Opening address at the webinar on Online Filipino Worker: An introduction to opportunities for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the digital economy

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the webinar on Online Filipino Worker: An introduction to opportunities for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the digital economy, 21 June 2022, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 21 June 2022
  • Ms Gina Romero, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Connected Women;
  • Mr Jonar Dorado, Chief Operating Officer Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Microfinance; and
  • Our dear migrant workers, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon (good afternoon)!
A warm welcome! Today’s webinar aims to introduce Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to digital economy opportunities.

In 2020, majority of OFWs are women at over 59 per cent. Because of vulnerabilities, women OFWs often need specialized interventions.

I cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring that women OFWs are not left behind in reintegration initiatives.

The Philippines is known for its reintegration programmes and services in ASEAN, however, much more must be done for sustainable reintegration of migrant workers.

Returning migrants have diverse needs, requiring programmes to address those seeking assistance with unemployment, lack of savings, business development, job-matching, among others.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges to everyone and while the country appears to be on the road to recovery, other humanitarian concerns have also had an impact.

In December 2021, Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) devastated 10 regions in the Philippines. ILO’s rapid assessment revealed almost 2.2 million workers were affected.

Central Visayas was hard hit. The typhoon disrupted the workforce in the region, creating an impression that reintegration of returning migrant workers were also affected. Hence, increasing opportunities for returning women migrant workers became more important.

One pathway for reintegration is the skilling of women migrant workers to boost opportunities for local employment.

This is the essence of ILO’s partnership through the BRIDGE Programme with Connected Women to train women migrant worker returnees in Typhoon Odette-affected areas.

Today, we aim to introduce OFWs to digital economy prospects and the Elevate Artificial Intelligence and Data Annotation (AIDA) training programme on artificial intelligence industry, creating opportunities for OFWs to join the digital economy.

I believe that building the capacity of women in information technology will prepare them for the future of work in the digital economy. Skills for employability is one of the priorities under the Decent Work Country Programme of the Philippines to engage women and men in remunerative and productive work.

This initiative also supports the ILO Global Call to Action for an inclusive, sustainable, resilient and human-centred recovery from COVID-19.

I hope that this webinar will be of interest and benefit to you, our dear women migrant workers.

I wish you a successful event. Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much)!