Friday, December 14, 2007

Training for DH is not mandatory

The Department of Labor and Employer (DoLE) clarifies that the new policy issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in the deployment of household workers overseas is not mandatory to all domestic helper.

The said policy only requires the workers to take the assessment only if they fail the trade testing three times, according to DoLE Secretary Arturo Brion.

Any worker who has previous and extensive experience as a domestic helper, either locally or abroad, may opt to go directly for assessment to any accredited assessment centers of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The Secretary has spoken to oppose reports that the training and testing requirement, as included in the package of reforms for household service workers (HSWs), was merely a scheme of the government to extort money from the workers.

He blamed those organizations for spreading information that domestic helpers who’ll leave the country must undergo the training.

“As we have always been saying, the reforms that we have been implementing are for the long-term as the new standards would place the DHs on a better footing against abuse and exploitation abroad,” he said.

“I appeal to our OFWs not to be misled by some quarters, in their veiled attempt to discredit the reforms that we have set in place,” he added.

Brion also said that the new policy of protecting DHs gained support to the International Labor Association (ILO) consistent with the body’s Decent Work program.

“The global Decent Work program of the ILO is being pioneered by the Philippines,” he said, adding that, “our efforts are also aligned with ILO Convention No. 181, which is against charging, either directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, any fees or costs to workers.”

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has also shwoed their support to the new policies particularly through the Bishops’ Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), joined by responsible licensed recruitment agencies of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and migrants’ rights organizations.

The prevailing training fee ranges from P10,000-15,000 for the mandatory 216 hours training. While the TESDA assessment costs P1,000 only and the whole assessment procedure takes about 3-4 hours and result will follow immediately. The corresponding NC2 certificate issued by the TESDA District Office can be claimed after five days because TESDA reviews and validates the result and procedures conducted by the assessment center.

An HSW who fails in the assessment has to wait for 1 month before she can undergo re-assessment to give her enough time to improve on her skills and increase her chances of passing the assessment.

This article was first published in on February 6, 2007

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