By Leslie Aquino
The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) welcomed the signing of the memorandum of cooperation between the country and Japan.
CBCP ECMI chairman and Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos believed that through the pact, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be protected from illegal recruiters.
“We, at the CBCP ECMI, are grateful and appreciative with their caring efforts to promote and safeguard our OFWs,” he said in a statement.
“With this, our OFWs to be hired will be truly guided for the process of recruitment and deployment. And so they will be properly guarded and protected from illegal recruitments,” added Santos.
Earlier, the Labor Department said the pact aims to strengthen the cooperation of both countries in eliminating malicious intermediary organizations, such as illegal recruiters, for the smooth facilitation of sending and accepting workers from the Philippines.
The memorandum also 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 expertise and skills in certain job categories.
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 contact points in the processing and accreditation while the verification of skilled workers’ documents, coordination onsite and welfare concerns are under the supervision of Philippine Labor Overseas Labor Office (POLO) – Japan.
DOLE said that among 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.
It added that 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 of which 34,003 are professional and highly skilled workers.