A Philippine lawmaker wants returning Filipino domestic workers to retrain as welders. Photo: iStock

A Philippine lawmaker is encouraging returning Filipino domestic workers to retrain in order to develop new skills as welders.

Aniceto Bertiz III, representative of the party-list group ACTS-OFW, urged the Philippine government to equip returning domestic workers with new skill sets that will enable them to move to better-paying jobs and achieve a higher standard of living for their families, Manila Standard reported.

“We expect the lack of welders here at home to worsen in the months ahead, considering President Duterte’s programmed massive infrastructure spending,” Bertiz said.

Bertiz said there is a shortage of welders in the Philippines as there are fewer Filipinos entering the vocation and many Filipino welders have gone to work overseas for better paying jobs. He cited the example that Filipino welders in New Zealand get an average of PHP5,176 (US$99) per eight-hour work day, which is almost 10 times the daily minimum wage in Manila.

The lawmaker added that the government’s budget for its Free Technical and Vocational Education and Training program should be invested in the retraining of returning domestic workers who are willing to shift to jobs as welders.

“The government could initially target returning domestic workers from the Middle East, particularly those who are high school graduates or undergraduates, and who are underpaid,” he said.

According to the International Labor Organization, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Thailand and Myanmar are the major suppliers of migrant domestic workers in foreign labor markets.

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