Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
Philippine Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz will be in Doha for a three-day visit from November 21, to inaugurate the new Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) building, Ambassador Crescente Relacion told Gulf Times.
The labour secretary will also have a dialogue with officials and members of various Filipino organisations in Qatar before attending a conference in Kuwait.
A number of officials from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will join Baldoz during her visit.
Opened early this year, the new POLO building in Jelaiah area, houses other attached Philippine government agencies such as the Home Development Mutual Fund as well as the Social Security System.
With the ongoing massive infrastructure projects in the country, Baldoz hopes to find more opportunities for Filipino workers and professionals who want to seek greener pastures abroad.
Citing a record from the Ministry of Interior, the embassy estimates that around 200,000 Filipinos are now working in Qatar.
The labour secretary is also expected to meet officials and representatives of various recruitment and manpower agencies (with Philippine counterparts), to discuss different issues, concerns and challenges in the industry.
Asked if “contract switching’ and other irregularities in the recruitment of Filipino workers will be tackled at the dialogue, Relacion said such issues will be discussed during the Qatar-Philippines Joint Labour Committee. The ambassador hopes the meeting will convene before he leaves the country in March 2015.
He also hopes a provision in the bilateral labour agreement signed in 2007 between the two countries, will be implemented to further protect Filipino workers especially labourers and low-income earners from “contract switching.”
Labour Attache Leopoldo De Jesus said Baldoz wants to thank the agencies for their help in facilitating the recruitment of more workers from the Philippines.
He believes the visit will be a good opportunity for stakeholders to speak with the secretary.
Baldoz will fly to Oman after her visit to Qatar, and thereafter to Kuwait to attend the Abu Dhabi dialogue. She will then visit other GCC countries such as Bahrain and UAE, where she will have stops in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The Department of Labour and Employment in the Philippines earlier disclosed that it was pursuing new bilateral agreements with at least nine countries including Qatar, a report in The Philippine Star has revealed.
Baldoz hopes to forge new agreements with Italy, Bahrain, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Canada, Switzerland, Oman and Qatar. She considers these countries as among the top and emerging destinations for workers.
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