THE Department of Labor and Employment has announced that it is close to finalizing a bilateral labor agreement (BLA) with Moscow.
“We are confident that the BLA with Moscow will soon be finalized in line with our commitment to provide protection and support for OFWs as we continue to see increasing demand for our workers in that part of the world,” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said.
Bello said both countries are keen on signing a BLA amid burgeoning requirement for skilled and semi-skilled workers in Russia, citing a report made by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Berlin, Germany.
The report also stated that Moscow recently amended a law relating to local employment of local skilled workers in order to accommodate foreign workers.
In September last year, Bello mandated the department’s labor office in Berlin to extend its services to cover OFWs in Russia and to actively pursue a BLA with Moscow.
Meanwhile, 1,000 OFWs in Russia, mostly female household service workers, have registered for membership with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Bello said.
“We are elated by their decision to register with OWWA as members, and as such will now allow them to have insurance coverage. Their membership will also enable them to access free skills and entrepreneurship training, not to mention scholarship for their children, return and reintegration preparedness and other programs,” he added.
The Philippine embassy in Moscow, Russia recently held an outreach program intended to entice OFWs to register or renew their respective membership with OWWA.