eastwind journals 89 – OFW CARTEL LOOMS

eastwind journals 89


By Bernie Lopez


Dole Sec Baldoz to Saudi with 17 Agencies


OFW advocates are in panic over the pending trip of DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz together with a select group of 17 mostly-Arab-owned Philippine recruitment agencies to reportedly sign an agreement which will pave the way for a centralized super-agency to handle all placements to Saudi Arabia. The move reportedly has the blessings of a bilateral Saudi-Philippine agreement. But there have been no consultations with the OFW community, which may make the bilateral agreement illegal and open to a court case, where Malacanang and DOLE are the key respondents.


The perceived impact in the view of the OFW advocates is the rise of an “OFW Cartel” which will corner the multi-billion Saudi placement industry, resulting in 1) lowering of salaries dictated by the cartel by as much as 20% to 40%, 2) centralization of all recruitments into a select Arab-owned Philippine agencies subservient to and part of the cartel.


Already, there is talk of the mobilization of a mega-rally to stop the signing in Saudi Arabia of the bilateral agreement, which will trigger the formation of the OFW Cartel. The cartel will result in the dramatic decrease in OFW remittances to the Philippines, which would in turn have adverse effects on the Philippine economy, since labor export is the largest dollar income of the Philippines. We have about 10 million OFWs worldwide earning about US$24 billion a year. Saudi has the third largest of 1.5 million OFWs translating into about US$850 million to 1 billion a year. Saudi Arabia has an ongoing mammoth infrastructure mega-project of a staggering $437 billion or almost half a trillion, which would need tens of thousands of our OFWs. eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
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