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Philippine launches Migrant Workers Office on Guam

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

The Philippine government has launched a Migrant Workers Office on Guam, in response to the local government's request to speed up the processing of labor petitions.

“This is a huge accomplishment for the future of our island and economic prosperity,” said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.

“We can look forward to an expedited process for H-2B workers and move forward with military construction projects that have experienced some setbacks in recent years. I want to thank the Philippine government for supporting my request to open an office in Guam," the governor said.

The Philippine labor office was established following a visit in December by a delegation led by members of the Philippine House of Representatives Ron Salo, Rodante Marcoleta, Rachel Arenas and Felimon Espares, who came to Guam on a fact-finding mission.

"They listened to our government officials, local contractors, and H-2B workers and recognized the urgency of finding solutions to these issues. In concert with lawmakers, DMW acted swiftly in implementing these solutions,” said Lt. Gov. Tenorio.

“The shared history, cultural similarities, and short distance between the two countries make Guam an ideal place for Filipinos to work. The Philippines can count on Guam to protect their people as one of our own.”

Last week, Macy Maglanque, labor attaché from the MWO in Los Angeles, California, met with Leon Guerrero and Tenorio and provided updates on the initiative.

She said the Migrant Workers Secretary Susana “Toots” Vasquez Ople gave the green light to proceed with establishing an office in Guam.

Ople officially announced earlier this month in a press briefing that their country will open four new MWOs—one in Guam, another in Bangkok, Thailand, and two more yet to be determined.

“The Department of Migrant Workers is excited to launch an office in Guam where thousands of Filipinos have made their home. I had the opportunity to meet with Filipinos in Guam, and all have expressed their satisfaction with their living and working conditions," said Maglanque.

"Productive meetings with members of the Guam Contractors Association (GCA) and the Guam Department of Labor confirm Guam has a robust H-2B program that mutually benefits Filipino migrant workers and Guam’s people alike,” she added.

The MWO Los Angeles is working closely with the Philippine Consulate General to facilitate and push forward the establishment of the MWO in Guam. Once established, the MWO Guam will be under the auspices of the PCG.

“I want to thank the Consul General Patrick John Hilado for supporting our efforts in establishing an MWO in Guam,” said GDOL Director David Dell’Isola. “After a fruitful discussion, both parties agreed to also work on a country-specific employment contract. This will involve face-to-face meetings and working sessions to negotiate the contract details that will include provisions to benefit both Guam and the Philippines.”

During their four-day visit, the MWO Los Angeles team visited job sites, met with Overseas Filipino Workers on Guam, employers and contractors, as well as reviewed and approved over 200 job positions.

Maglanque and her team plan to return to Guam regularly to provide services while a new MWO is being established in the territory.

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