Baldoz congratulates South Korea on 10th Anniversary celebration of the Employment Permit System

Date Posted: September 16th, 2014 01:15 AM


39,418 OFWs under EPS since 2004 Baldoz congratulates South Korea on 10th Anniversary celebration of the Employment Permit System Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday offered her congratulations to the government of South Korea on the occasion of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Employment Permit System (EPS), a government-to-government arrangement whereby Korean employers who fail to hire local workers are allowed to employ foreign workers in certain Korean industries. “I congratulate the government of South Korea for a running success such as the EPS. The Philippines, as one of the EPS-participating countries, has enormously benefited from this overseas employment arrangement, and I am grateful for this opportunity that has provided employment to over 39,418 OFWs over the last 10 years,” said Baldoz. Baldoz, as former Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), was responsible for the Philippines’s participation in the EPS. The project was pilot-tested in the Philippines under her term as POEA administrator. She has signed for two renewals of the Philippine-South Korea EPS, one in 2009, and the other in 2014. South Korea established the EPS in recognition of the need for decent work and employment opportunities for qualified and ethnically-recruited foreign workers for the Philippine economy, and to enhance labor cooperation between South Korea and EPS-participating countries. Baldoz said the Philippines is among the original six sending countries under the EPS, which has now 15 countries participating. “We sent the first batch of 99 OFWs to South Korea under the EPS on 31 August 2004,” she said. Starting with only US$500 salary per month, the salary of an EPS worker has double to more than US$1,000 per month. Ten years of the EPS and the Philippines has sent over to South Korea 39,418 OFWs. "We are fifth out of 15 EPS countries, but the reason is we did not compete in minor sectors, but only in manufacturing where Filipinos are most preferred," Baldoz said. "Also, the period of a Filipino worker's maximum stay of three years has been extended to four years and 10 months. He or she can also return to the same employer if he is sincere and loyal as when offered another contract," Baldoz added. The DOLE, through the POEA, and the Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor, through its Human Resources Development of Korea (HRD Korea), implement the EPS in the Philippines. The labor and employment chief said the DOLE takes pride in the success of the EPS for its accomplishments over a decade, which include transparency in the systems, procedures, and costs for the hiring, entry, and management of migrant workers. “On our part, we are pleased that under the EPS, our OFWs are protected and we are able to intervene through labor regulations, insurance coverage, workplace dispute conciliation, mediation and counseling services,” Baldoz added. She also cited that under the EPS, there have been improvements in foreign labor policies and migration management, including direct benefits, such as increases in minimum wage over the last 10 years; enhancement of automation infrastructure, such as online EPS information and employment status; computer-based test on EPS-TOPIK; and computerized bank account information to facilitate insurance benefits payment. The labor and employment chief also noted that EPS participation has enabled the country to benefit from the sharing of best practices on illegal recruitment; anti-corruption, fixing, and red tape; as well as of strategies to shorten the introduction period. “We have also integrated into our national reintegration program for OFWs the Happy Return Program of Korea, which involves skills training in Korea before an OFW comes home and a social gathering for them once they arrive in the Philippines. Those who return home from Korea also carry with them employment referral letters to Korean companies in the Philippines,” Baldoz said. Looking forward, Baldoz expressed optimism that the Philippines can have more women under the program and hoped for more improved labor dispute mechanisms at the jobsite. She also expected easier access of applicant-workers to regular skills test and online registration and payment, as well as to the regular and continuous computer based EPS-TOPIK. “We also need to have more effective control of the number of illegal stayers in Korea after their EPS contracts have expired, and we will closely cooperate in monitoring of EPS participants to achieve this,” she said, adding that workers who violate their undertaking to return after their EPS sojourn may face disciplinary action for violation of the Code of Discipline for OFWs. END

Created Oct 23rd 2014, 15:06


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