Filipino Professionals in the Global Economy

Spanish Galleon that travels Spain to Manila ports.

Spanish Galleon Trade, with Filipinos, traveled from Asia to Europe via Mexico , America.

Historically , Filipinos were known to have circumvented the globe during the Spanish Colonial era, known as the ” Galleon Trade”.

Our seafarers , sailors, and merchants together with their Spanish masters , traded goods from Asia to Mexico, Americas. up to Europe via Spanish ports. That’s how the Filipino ” professional” worker,  were well accepted in other countries, as far back in the 17 th century.

Land-based OFWs. The growth of land-based OFWs was given a big push when the government – during the late 1970s – created an office that promoted and oversaw Filipino labor migration for contract work abroad. Such a move took advantage of the jobs opened up for foreigners in the Middle East as a result of oil prosperity among the oil exporting countries after the energy shock raised their incomes immensely. The jobs that opened up included a rise in demand for construction workers, oil company technicians, commerce and industry arising from boom economies, and all forms of service workers.

Saudi Arabia today accounts for about one-fourth of land-based workers in the Middle Eastern countries. Close to 2.4 million OFW workers are located in this region. Kuwait, Qatar and UAE (United Arab Emirates) account for most other workers in the region.

Even as the Middle East jobs got saturated, other regions of the world opened up specific demand for OFW skills. The flow of workers to Europe were confined to a few professionals, but a large inflow of domestic household and service workers have subsequently flooded Europe. Italy and UK hire mostly domestic workers. Also prevalent are those who got employed in the service industries: hotels and restaurants and other service sectors. Nurses and other health workers have been attracted to these countries as well.

The newly prosperous countries of Asia have also begun hiring OFWs. With their labor markets tightening, temporary industrial foreign workers became the solution. So, South Korea and Taiwan have begun to import Philippine factory labor at fixed term contracts. These types of labor supply mechanism depended heavily on industrial demand in these countries. Today, Japan’s demographic situation of old people has created extra demand for medical workers, led by nurses.

Some types of Filipino skills are found in our ASEAN member neighbors, who filled up their temporary need to develop their local labor supply, by importing Filipino labor. Thus, when some banks in Indonesia expanded, they hired Filipinos with banking experience.

 Real Estate Appraiser Federico C. F. Cuervo, Philippine Delegate to the ASEAN VALUERS Congress

Real Estate Appraiser Federico C. F. Cuervo, Philippine Delegate to the ASEAN VALUERS Congress

Philippine OFW labor supply is also found in nations less developed than us (where their particular type of skill was available at a premium). There are OFW workers in many countries of Africa, although these are relatively few compared to those who have trooped to more well-known places. For instance, Filipino pilots have flown African air traffic routes.

The most skilled types of OFWs are classified as managerial and administrative and also professional, medical and other technical workers. Professional, medical and technical workers represent 12.3 percent of total OFWs. Finally, administrative and managerial workers represent only a small amount, 1,400 workers, that is, 0.43 percent of the outstanding OFWs during this year.

For every managerial type worker who is hired as OFW, there are 207 general type OFW workers. If we add the large number of professionals and medical and technical workers to the managerial OFWs, there are 6.9 general workers for each manager and medical workers so classified.

Seamen OFWs. There are two types of OFWs: land-based workers and mariners. Long before land-based OFWs started the migratory flux of Filipino labor, seamen were already working in the world’s oceans and seas.

Filipino seamen offered very special skill sets and their wages were very competitive against the highly unionized mariners that used to dominate the world’s industrial shipping routes. Twenty percent of seamen in 2010 worked in passenger vessels. Another 20 percent work in bulk carriers in merchant trade and 13 percent are workers in container and tanker vessels including all types of general cargo.


Chairman E.G. Ong, addressing the new Corps of Real Estate Appraisers

We in the Real Estate Profession, are thankful to these Filipino Professionals. Global Filipinos Working abroad, are one of the biggest contributions in boosting the Economy, and an important  reason for the Real Estate Boom  in the past years.

To Help improve our Professional Competence, the PRC, is organizing and preparing for the ASEAN Economic integration. This major event  is one of the most  important inputs is the competitive road map,  that we in the  Professional Regulation Commission together with the Secretary of Labor and the Commission on Higher Education as well as all Philippine Association of Professional Regulatory Board Members, Inc (PAPRB) are coordinating their different tasks in the en-crafting the framework for education, training, governance in keeping with international standards necessary for the qualifications of ASEAN Integration.

The ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework, a common reference framework, will function as a translation device to enable comparisons of qualifications across participating ASEAN countries.

The priority areas that need to be identified and done within the framework of July 2013 to January 2015 must incorporate an action plan that would address the following components namely:

  • Key Result Area
  • Strategies
  • Activities
  • Success Indicators
  • Timetable
  • Persons/Agency responsible

The question is how can we examine our competitiveness from the ASEAN roadmap framework? Is the action plan feasible? Are we capable enough to accomplish this in time? The answer to these issues and concerns will be tackled in the 2nd Philippine Professional Summit “Empowering Professionals Towards ASEAN Economic Community 2015”.

This Professional Summit will be held on October 15-16, 2013 at the Fiesta Pavilion of the Manila Hotel, City of Manila, in celebration of the “PHILIPPINE PROFESSIONALS COMPETITIVENESS WEEK”, by virtue of the Proclamation No. 487, issued by His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III.

This year’s theme “Empowering Professionals Towards ASEAN Economic Community 2015” will present the regional and national developments that will prepare the competitiveness of the Filipino professionals and will determine how ready are we for the forthcoming ASEAN Integration 2015.

Chairperson Hon. Teresita Manzala, Professional Regulation Commission

Chairperson Hon. Teresita Manzala, Professional Regulation Commission

It is through the dynamic, dedicated and committed hard work of Atty. Teresita R. Manzala, as Chairperson of Professional Regulation Commission, that we give due credit for the success in preparing the Filipino professionals for the ASEAN Integration.

Chairperson Manzala has a broad span of public service experience, for almost three decades, the various publics of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) including the overseas Filipino workers.

Immediately before she was appointed as PRC Chairperson, she served as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Deputy Administrator for Reintegration Services and Center Director of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO). Prior to this twin designation, Atty. Manzala occupied various senior positions at the DOLE. She has been a Director of two important and critical Bureaus, a Regional Director of five large Regional Offices, and Labor Attaché in two Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs).

As the Director of the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE), she was responsible for the development of the Phil-JobNet and the Computerized National Manpower Register of Skills as well as the formulation of Regional Employment Plans. She was also responsible in the formulation of such important policy issuance as the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the PESO Act of 2000, Omnibus Guidelines on the Issuance of Alien Employment Permits and Manual of Operations, Revised Guidelines on the Recruitment and Placement of Workers for Local Employment by Private Recruitment and Placement Agencies, among others.

During her stint at the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC), Atty. Manzala can be credited for the development and issuance of the Labor Standards Enforcement Framework and its Accompanying Manuals. As Regional Director of DOLE Regional Offices I, II, III, VI and CAR, she implemented various employment and social protection programs for Filipino workers, chaired the Regional Wages and Productivity Board, and enforced labor standards.

Under her stewardship as its Labor Attaché, POLO-Rome (Italy) was able to formulate a project proposal for the Reintegration of Undocumented OFWs in Italy, which was funded by the Government of Italy in coordination with the International Organization for Migration. While in POLO-Tel-Aviv (Israel), Atty. Manzala developed a Handbook on Critical Incident Debriefing, Stress Management, Counseling and Case Management for OFWs in Israel as an offshoot of the Israel-Lebanon (Hezbollah) War. In both overseas Posts, she was responsible for the resolution of numerous welfare cases involving OFWs, in verification of job orders and employment contracts for OFWs, and in negotiations with host countries on matters of OFW protection and advancement.

from left: Board Member of Real Estate Service Mr. Ramon CF Cuervo III, Chairman of the Board of Real Estate Service Dr. Eduardo Gutierrez Ong and PRC Chairperson Atty. Teresita R. Manzala

from left: Board Member of Real Estate Service Mr. Ramon CF Cuervo III, Chairman of the Board of Real Estate Service Dr. Eduardo Gutierrez Ong and PRC Chairperson Atty. Teresita R. Manzala

In addition, Atty. Manzala also served as negotiator for the DOLE in various trade negotiations. She headed the Philippine Negotiating Group on Movement of Natural Persons under the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) as well as the Philippine Negotiating Group on Movement of Natural Persons under the ASEAN-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. She was also a member of the Philippine Delegation in the RP-Israel Social Security Negotiations and the Philippine Negotiation Team on ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Services.

On top of these, she also represented the country in numerous international or regional conferences, on various areas of concern (e.g., employment, productivity, labor standards, international labor migration, migrant reintegration, etc.) either as delegate, government adviser or resource speaker.

She also taught international labor laws, and employment and working conditions at the Graduate School of Business and Economics of the Dela Salle University Manila and its Extension Class in Fort Bonifacio in its Master of Science in Industrial Relations Management.

Atty. Manzala holds two baccalaureate degrees–Bachelor of Laws from Saint Louis University of Baguio City and AB Political Science from University of the Philippines Diliman–and a Masteral Degree in Public Administration from the UP College of Public Administration. She also completed non-degree/fellowship programs on Occupational Health and Safety (Swedish Institute, University of Aston in Birmingham); Women in the Workplace (US Department of Labor, Florida International University); and Negotiating Skills/Disciplines in WTO (Under World Bank, WTO and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore).

The Department of Labor and Employment has ordered the crafting of a new orientation module on Filipino values for OFWs because Overseas Filipino workers are the country’s best faces to the world.

Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Baldoz

Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz

Honorable Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, our beloved Secretary of Labor and Employment will likewise present as the Keynote Speaker during the Philippine Professional Summit and she will lecture on “Presentation of the Action Agenda for the Professional Sector”.

Inquirer Global Nation writer Tina G. Santos stated in her write-up “OFWs are our best ambassadors-Baldoz” that Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the module would be used in the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) given OFWs for them to still have such values like love of country and loyalty to it.

Our Labor Secretary stated “Our overseas workers are the best assets we have outside our shores. They are our ambassadors of goodwill and, therefore, they should act and be ready to act as such wherever they are in the world,”

“OFWs, including seafarers, household service workers and low-skilled workers will all be professional in the way they dress, talk and conduct themselves.

The module would also showcase the richness and beauty of the Philippines and its wealth of history and culture,” Sec. Baldoz said with the new PDOS module.

National pride

“It is not only work, work and work that our OFWs need to be able to show and demonstrate [their pride]. They must learn to be articulate when telling the Philippine story and expressive of national pride, particularly now that the country is experiencing a socio-economic resurgence,” Baldoz said.

Mr. Roque Sorioso, Mr. Ramon CF Cuervo III and MRICS Director Marissa Benitez.

Mr. Roque Sorioso, Mr. Ramon CF Cuervo III and MRICS Director Marissa Benitez with foreign deligates.

Baldoz instructed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to develop the module in consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“Once the module is finished, we will request the assistance of the DFA in training trainors for it, and afterward require all PDOS providers to use it as a mandatory subject,” said Baldoz.

She also instructed OWWA to consult with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the National Historical Commission for input on Philippine history and culture.

“The OFWs can in turn share this knowledge with the people of other nationalities,” she said.

PH inputs to ASEAN qualifications framework, government to mainstream PQF with industry partners Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) is fast-tracking convergent action on the jobs and skills mismatch with the conduct of a multi-sector consultation on the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) and the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework AQRF) yesterday at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Pasay City.

“This takes another forward step on President Benigno S. Aquino III’s 22-point Labor and Employment Agenda whose overarching goal is to invest in the country’s human resource to make them more competitive and employable,” said Baldoz.

The PQF is one of the four convergent programs designed by the government’s Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster to address the issue on jobs and skills mismatch. The other three are the K-12 Educational Reform, Career Guidance Advocacy Program, and Optimizing the Use of PhilJob.Net.

“The PQF was developed to establish a coherent national and internationally- benchmarked structure for all qualifications awarded in the Philippines. All qualifications listed on the framework are quality assured so that there may be national and international confidence not only in the academic and skill standards and their vocational relevance, but also in the quality of teaching, assessment, and the valid awarding of the officially recognized Philippine national qualification,” Baldoz explained.


Appraiser Federico Cuervo with the ASEAN Valuers Association Congress.

The consultation, dubbed as the “Sectoral Approach on Education Services–Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) and the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF),” seeks to prepare Filipino professionals, workers, learners, and industries for the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community by having a deeper understanding on the concept, principles, and processes of the PQF and ARQF, and their relationship towards recognition of qualifications within ASEAN regions.

Baldoz said the government is steadfast in conducting roundtable discussions and consultations on policy inconsistencies and administrative inefficiencies that hinder job creation.

“These initiatives are on top of the continuing activities related to the four convergent programs on job-skills mismatch undertaken by the Human Development and Poverty Reduction (HDPR) cluster of the Cabinet,” she said.

“All these are aimed at improving employment generation in ICT/BPO; semi-conductor and electronics; infrastructure; tourism; and agriculture and fisheries sectors which are identified as among the top ten priority sectors in the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016,” she added.

The ARQF is a common referencing framework that shall serve as a translation device in interpreting the national qualifications frameworks of the countries in the ASEAN region. Its ultimate goal is to promote competitiveness among professionals, workers, and learners in the domestic and global market. It emphasizes quality assurance in education, skills, training, and specializations to gain the mutual trust and confidence of the industry sector.

On the other hand, the PQF is a unified, seamless, and borderless education and training system that weaves together basic education, technical-vocational education, and higher education into one coherent, quality-assured instrument for classifying qualifications according to a set of criteria for levels of learning outcomes.

The PQF seeks to (a) establish national standards and levels for outcomes of education and training, skills and competencies; (b) promote quality by ensuring standards are met by education and training providers or authorities who issue qualifications; (c) facilitate comparison among levels and contents of qualifications; and (d) promote access to learning and transfers to higher levels of education and training by clarifying the entry points to qualifications.

Any high school graduate, especially those who cannot afford to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program, may enroll in any certificate program offered principally in technical vocational institutions (TVIs) once the PQF is in place.

“This strategy would enable students to immediately qualify for a job that pays well and provides opportunities for continuous skills and enhancement,” Baldoz commented.

The consultation was organized by the PRC and funded by the Department of Trade and Industry which, together with the DOLE, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Education (DepEd), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) constitute the Philippine Task Force on the AQRF. Representatives from the labor sector, industries, training providers, academe, and professionals also attended the consultation.

The whole-day activity was divided into two parts. The first included plenary sessions on the ASEAN Economic Community, the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area, and the PQF.

Workshops and orientation on the AQRF consisted the second part. The workshop clusters and the facilitators were the following: (1) Engineering Cluster, with Dr. Reynaldo Vea, President and CEO of MAPUA Institute of Technology; (2) Technology Cluster, with Ruperto Sangalang, CHED Commissioner, and Yolanda Reyes, PRC Board of Architecture Member; (3) Health and Allied Cluster, with Dean Elizabeth Roxas, Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing President, Dr. Jose Cueto, Jr., PRC Board of Medicine Member, and Dr. Melinda Garcia, PRC Board of Industry Member; and (4) Business and Education Cluster with Dr. Oscar Torralba, Technical Panel for CHED Business and Management Education Chair, and Dr. Rosita Navarro, PRC Board of Professional Teachers Member.

“The plans are all laid out. The government remains committed to the full implementation of these plans until the goals are met,” Baldoz said, saying the focus of labor administration for the rest of 2013 is on strengthening convergence between the government and tripartite partners for the attainment of inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.

We look forward to the success of the 2nd Philippine Professional Summit “Empowering… because there is no doubt that outstanding Filipino professionals are competitive and achievers as well as movers of the ASEAN and Global Economy.


PRC website


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