'Liberating' news for Filipino workers

Liberating news for Filipino workers
Delmer Cruz, Philippine Labour Attaché

Dubai - "They (certified Filipino workers) don't have to take additional tests here or undergo further skills training."

By Angel Tesorero

Published: Thu 18 Feb 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 19 Feb 2016, 8:30 AM

The UAE and Philippines will soon sign an agreement on the mutual recognition of certification of skilled workers, according to former Philippine Labour Attaché Delmer Cruz.
Cruz, who left Dubai for Manila on Tuesday, told Khaleej Times that this is one of the legacies he left after his three and half year stint as Philippine Labour Attache to Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
"The signing will happen in March or April," said Cruz. "The agreement will cover all skilled and semi-skilled workers and its significance is that Filipinos who already got certification back home from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) are no longer required to get certification from the UAE's National Qualifications Authority (NQA)."
"They (certified Filipino workers) don't have to take additional tests here or undergo further skills training," Cruz pointed out.
Cruz added the UAE-Philippines agreement, which took them one year to negotiate, will not only improve the competitiveness of Filipino workers but can also pave the way for a GCC-wide recognition of Filipino skilled workers.
"The bigger picture is, this could be the first step towards a GCC-wide recognition and this will improve our labour mobility. The certification becomes a 'skills passport' for our workers who transfer from one company to another or move from one country to another," Cruz explained.
Aside from the agreement, Cruz said he left his post with a streamlined and more efficient delivery of services and better protection for Filipinos, particularly the domestic workers.
"I would say, without conceit, that I have left a legacy. Even before the suspension on the deployment of domestic workers, we were able to bring down the number of wards (distressed female workers) who sought refuge at the (Migrant Workers) Centre," said Cruz.
"When I arrived, the average wards at any given day was 100. They come and go but the balance was around 100. Before the suspension (June 2014), we were able to bring it down to 30-50 and now on the average, and now we only have around 10-20 wards.
"We've instituted measures to fast track the resolution of their cases through continuous monitoring and follow up with the appropriate authorities in the UAE," Cruz underlined. Cruz added: 'Aside from case management, we've also instituted reintegration program and 'up-skilling' of low-skilled workers, in accordance with TESDA standards."
Cruz said several domestic workers were able to acquire skills which made them more competitive and gave them the opportunity to apply for higher category of work and better wages.
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It was also during his term that online services for acquiring overseas employment certificate or travel exit clearances was implemented which streamlined the process and eliminated long queues at the Philippine labour office in Al Qusais.

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