By Teofilo P. Garcia
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 28 — Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) under Acting Gov. Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong are undertaking active initiatives to curb the problem of unemployment, including displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the autonomous region.
ARMM Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Myra Alih said her agency is on the verge of carrying out the mandate of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the Adiong administration forged recently with G-20, a Malaysian pool of recruitment agencies concerning hiring of Filipino household workers in Malaysia.
Alih disclosed that the first batch of hired workers from ARMM would be deployed to Malaysia after the fasting month of Ramadhan and each of them is assured of US$ 300 monthly pay with accommodation perks.
Take note that we are now using the term household workers, not domestic helpers, because we would like to give them due dignity. These workers will undergo rigid training and screening at the regional level and another two weeks of rigid training in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Alih said.
Alih explained that these trainings are meant to avoid abuses of employers usually provoked by incompetent workers.
There are already 1,000 job orders with ready passport for Kuala Lumpur for Muslim women household workers from the ARMM with a minimum pay equivalent to 300 U.S. dollars, she added.
Alih said that a job seeker under the MOU must be 23 years old or above and preferably a graduate of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Housekeeping course or a former OFW worker.
Under the MOU, at least 36,000 prospective job seekers would be hired from the areas of ARMM alone, Alih said, hinting the growing confidence of local and foreign entities over the present ARMM leadership.
She assured that no placement fees will be charged except that the qualified applicants will only pay for their required medical certificates and passports.
She asked applicants to go to any DOLE-ARMM offices in the ARMM and fill up and submit their application forms together with their passports for former OFWs and their NC2 certificates for TESDA graduates.
We have already an ongoing assessment and validation of qualified applicants now and hopefully after the Ramadan we will already be sending initial batches of workers to Kuala Lumpur, Alih said.
She said they will launch "a one-stop shop center in our office wherein we will tie up with other concerned offices to shorten the time and make it more economical for our applicants to process their needed documents."
We are also lobbying in the Malaysian Embassy her in the Philippines to accredit our local hospitals in the region so that our applicants can easily get medical requirements, she said.
Alih said that DOLE-ARMM will also provide a feedback mechanism to monitor and secure the safety of the household workers from the autonomous region.
She assured applicants that through this initiative, workers will be guaranteed of a more secure and rewarding job opportunity.
She also explained that employers will pay for expenses all the way from ARMM to Kuala Lumpur and that Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards will be provided to the workers and their families for remittance purposes.
Food and culture in Kuala Lumpur is almost similar to ours in the ARMM so we are very confident of this employment initiative of the regional government, Alih explained. (PNA) scs/TPGarcia/rsm