09/04/2014, 00.00
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Manila, the Church launches job training program to stop the exodus of Filipinos

Because of rising unemployment, more than 13 million citizens live abroad and send a portion of their salary at home. To stimulate the relatives of these people to become independent, the Philippine Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People has devised a series of job training initiatives. Starting with Mindanao and Luzon.

Manila (AsiaNews) - In an attempt to empower the families of those who live and work abroad, the Philippine Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People has decided to launch a series of job training programs for less affluent families in Luzon and Mindanao. The President of the Commission and the Bishop of Balanga, Msgr. Ruperto C. Santos, announced the  initiative in an interview with Radio Veritas. The programs aim to "improve the capabilities of these people, freeing them from dependence on remittances from abroad".

According to the Commission on Overseas Filipinos (CFO), there are approximately 13 million recorded Filipino citizens abroad to date, no less than 2.2 million of whom the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) identifies as OFWs or migrant workers. However, it is highly likely that many more are working abroad, but "not registered for legal reasons or labor exploitation". Economists point the finger at the national unemployment in the Philippines, which effectively "compels job seekers to leave."

The other side of this coin is represented by the families of these workers, who are becoming increasingly dependent on the salaries they receive from their loved ones. According to Msgr. Santos, the purpose of the program is precisely to "improve the earning capacity of these people and their lifestyle. We are in contact with the Governmental Authority for technical education and other organizations, which will provide the materials for the courses and indicate the priorities to be followed".

For now the programs will concentrate on Mindanao and Luzon, but "by November they will be expanded to include the dioceses of Dipolog, Pagadian, Iligan and Ozamiz. The ultimate desire is that in the future, Filipinos will not have to leave their loved ones behind to seek greener pastures overseas".


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