People power— Manila


With bleak job prospects facing its population, the Philippines has turned the search for work into an export success story by encouraging its most valuable resource -its people - to train abroad.

abroad, bleak, job, prospects, resources, work

On arrival at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino ­International Airport special treatment is given to one section of the local population: the Overseas Filipino Workers, or OFWs. As the nation’s most famous export,the OFWs do not have to jostle for space in the long queues at customs and instead glide straight through immigration via dedicated OFW-only lanes.

Since the 1970s, the Philippine government has offered training to Filipinos wanting to work on oil tankers belonging to Danes and Norwegians, construction sites in Osaka and in private homes stretching…

OFWs in distress

  1. The state-run Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has been helping OFWs in distress since the agency became operational in 1982.
  2. OWWA spent €1.2m on repatriating 6,125 OFWs during the first 10 months of 2010.
  3. OWWA spent €1m on repatriating 6,902 OFWs in 2009

Filipina economy - portraits

Andrea Ara Alshaer, 20, housekeeping, Tesda Women’s Training Centre
“If God lets me, I’ll go to Australia or Germany to find work – I’ve heard that they are good countries. I’ll be the first in my family to go abroad. I want to help my family financially plus housekeeping is my biggest interest. My three-year-old son will stay with my mum while I’m away – she won’t have to work any more if I work in another country.”

Clarissa Guiritan, 31 household course, Fine International Training Centre
“I worked in Israel for five years – I was a live-in carer in Haifa. Before I left for Israel I attended the household course at Fine International to learn how to clean and cook. We also learnt Hebrew and Kosher cooking. I’m going to work in Hong Kong so I decided to come back to the school. Cooking Chinese food is easier than Israeli food.”

Faye Nesiel Ogario, 17, food and beverage programme, Punlaan
“My mother encouraged me to study at Punlaan because I really want to work with food. I have plans to work abroad because there are greener pastures there. I want to earn money to help my family and relatives because our economy is not that good at the moment so they are relying on me. From what I’ve heard, Canada is a good country and I think Canadians are nice people. It’ll be an adventure to go.”

**Eden Camille V Calar, 17, food and beverage programme, Punlaan
“My mother is an OFW in Thailand – she’s been working overseas since I was about six. I wanted to study at Punlaan because the school helps girls like me to get an education. I love working in the kitchen. When I finish at Punlaan, I’m hoping to work at [Filipino TV station] ABS CBM where I have trained and then I’d like to go to Paris because French cuisine is very delicate.”


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