U.S. takeover to ease out unskilled workers

Posted on Feb 08 1999

Philippine Consul Julia Heidemann told members of the economic study team over the weekend that Filipinos working as domestic helpers and those listed under the unskilled category are the most affected groups in a federal take-over in the CNMI.

She said it will be expensive to hire household helps and workers to do odd jobs using the minimum wage prescribed by the federal government.

Heidemann also received a similar opinion from the Secretary of Interior Affairs Allen Stayman during their last meeting.

From the 18,000 legally registered Filipino workers in the CNMI, her office sees the departure of at least 20 to 40 percent of the group.

In her meeting with the members of the study team for the CNMI Economic Summit she was asked about the sentiment of the Philippine government towards the federal take-over.

“It is not for us to decide or comment about,” she said.

The Consul also corrected reports that the Philippine government dictated the present board and lodging benefits enjoyed by some Filipino workers which will be taken out once the federal government will take over the local labor and immigration.

“The Philippine government is not strict on free board and lodging,” she said. However, she made a request from the CNMI’s Department of Labor and Immigration to extend to Filipino workers both benefits if they are receiving below $500 a month.

Heidemann also denied reports which had reached the group that Filipinos are required to remit a certain percentage of their monthly salaries back home.

“There is no such thing,” she said, adding, “we received letters from wives who are complaining that their respective husbands failed to send them money.”

Furthermore, Filipinos are not required to declare their annual salary with her office unless they are filing their income taxes.

The Business Development Center of the Northern Marianas College set up the meeting of Heideman and its group for inputs in the on-going economic study.

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