By Veronica Uy
THE HIRING of professionals and skilled workers abroad went up by 17.8 percent from 78,956 in 2003 to 93,006 in 2004, Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas said Tuesday.
She said most of them were medical and health professionals, engineers, teachers, accountants, performing artists, and architects, noting also that 86 percent of them are women.
Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that the deployment of overseas Filipino workers increased by an average of two percent annually from 1998 to 2004. This, Sto. Tomas said, is equivalent to an average of 2,558 overseas Filipino workers deployed overseas every day.
Sto. Tomas said the number is expected to grow further as POEA and the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) have been engaged in marketing missions looking for employment prospects abroad especially higher-end occupations for the OFWs.
Also, she said the number of bricklayers, plumbers, stonemasons, tile setters, carpenters, and drivers deployed overseas went up to 62,708 in 2004 from 61,352 in 2003.P
OEA data also showed that more Filipino bookkeepers, receptionists, and stenographers were deployed overseas -- 5,221 in 2004 from the previous year total of 3,965.The greater bulk of the total deployment in 2004, however, consisted of seafarers increasing by six percent from 216,031 in 2003 to 229,002 in 2004. Land-based OFWs also rose by 8.1 percent from 651,938 in 2003 to 704,586 in 2004 with the service workers comprising the majority.
Sto. Tomas also noted that the number of newly hired service workers such as domestic helpers, household workers, caretakers, waiters, and bartenders totaled 112,856 in 2004, of whom 90 percent were females accounting for 36.2 percent of the total deployed newly hired workers.
In terms of destinations, the DOLE chief said the Middle East remains to be the top OFW destination with an estimated 352,314 workers deployed in the region in 2004. This is followed by Asia with 266,609, Europe with 55,116, and the Americas with 37,981. #