FTA supports solon call to check labor outflow

THE multisectoral Fair Trade Alliance (FTA) supports the efforts of House labor committee chair Roseller Barinaga of Zamboanga del Norte to check the unregulated outflow of critical skills and talents affecting the country’s remaining strategic industries such as the aviation industry, electronics industry, shipping industry, steel industry, petrochemical industry and telecommunications industry.

Based on statistics, the Philippines’ aviation industry has lost to other countries an average of 29 pilots a year over the past five years, with each pilot having benefited from a minimum of P1 million investments in training by the local airlines. This is further aggravated by the loss of 1,500 aircraft mechanics in the same period.

For the past years, the Philippines have been steadily losing, besides pilots and mechanics, all kinds of engineers, technicians, power plant and telecom operators.

According to Barinaga, unless remedial measures are instituted soon, some of the county’s vital industries might ground to a halt.

Barinaga already filed a resolution conveying the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and its attached agency, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), to study if a temporary suspension or ban on certain critical skills and talents can be imposed in accordance with Sections 5 and 31 of Republic Act 8042 or the Migrant Workers Act of l995.  These provisions of the Magna Carta of Migrant Workers empower the State to suspend or ban the deployment of migrant workers “in pursuit of the national interest or when public welfare so requires” to come out with adequate programs “to secure” the services of “professionals and other highly-skilled Filipinos” “in priority development areas of the public and private sectors.”

Barinaga further proposed that the House Committees on Labor and Employment, Globalization and Overseas Filipino Workers, conduct, in aid of legislation, hearings and consultations with the various affected industries on the appropriate legislative and other remedial measures needed to secure skills and talent requirements and insure the long-term development of vital industries.

FTA already warned of how severe labor shortages are putting the country’s vital industries at risk and this deserve serious action. According to FTA convenor for labor Angelito Mendoza, shortage of skilled labor will cause the country’s strategic industries to collapse, “These industries will stop, and with that, foreign multinational companies could easily take over companies and businesses in these vital sectors of our economy.”

Mendoza warned that 50 percent of the of the country’s growth targets until 2010 will be halted if the government fails to take action on the country’s unregulated outflow of critical skills and talents.

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