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Slovenia needs up to 5,000 OFWs; Philippines seeks protection pact: Labor chief

MANILA — Slovenia needs up to 5,000 overseas Filipino workers including factory workers, truck drivers, engineers and other skilled workers, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Wednesday. 

Bello said employers from Slovenia told him in a meeting last week that they need 2,000 to 5,000 workers. He said deployment of OFWs to the Central European nation will get the go-signal after the signing of a bilateral agreement ensuring their safety. 

A Philippine technical working group “early next month” will present Slovenia a draft of a bilateral agreement spelling out the working hours, salary, days off, and vacation of Filipino workers, he said. 

“Kailangan meron tayong terms of reference na mabigyan talaga ng sapat na proteksyon iyong ating workers. Without that, hindi tayo puwedeng magpadala,” Bello told radio DZMM. 

(We need terms of reference to give our workers enough protection. Without that, we cannot deploy them.) 

“Kung magkasundo sila, pipirma kami (if they agree, we will sign it and) and that will start the deployment of our workers in Slovenia,” he added. 
 
The Philippines, he said, is also seeking a bilateral agreement that will legitimize its workers in Russia, many of whom entered the country as tourists. 

“Iyong Russia, medyo may kahirapan, may terms of reference na hindi pa kami nagkakasundo. Ang Slovenia madali-dali e kasi open sila sa bilateral agreement, open sila sa template contract,” said Bello. 

(With Russia, there is some difficulty because there are terms of reference where we do not agree. Slovenia is easier because they are open to bilateral agreement, template contract.) 

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