Ople eyes review of OFW hiring system: Bad employers have it easier
MANILA, Philippines — “There’s something wrong with the system,” incoming Migrant Workers Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople said about how “bad” employers seemed to have an “easier” time hiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“I want to review all the systems in place. Why is it difficult for good employers to get Filipinos in the same way that bad employers are, sometimes, they even have an easier time to get Filipino workers,” Ople said in an ANC interview on Tuesday.
“There’s something wrong with the system. So we need a systems review,” she added.
On Monday, Atty. Vic Rodriguez, presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s chief-of-staff, said Ople has accepted the offer to head the newly-created Department of Migrant Workers under the incoming administration.
Ople is an OFW advocate and the founder and president of the non-profit organization Blas Ople Policy Center, named after her father, the late Senator Blas Ople, who incidentally served as Labor secretary under President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
According to Ople, holding a consultation with stakeholders to create a “common vision for the department” will be her first agenda once she takes office.
“I want to have a co-creation phase with our stakeholders, especially the OFWs,” she said,
Changing OFWs’ narrative
Asked how she would address the problem of human trafficking and abuse against Filipino workers abroad, Ople said she wants to “change the narrative of the OFW.”
“Right now, hindi pa umaalis ang tingin na sa kanya [they haven’t left the country yet but we already see them as a] welfare case…I would like them to leave as dignified as possible. Na [That] it’s an informed choice, not a rash decision. It’s an informed choice to be made together with the family,” she said.
“So that mindset I want to bring to the table and I want to tell them, to OFWs, you are not, don’t see yourself as kawawa [pitiful] because certainly we don’t look at you that way,” she added.
Further, Ople said that labor mobility should not be viewed as a “bad” thing.
“Labor migration is here to stay. Labor mobility and there’s nothing bad with that. People go where the jobs are, people will go where their families will be financially sustained and resilient,” she added.
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