New PH labor unit in Morocco brings gov’t help closer to Pinoys

Philippine Embassy in Morocco (PNA photo)

RABAT, Morocco – Filipinos working in Morocco can now access government assistance much easier with the establishment of the country’s overseas labor office here.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Morocco started its operations in March 2021. For years, Filipino workers in the North African state had been under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Embassy in Madrid and later on the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli.

“Before, there was no labor section here in Morocco. This country used to be under (the Philippine Embassy in) Libya so the labor attache would come here maybe twice or thrice in a year so he was not in a position to really focus and study how to make changes in making our workers properly documented,” Labor Attache Dominador Salanga told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Aside from issues on proper documentation, Salanga said another pressing issue for Filipinos working in the Kingdom is the remittance cap of USD1,000 (approximately PHP52,000) in a year.

Salanga said a regular worker gets paid around USD4,800 (approx. PHP250,000) in Morocco per year, leaving them no choice but to remit the remainder of their earnings through a middleman, which is costlier.

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“The Filipino worker will pay here and then the receiver will again pay there so I will meet again with the (representatives) of the exchange office on Monday and be clarified on what needs to be done by our nationals to remit money because that’s very little, it’s only USD1,000. But that is the resort that they are doing now (pay through a middleman),” he said.

The establishment of POLO in Rabat came less than a year since the Philippine Embassy in Morocco formally opened in 2019. As the Philippines and Morocco work toward increasing engagements, Salanga is hoping the two partners could also enter into a labor agreement.

“It’s not DOLE (the Department of Labor and Employment) that signs the agreement but maybe with the effort of (Ambassador Leslie Baja) we will be able to, it’s a legacy really to be able to enter into an agreement with the host country,” he said.

Some 4,600 Filipinos are working in Morocco, the majority of whom are in households, beauty centers, restaurants and construction.

In Casablanca, a company producing semi-conductors for foreign companies like Tesla also employs about 40 to 60 Filipinos.

Other Filipinos, on the other hand, are working in firms involved in the shipment and warehousing of phosphate products, Morocco’s leading export products. (PNA)

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