Duterte: HK OFWs could be prioritized for teaching jobs in China

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President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech to members of the Filipino community in Hong Kong at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on April 12, 2018. (VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong could be “prioritized” if they want to apply for English teaching jobs in mainland China, with a salary of US$1,200 (HK$9,400).

Speaking before members of the Filipino community in Hong Kong, Mr. Duterte said China was going to import 100,000 English teachers from the Philippines. The first batch was expected to leave for the mainland by August.

“They will start to import 100,000 teachers. One hundred thousand. Yes, English only. China wants all Chinese too be English-speaking,” the President said during his visit on April 12.

“Those of you who are here qualified to teach, you might also be given priority. You’re already here. The English teachers. You are many,” he added.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Chinese Ambassador to Manila Zhao Jianhua signed in Hainan a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the employment of Filipino teachers of English language in China.

“This allows for the deployment of 2,000 Filipino English language teachers starting this year and will be valid for two years, subject to renewal,” Duterte said.

“We are still crafting the implementing guidelines for the first 2,000 English teachers,” Bello said.

He said the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) will handle the deployment of the first batch of teachers, but the succeeding batches will already be coursed through manning agencies.

“POEA can easily handle the 2,000. But China needs about 100,000 English teachers. For the bulk of the deployment, we may have to go through manpower agencies,” Bello said.

The bilateral agreement with China may be renewed after two years and outlines
the salaries, work hours, benefits, and other employment rules for the OFWs there.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Wan Chai is ready to endorse interested applicants from Hong Kong but the processing of their applications will be done in Manila through the POEA.

Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana earlier said the Filipinos’ good command of the English language made them ideal candidates for the position.

“The next thing that we want, that we are discussing with China is the whole issue of the domestic helpers because the Chinese middle class is growing. They look at what’s happening in Hong Kong and there is a growing demand for English-speaking helpers,” Sta. Romana said.

Manila is eyeing China as an alternative market for overseas Filipino workers after President Duterte imposed a deployment ban for OFWs bound for Kuwait after the gruesome murder of domestic helper Joanna Demafelis.