MANILA – The government is looking at Europe as an alternative market for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were displaced by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“The number one program for our migrant workers is to look for a new market for employment purposes. We are opening new markets where we can employ our overseas Filipino workers,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Thursday in a Laging Handa briefing.

He said among the potential new markets for the deployment of OFWs are Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, and eastern Europe.

"However, we are still being cautious because we want to make sure that once they go there, they would not be infected with Covid-19," he added.

Bello said job opportunities are also available locally especially in the construction industry and business process outsourcing.

"We had a recent meeting with the IT-BPO sector. They are in need of 30,000 call center agents. With that, more OFWs would be accommodated in terms of employment," he said.

Bello said livelihood programs are also available for those who would like to stay in the country to be with their families.

"We have the new concept of a collective livelihood program. Mas malaki ang mabibigay na livelihood assistance kung mag-form ang ating mga OFWs ng (Our OFWs would get bigger livelihood assistance if they will form an) association or cooperative. This is for our repatriated OFWs," he added.

To date, Bello said there are more than 250,000 OFWs who have been repatriated.

“As of 2 a.m. Thursday, 250,000 plus OFWs, have been repatriated and we are expecting an additional 100,000 to come home,” he said. (PNA)

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