ONLY 384 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Libya attended the job fair for Libya repatriates organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) held last Thursday at the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City.

This was despite a combined total of 28 local companies and overseas recruitment agencies offering 12,260 job opportunities for OFWs that were forced to return home due to the rising hostilities in Libya.

"This is the first job fair of its kind for OFW repatriates. As soon as we have completed the profiles of the more than 3,500 OFWs, who have been repatriated from Libya, we will conduct similar job fairs in September in areas where there are large concentration/s of repatriates," said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz in a statement.

Despite only seeing a handful of participants, the labor chief said Dole believes that the job fair was a success.

"The job fair is intended to give them the opportunity to make decision where to work and is solely a worker's prerogative. The main point is that we make available to them the job vacancies, local and overseas to shorten their job search," said Baldoz.

And during the one day affair, Dole data showed that a clear majority of the 384 applicants still looked for overseas jobs.

Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) Director Anna Dominique Tutay said that many of them still looked for overseas jobs in countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Uzbekistan, United Kingdom, Turkmenistan, and Kuwait.

"We note that applicants still prefer overseas jobs which pay salaries four to five times higher than local jobs. For those who have three or more years of work experience, they could not afford to accept lower income because they have been used to a higher standard of living while working abroad," noted Tutay.

Only 187 of the 384 applicants looked for local employment, the official noted.

"They will undergo pre-employment processes starting tomorrow," added Tutay.

As to those that were not able to join the job fair, Baldoz urged them to visit the website of the Enhanced Phil-JobNet (E-PJN) and browse at the vacancies posted.

Job referral forms part of the Assist WELL (Welfare, Employment, Legal, and Livelihood services) Program of the Dole for repatriated OFWs. (HDT/Sunnex)

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