OVERSEAS WORKER deployments fell by up to 75% in 2020 as job markets shut down due to the pandemic while movement to work sites was hindered by travel restrictions, according to preliminary estimates issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
The agency’s administrator Bernard P. Olalia said at a briefing Thursday that the decline in worker deployments takes in the tally from both land-based and sea-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The newest official POEA statistics on worker deployments found on the agency’s website only run to 2016, during which the total OFW population was recorded at 2.55 million, including 1.7 million land-based workers.
“Ayon sa data natin, nasa 70% to 75% ‘yung decline ng ating deployment kumpara sa historical data (According to our data, the decline in deployment is around 70% to 75% compared to historical data),” he said.
Mr. Olalia said the slump in deployments also affected recruitment agencies in the Philippines, foreign employers that depend on imported labor, and insurance companies that lost premium income from the inability to issue policies to deploying workers, as required by labor rules.
As the global economy gradually reopens, Mr. Olalia said he hopes 2021 will see improved deployments.
“Sana unti-unti itong sumisigla (I hope we see a gradual return to health for the job market),” he said. — Gillian M. Cortez