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CBCP lauds PH-Japan labor cooperation deal



The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) on Monday lauded the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the Philippines and Japan, which provides for better protection on the recruitment and deployment of Filipino workers under a new specified skills residency in the host country.

“It is recommendable, very valuable and so helpful, the signing of memorandum of cooperation between our country and Japan for the welfare and well-being” said Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the CBCP-ECMI, in a statement.

Through the MOC, Santos hopes that OFWs who will be hired will be truly guided in the process of recruitment and deployment, and would be protected from illegal recruitment.

“We, at the CBCP-ECMI, are grateful and appreciative with their caring efforts to promote and safeguard our OFWs. With hiring of 'specified skilled workers' is recognition of the qualifications of our OFWs as highly knowledgeable, trustworthy and dependable workers,” Santos added.

Last week, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Japanese Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita signed the labor cooperation pact in Tokyo to strengthen cooperation against illegal recruiters for the smooth facilitation of sending and accepting workers from Philippines.

The memorandum seeks to establish a basic partnership framework for the "proper operation of the system pertaining to foreign human resources" with the status of residence of "specified skilled worker", who possess certain the expertise and skills in certain job categories.

The DOLE chief has estimated that Filipino workers would get at least 30 percent of the 350,000 available jobs to be opened by Japan to foreign workers effective April 11.

Among the specified skills include those in health care, building maintenance, food services, industrial machinery, electronics, food manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality, construction, shipbuilding, fisheries and aquaculture, parts and tooling and aviation.

Under the agreement, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will serve as the country’s premier agency responsible for the processing and accreditation of workers. On the other hand, the verification of skilled workers’ documents, coordination onsite and welfare concerns are under the supervision of Philippine Labor Overseas Labor Office (POLO) – Japan.

The necessary requirement to be hired as a specified skilled worker includes passing the skill level tests and Japanese proficiency, which will be administered by the Japan Foundation in the Philippines.

Workers, who will be hired as specified skilled workers, can stay in Japan for a maximum of five years under the Specified Skills No. 1 visa status and possible to receive Specified Skills No. 2 if the worker obtained a higher level of specialization.

As of June 2018, there are around 280,000 Filipinos residing and working in Japan, 34,003 of whom, are professional and highly-skilled workers.

Ferdinand Patinio /PNA