media, they are really suffering,” Villanueva said in an online press briefing.
“Almost every day, we hear an average of 100 complaints [from OFWs]. [While] we’re calling them ‘modern-day heroes,’ do we really treat them as ‘heroes?’ From what we have been seeing and hearing, their situation is not good,” he added.
The senator noted that the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development had already warned that OFW remittances this year would drop by about 20 percent due to the pandemic.
Last year, he said migrant workers sent more than $30 billion to their families, or about 9 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
“How will it affect the economy? The government should help OFWs keep their jobs or find a way to get new jobs without having to return home,” Villanueva said.
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