Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A senior Philippines government official has told Filipino migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates that President Rodrigo Duterte wants them to return home.

On Monday evening during a town hall meeting in the Philippine Consulate in Dubai, Silvestre Bello III, secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, said that the Philippines now has more job openings for citizens who would usually choose to look for employment abroad to support their families, Gulf News reported.

Bello said President Duterte wants Filipinos in the UAE to come back home and take up jobs in the Philippines so that they do not have to leave the country and their families behind.

“The president’s final goal is to bring you all home because he is aware of the social impact of the Filipino diaspora. He is hopeful that once the government programs to give you decent-paying jobs are in place, he can win you back to the Philippines,” Bello said.

There are between 600,000 and one million Filipinos working in the UAE, mainly in the hospitality, aviation, construction, retail, health care and education sectors. Bello said the government’s new infrastructure program will create from 800,000 to one million jobs a year.

“There are many good opportunities in the Philippines now and overseas,” he said.

Bello also cautioned Filipinos in the UAE on the issue of human trafficking as some 280 Filipinas are currently under the care of the Philippine labor office in Dubai. All of them were hired by illegal recruiters.

“If you’re looking for work abroad, please go through the proper government channels to check if the job offer is legitimate to ensure you don’t fall for these traps,” he said.

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