Gov’t contradicts itself on “more OFWs coming home” with K to 12 labor export goal

Migrante International today chided the Aquino administration for contradicting itself on claims of supposed improved local job generation when its K to 12 education program is geared mainly towards exporting labor for the global market.

Recently, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz released a statement claiming that more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are opting to come home because of the GDP growth resulting in more jobs and opportunities available at home.

According to Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, “The Aquino government’s claims are baseless, if not utterly false and deliberately deceiving. How can the Aquino government declare better opportunities for OFWs here at home when it has further tailored the public education system for a more aggressive labor export program? The K to 12 means more OFW deployment abroad and the Aquino government is starting them young.”

Martinez said that the K to 12 program is aimed mainly to reinforce cheap semi-skilled youth labor for the global market.

He said that “the real motive behind the K to 12 education system is the intensification of labor export, this time systematically targeting the country’s young labor force.”

The Department of Education says that the K to 12 system “will improve chances of youth employment” and that it will ensure that 18-year-old graduates will be “employable even without a college degree.”

Martinez said that the DepEd plans to achieve this through a so-called “specialized Senior High program” that focuses on a curriculum that will “enable students to acquire Certificates of Competency (COCs) and National Certifications (NCs)…in accordance with TESDA Training Regulations.”

“These certificates, without doubt, will be in compliance with requirements for overseas deployment. Not much different, for example, with the Arroyo administration’s TESDA-accredited ‘Supermaids’ program.”

“What the K to 12 system is doing is boosting cheap semi-skilled youth labor. The DepEd talks of a so-called ‘professionalization’ of the young labor force mainly in labor markets abroad but unfortunately continues to ignore the very causes of forced migration, namely, lack of local jobs, low wages, landlessness and poor social services,” said Martinez.

He said that the K to 12 system sadly undermines the youth’s very significant role in nation-building because it is geared towards providing cheap semi-skilled youth labor to the global market instead of for domestic development.

“Young workers, mostly semi-skilled, make up approximately 10.7 percent of the total Filipino labor migration population. Through the K to 12, the Aquino government will further program our youth not to serve the country but to service the needs of the neoliberal global market.”

“The K to 12 program means more, not less, OFWs, younger and more trained to be docile, cheap laborers abroad,” Martinez said. ###