MANILA, Feb. 23 –As the deepening economic meltdown in the US cascades worldwide, the Philippines is not spared with its effects. According to Labor Secretary Marianito Roque, about 39,000 Filipinos have lost their jobs since October last year.
“These are workers who have lost their jobs mainly in the electronics and manufacturing section,” Roque told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.
This includes more than 5,400 overseas Filipinos who have lost their jobs in the Middle East and Taiwan, which account for the bulk of returning expatriates.
In order to meet the anticipated unemployment from growing, he said the government has allotted P7 billion (US$ 149 million) to create 180,000 “emergency jobs” this year. Although he said the government has enough resources to create temporary employment opportunities in the next two years, he said “we will be hard pressed if the crisis extends beyond that.”
He also noted that while demand for Filipino nurses in the US is falling, about 2,000 Filipinos of the estimated 300,000 workers in the United Arab Emirates were now out of work.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) advised Filipinos with working visa for the People’s Republic of China to also secure residency permits following reports of unpleasant incidents involving Filipinos there.
Although the DFA did not mention specific number of cases, it provided instances where Chinese authorities have detained Filipino nationals on charges of illegal residency despite their having work permits. According to official DFA records, about 9,000 Filipinos live in mainland China.
Beijing’s residency law provides that aliens who hold “D”, “Z”, and “X” visas must secure residency permits within 10 days of entry. The validity of these permits shall be for those who intend to stay in China for a period of more than one year.
On the other hand, temporary residence permit shall be issued to those who intend to stay in China for a period of less than one year. Aliens who hold visas marked with “F”, “L”, “G” and “C” may stay in China within the time limit as their visas indicate, without the necessity to obtain residency permits.