MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte embarked on a historic 4-day visit to Israel and Jordan beginning Sunday, September 2, marking the first time a Philippine President has ever visited the two countries.
Bilateral relations are expected to be discussed, as well as the welfare of Filipinos who currently work and reside in the two countries.
Overall, Israel and Jordan have an estimated Filipino population of 76,000, majority of whom are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Here's what you need to know about them:
Currently, there are some 28,000 Filipinos residing in the country according to Philippine Ambassador to Israel Nathaniel Imperial. Majority of these Filipinos are situated in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. (READ: 'Lasting friendship': Philippines-Israel relations)
The Philippine Embassy in Israel regularly meets and checks on the Filipino community through the Federation of Filipino Communities in Israel (FFCI). The FFCI is the umbrella organization of various Filipino organizations in the state which was founded in April 2002.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA) has recorded 6,392 deployed Filipino workers to Israel in 2016 alone, up 32.48% from 4,825 in 2015.
According to Imperial, 24,000 out of the 28,000 Filipinos in Israel are caregivers. That means 4 out of every 5 Filipinos in Israel is a caregiver.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has personally commended the support given by Filipino workers when he met Duterte on Monday, September 3. Netanyahu recalled: "My late father died at the age of 102. In his later years, [he] received incredible care by a caregiver from the Philippines, a woman [with] exceptional compassion and intelligence. She took care of my father every day."
By the end of 2017, the deployment of Filipino caregivers to the country increased to 2,922, 2.53% more than the 2,850 in 2016.
While in Israel, Duterte, together with Netanyahu, will be signing a Memorandum of Agreement on the employment of Filipino caregivers. (READ: Duterte in Israel: Activities, deals, delegation members)
Other than caregiving, Filipino workers in Israel also venture into fields of domestic and household help, production and transport services.
According to the Philippine Embassy in Amman, Jordan, has an estimated 26,000 to 28,000 Filipinos living and working in the country.
However, the consulate said that precise statistics are unavailable as most Filipino workers are unable to register in the embassy. In most cases, this is due to Filipinos’ unawareness on the importance of registering as a Filipino citizen or the employers’ refusal to give workers time for registration.
In a report published by the International Labor Organization in 2017, 5.4% of approximately 315,000 registered migrant workers in Jordan are Filipinos, making the Philippines 3rd in the list of countries with most workers in the country.
In 2016, The POEA has recorded a total of 9,970 deployed Filipino workers to Jordan, a huge increase of 37.47% from 7,253 in 2015.
Moreover, a 2010 report by the POEA noted that most OFWs in Jordan are in the professional fields of engineering, medicine, and the service sector.
Based on the report, waiters, bartenders and related workers recorded the highest number of Filipinos employed (96) under the service sector, followed by housekeepers (49) and beauty-related workers (20).
In the professional and technical field, most OFWs deployed consisted of professional nurses (112) and physiotherapists (3). –Rappler.com