Thursday, February 18, 2016

Government has contingency measurefor jobless OFWs as oil price drops

The government said it is ready to absorb overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who will return home as oil-producing countries decided to freeze oil production to stabilize petroleum prices.

Saudi Arabia and Russia, two major oil producers, agreed recently to cut production to normalize oil prices that fell massively in the past few months.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda acknowledged the concerns of OFWs who might be laid off as a result of the halt in production by major oil producers especially in the Middle East.

"Well, ngayon po sobrang baba po ng presyo ng petrolyo per barrel, so may concern po ang ating mga OFWs na ma-layoff sila," Lacierda said.

"Siguro itong pagtigil ng—pag-freeze ng oil production is a way to stem the lowering of the price of petroleum. Whatever the case may be, the Philippines has been prepared for this."

He said that Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has already made proactive statements to make sure that OFWs will find assistance by way of looking for alternative markets and livelihood assistance in case they decide to come home.

"So we’re hoping that the situation abroad, the oil price situation will stabilize in a manner that will not exacerbate the anticipated situation of our OFWs being unemployed," he said adding whatever the condition the government is ready to respond.

Economists said the government must attract more foreign investments to enable the country to create more jobs and ease the impact of the possible return of 2.3 million OFWs in the Middle East that may be affected by political turmoil and massive decline in petroleum prices.

The government said that while it was a boon to motorists, the continuing drop in oil prices was a cause for concern because further reductions could discourage investment in oil exploration and affect Filipino workers based in oil-producing countries. (PCOO News Release)

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