By Jose Cielito Reganit

WORKING VISIT. President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. meets with members of Philippine media at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Berlin on Wednesday (March 13, 2024-Germany time). The President discussed the gains achieved during his 3-day working visit to Germany. (Photo courtesy of Speaker Romualdez’s office)

MANILA – The hard work of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on his working trip to Germany and the Czech Republic has paid off in terms of thousands of job opportunities for Filipinos, not only in the Philippines but also in the two European countries, Speaker Martin Romualdez said Thursday.

“President Marcos’s unwavering dedication and tireless work ethic have undoubtedly brought about positive impacts, not only in terms of economic opportunities and in strengthening diplomatic ties but also in creating thousands of job opportunities for Filipino workers,” Romualdez said in a statement.

He added that contrary to unfounded claims of leisurely pursuits, President Marcos’s schedule was packed with back-to-back engagements, meetings, and discussions aimed at advancing the national interest and the welfare of the Filipino people.

“The punishing schedule of engagements of President Marcos during these trips underscores his unwavering commitment to serving the Filipino people and promoting our nation’s prosperity on the global stage,” said Romualdez, who was part of the President’s official delegation.

Romualdez noted that following the bilateral meeting between President Marcos and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the latter invited Filipino workers to Germany as the country has eased restrictions on the entry of foreign workers.

Recently, Germany passed the Skilled Immigration Act that relaxed certain requirements and provided incentives such as allowing family members to join workers, among others, to attract foreign labor especially in the IT, engineering, health, and teaching professions.

Romualdez said as a result of President Marcos’ initiatives, Filipino workers are most welcome in Germany to fill its labor gap which, according to reports, needs about 400,000 additional workers annually to grow its economy.

Earlier, Romualdez said the investment deals worth at least USD4 billion (around PHP220 billion) secured by Marcos from eight different types of agreements during his three-day working visit to Germany will undoubtedly “spur job creation, stimulate innovation, and enhance productivity.”

He said labor is among the key areas President Marcos would discuss with Czech President Petr Pavel during their meeting Thursday (Czech Republic time).

During his state visit to the Czech Republic, President Marcos is expected to discuss with his counterpart the increase in quota for the entry of Filipino workers and the safeguards to ensure the protection of the rights and welfare of Filipino overseas workers.

In 2023, the Czech government announced a further increase in the quota for Filipino workers — 5,500 per year beginning January 2024, and 10,300 per year beginning May 2024, or more than a 900-percent increase from the initial quota of 1,000 per year in 2018.

According to the Department of Migrant Workers, details on the deployment of Filipino workers to the Czech Republic will be discussed during President Marcos’ state visit to Prague.

“Undoubtedly, President Marcos’s unwavering dedication and tireless work ethic have brought about positive impacts, not only in terms of economic opportunities but also in strengthening diplomatic ties and promoting the welfare of our fellow Filipinos abroad,” Romualdez said.

“Let us recognize and appreciate President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s invaluable contributions to our nation’s progress and prosperity, and stand united in supporting endeavors that elevate the well-being of our beloved Philippines,” he added. (PNA)