Deal to deploy 300,000 OFWs to China deferred

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Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

THE proposed bilateral agreement between Manila and Beijing to facilitate the deployment of 300,000 Filipino migrant workers to China has been deferred, according to well-placed source in the Duterte administration.

The source, who is familiar with the negotiations, said China asked for more time to study the proposal to open its labour market to Filipinos.

“China asked for more time to study and review the draft,” the source told Hong Kong News.

On Feb. 8, Philippine Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello said that the bilateral labor agreement between China and the Philippines could be signed this month.

But on Feb. 20, Bello told ABS-CBN News that the Chinese government might have a hard time explaining to the Chinese public the need to import Filipino workers.

“Politically, they might not be able to explain to their people why they are hiring foreign domestic helpers when many of their citizens need jobs,” he said.

The source said the bilateral agreement was originally scheduled to be signed in November when Manila hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit but this did not push through.

Bello said there are about 300,000 jobs for OFWs in China, a third of which are positions for teachers.

“There is a big demand for English teachers in China, because it seems the Chinese want their children to learn to speak English,” Bello said.

He added a teaching job in China could fetch salaries of up to P60,000 or US$1,200 a month (HK$9,300).