February 13, 2018
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Guiling “Gene” Mamondiong has appealed to nations, particularly the Middle East, to protect the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and treat them with respect and dignity.
Mamondiong made the appeal after President Rodrigo Duterte expressed disappointment on the rampant cases of abuses in the Middle East against Filipino workers, mostly domestic helpers.
The latest case of maltreatment in the Middle East involved the killing of a Filipina domestic helper identified as one Joanna Daniela Dimapilis who was found inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait.
Kuwaiti police said that the body has been there for more than a year. Authorities have launched a manhunt against her employers Lebanese Nader Assaf and his Syrian wife.
As a Muslim and head of TESDA, Mamondiong has called on the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Foreign Affairs to tighten the policies in sending Filipino workers to Arab states.
Mamondiong also stressed the need for OFWs to undergo seminars about their job and the culture and language of the country where they will work.
The language training program of TESDA, which is under the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), teaches OFWs how to speak English, Japanese, Spanish, Mandarin (Chinese), Italian, Arabic and Korean (Hangul).
Aside from language proficiency program, the training aims to educate the OFWs about the culture of the country where they are working.
The National Language Skills Institute of TESDA also serves as a training venue for Japanese Language Preparatory Training for nurses and caregivers under the Philippine-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.
Mamondjong said that TESDA is planning to add more language courses for their training program such as German, Russian, French, Bahasa, Vietnamese and Mandarin (Taiwan).
Last February 9, Duterte gave a 72-hour ultimatum to OFWs in Kuwait to go back to the Philippines and told them not to go back to that country anymore. He also encouraged them to find other jobs.
Mamondiong said that TESDA has come up with a program that will help displaced OFWs under the agency's 17-Point Reform and Development Agenda.
These include the reintegration program for OFWs who are taught in various skills so that they could find employment or they could also be self-employed.
As of December 2017, up to 2,216 OFWs and their dependents have availed of the TESDA program.