POEA: Deployment of Pinoy workers abroad down 99% amid COVID-19 pandemic

POEA: Deployment of Pinoy workers abroad down 99% amid COVID-19 pandemic

The deployment of Filipino workers abroad, both new hires and rehires, has decreased by over 99% amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said Friday.

During the House committee on overseas workers affairs hearing, POEA administrator Bernard Olalia said the reduction covers land and sea-based workers but excludes health care workers.

Olalia said the number of land-based new hires deployed in April this year only reached 47 or a 99.85% decrease from 30,592 same period last year.

As for the rehires, only 677 land based workers were deployed in April this year—a 99.48% reduction from April 2019 figure of 128,183.

The deployment of rehired sea-based workers likewise paints a bleak picture, with only 392 deployed in April this year as opposed to 40,597 in April 2019.

“The reason for being po is maraming travel restrictions, we had ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) and crew change that was not able to be implemented due to restrictions,” Olalia said.

Long time coming

The downturn in deployment of Filipino workers, abroad, however, started in January this year.

Olalia said that from 27,612 land-based new hires deployed in January 2019, it went down to 23,165 in January 2020.

In February this year, the number of land-based new hires deployed reached 30,583 or 19.6% less than February 2019 data of 37,833.

By March, the number of deployed land-based new hires was at 17, 139 or more than 50% reduction of March 2019 figure of 39,651.

As for the rehires, the land-based Filipino workers deployed in January this year reached 196,851 or higher than 185,150 recorded in January 2019, but this has since dwindled too as COVID-19 threat lingered.

The deployed land-based rehires in February this year reached 76,779, less than the February 2019 data of 92,196.

By March, the number of deployed land-based rehires settled for 32,553 or 56% percent less than March 2019’s figure of 74,356.

As for sea-based workers, only 32,419 rehires were deployed in January this year or 30% lower than 46,749 record in the same period last year.

In February this year, the number of rehired seafarers deployed reached 30,747—a number still lower than February 2019’s record of 39,515.

This was further reduced in March with only 16,260 rehired sea-based workers deployed abroad—a figure 63% lower than March 2019’s 44,854.

The said figures, however, do not include health workers whom the government banned from leaving to ramp up the health workforce in the country in time of the COVID-19 crisis.

Guidelines released by the government’s coronavirus task force in April stated that only healthcare workers who have signed employment contracts as of March 8 will be allowed to leave the country.

Based on Department of Labor and Employment records, at least 300,000 overseas Filipino workers have been affected COVID-19. These include those who were displaced, stranded, or infected by the COVID-19.—AOL, GMA News

First Publish By LLANESCA T. PANTI, GMA News
Read more at https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/pinoyabroad/news/739333/poea-deployment-of-pinoy-workers-abroad-down-99-amid-covid-19-pandemic/story/