The Philippines currently has bilateral agreements with seven countries in Europe which are seen to provide more employment opportunities for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Monday.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in a news release, said the latest memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed with the Romanian government through Romanian Embassy Chargè d’Affaires Mihail B. Sion to hire more Filipino workers.
Aside from Romania, other nations that have forged bilateral labor agreements with the Philippines were United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain.
The signing ceremony between the DOLE and the Romanian Ministry of Labor and Social Protection held last week is part of this year’s Migrant Workers’ Day celebration.
At present, there are some 1,500 OFWs in the host country, mostly employed in health and safety and transportation companies, which only contributes to about 20 percent of Romania’s total foreign workforce.
Bello said the MOU will significantly improve labor relations between the Philippines and Romania.
“Today’s MOU signing also manifests our governments’ common commitment to further strengthen our existing bilateral relations, particularly in the area of labor, employment, and social protection,” he added in his statement during the signing ceremony held on June 7.
For his part, Sion said the bilateral agreement may also help ease the rampant unemployment experienced by OFWs due to the coronavirus disease pandemic.
“Romania is a good opportunity for Filipinos to potentially work as hospital caregivers and skilled workers,” Sion added, noting that the country has a competitive labor market as several Asian migrants from countries, such as Vietnam, Nepal, and India, come to Romania for work.
He also assured that Romania can be a safe, good, and decent work environment for Pinoy workers.
“This MOU is a framework and a starting point for both the Filipino and Romanian governments to work together to ensure that Filipino workers are protected in Romania,” the Romanian representative to the country said.
Apart from creating more jobs for Filipinos, Bello is hoping that the agreement will also foster the exchange of expertise, good practices, and information between the two countries, particularly in the areas of labor and employment relations; social security and protection; labor migration; and occupational safety; among others. (PR)