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Nearly half of OFWs youths - ILO

Nearly half of the estimated eight million Filipinos employed in 190 countries abroad are young workers, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported yesterday.

Source: www.philstar.com, June 20, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Nearly half of the estimated eight million Filipinos employed in 190 countries abroad are young workers, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported yesterday.

ILO said youth, or those belonging to the 15 to 24 age bracket, account for 35 percent of all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“Youth comprise about 35 percent of all OFWs and this translates into a significant youth share in the national financial inflows associated with migration,” ILO noted.

Filipino workers abroad sent home some $16 billion in 2008 and their remittances are still growing despite the prevailing global financial crisis.

Recognizing the Filipino youth’s contribution, ILO and other concerned United Nation agencies have developed a program with the aim of improving the young Filipino migrants’ access to decent work.

“The program will run for three years and aims to improve policy coherence affecting the employment and migration of youth through full stakeholder participation,” ILO said.

The ILO is set to launch the new program on Monday.

Earlier, ILO director Linda Wirth warned that more Filipino children, particularly girls are likely to leave school and be forced to work as a result of the global financial slump.

“The financial crisis can exacerbate the child labor problem with young girls being pushed into prostitution and pornography just to supplement the income of their families,” Wirth said.

Wirth then stressed the need for the Philippine government to allocate more funds for programs to curb the worst forms of child labor.     

To help the Philippine government address the child labor problem, Wirth said, the ILO is sending a team to check whether commercial establishments are complying with anti-child labor policy. – Mayen Jaymalin

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