Filipinos overseas holding on to jobs despite virus outbreak: labor official

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2020 01:10 PM

Passengers arriving at the NAIA Terminal 1 in Parañaque City wear face masks as a precaution on Jan. 23, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- There have been "no negative signals" so far that the coronavirus outbreak is affecting overseas Filipino workers, a labor official said Monday.

It is "too early" to predict job losses for OFWs, with the virus confirmed in at least 60 countries, said Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Hans Leo Cacdac.

"So far, there have been no negative signals na magbabawas na sila or ayaw na nila ng Pilipino," he said.

(There have been no negative signals that they will retrench or that they no longer like to employ Filipinos.)

There are over 2.3 million Filipino migrant workers spread across different countries according to the latest tally of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The outbreak highlighted the "quality" of Filipino labor and the trust given to them by their employers, Cacdac said, citing the Filipino crew of a cruise ship off Japan that bore hundreds of coronavirus cases.

"While everybody on that ship was quarantined, they were asked to work and serve the 3,000 passengers," he said. 

"They served beyond the call of duty and more than ever, the quality of our workers, domestic workers included...cannot be overemphasized," he said.

Filipino expatriates are expected to remit a record P1.74 trillion ($34.2 billion) to their families, notwithstanding COVID-19, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles earlier said.