Manila: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will finalise an agreement that will pave the way for China’s hiring of 300,000 overseas Filipino workers, including 100,000 Filipino English-speaking teachers, a senior official said.
“One of the contentious issues [that the two leaders are finalising] is the requirement by the Chinese government that they will accredit the [Chinese] schools that will issue the certification to our English teachers,” Philippine Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello said in China, transcript of which reached his office in Manila on Tuesday.
“We maintain the position that it should be the Philippines that will choose these schools or the colleges that will issue the certification [for the Filipino teachers who will be hired to teach English in China],” Bello said.
The Chinese government has offered $1,500 (P78,000 or Dh6,500) a month for a Filipino teacher, Bello said, adding that he and his counterpart scheduled a meeting to finalise the details of the hiring of OFWs.
The number of OFWs going to China could reach 300,000, said Bello adding that China’s Labour Ministry is also looking for Filipino cooks, caregivers, household service workers, musicians, and nurses.
China and the Philippines will forge a bilateral labour agreement to finalise plans to send 300,000 OFWs to China, said Bello. He did not give details.
The Philippines has been seeking bilateral agreements with all the countries where it sends OFWs — specially with receiving countries that have not signed International Labour Organizations’ labour conventions that spell out the rights of migrant workers for decent job.
The Philippines has forged 13 bilateral labour agreements out of 180 countries where 10 million OFWs are based.
Xi and Duterte will attend the Boao Forum in Hainan Province, Asia’s answer to the annual World Economic Forum hosted in Switzerland.
Meanwhile, the Philippines and Kuwait are trying to meet a deadline to forge a bilateral labour agreement for the protection of Filipina maids, said Bello, adding, “The proposed Philippines-Kuwait memorandum of understanding for the protection of Filipina maids is ready for signature. But we have to wait for the President’s approval before (counterpart) labour officials sign it.”
In February, Duterte banned the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait after the discovery of a Filipina body in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait. She had died a year ago while employed by a Syrian-Lebanese couple. Duterte’s deployment ban was also due to the deaths of seven OFWs in Kuwait since 2016.
Duterte has demanded that Filipina maids should not be required to leave their passports with their employers; that they will be fed good food; given weekly holidays; and allowed to sleep eight hours a day.
Duterte has complained that Filipina maids are maltreated and routinely raped in Kuwait — where 252,000 OFWs are based.