Labor ban lifted; Philippines ready to send workers to Micronesia
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Philippines is ready to send workers to the Federated States of Micronesia following the lifting of the deployment ban to the island nation.
"We are lucky in the Philippines that we have a very young workforce and they are very used to working in other countries,” Philippine Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said during his meeting with FSM President Wesley Simina at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on Oct, 13.
The Philippines has been the main source of construction manpower for the FSM. However, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration imposed a ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to FSM in August 2018 due to mounting complaints about labor abuse by local employers in Chuuk and Pohnpei.
Prior to the ban, there were 2,000 Filipino workers in the FSM. The Philippine consulate on Guam stopped issuing certification for FSM-bound Filipino workers beginning April 2018.
Marcos said the Philippine government established that the incident which provoked the labor ban was an isolated case, giving him confidence that it was time to lift the ban.
The lifting the ban opens another door for Filipino workers seeking overseas jobs.
“[F]or all of us with the things that are a little bit volatile all around the world. I think it’s important that we have the strength and relations and our partnerships around the world, not only in our region but around the world. So, hopefully that would be one of our main cornerstones, our main effort between our two countries is to find a way," Marcos told Simina.
Several infrastructure projects in the FSM were put on hold due to a shortage of skilled labor in the country.
The FSM has dozens of major projects under the government’s Pave the Nation initiative that involve the rehabilitation of public roads and bridges in four states.
The FSM has secured $75 million from the World Bank and $12 million from the Asian Development Bank to fund the government’s centerpiece program.
Yap has six infrastructure projects worth more than $80 million. One of the largest projects is the $37 million airport runway rehabilitation, which is funded by the Federal Aviation Authority.