A Glimpse at Deployment
Choreographers, dancers, composers, singers, musicians, and even circus performers comprise the bulk of Filipino entertainers being hired as performers overseas.
What follows is the summary table of entertainers deployed abroad for the past three years.
|Occupation||2001||% Share to Total||2002||% Share to Total||2003||% Share to Total|
|Musicians, Composers, Singers
Source : POEA
Japan continued to be the dominant market for entertainers abroad. As shown in the table, the bulk of deployment for choreographers, dancers; musicians, singers, composers; and even circus performers are accounted for by the Japanese market. For the past three years, an average of 99 percent of all deployed entertainers for the three categories end up working in the "Land of the Rising Sun." Only South Korea exhibited to be a potential market for our entertainers especially for singers and musicians.
In terms of deployment level, it is worth noting that the magnitude of Filipinos being hired as choreographers and dancers has been on the downside both in nominal terms and percentage share for the past three years. From its biggest share of more than 35 thousand equivalent to 50 percent share from the total number deployed of entertainers in 2001, it decreased to around 33 thousand (44%) in 2002 and only registered close to 25 thousand (42%) last year. On the other hand, the magnitude of singers and musicians going out of the country showed the exact opposite. Its share to total deployment is steadily on the rise as shown by the actual numbers. From a share of less than 50 percent in 2001, it rose to more than 55 percent and 57 percent for the past two years. Circus performers only accounted for a token share of entertainers sent overseas. As appearing in the table, it only posted a minimal percentage share at an average of only 0.2 percent. Based on POEA data, Japan is almost the lone employer of Filipino circus performers
Processing Rate of OPAs Certification Program
|2002||May 2003-Feb. 2004|
Number of Released ARBs, May 2003-February 2004
New Line - 17,581
Renewals - 18,023
Released - 14,260
Total ARBs Released- 31,841
Source: OPA Operations Unit
After the lifting of the moratorium, assessment figures reached more than 39 thousand since the processing resumed in May 2003. Of those who were subjected to assessment, more than 23 thousand equivalent to 60 percent were certified. Comparing these figures to the immediate year, the number of persons subjected to assessment in the year 2002 was greater than the 2003 figures. This could be attributed to the moratorium that was observed during the first quarter of the year. Percentage-wise, the current certification rate is higher than what was registered in 2002.
In terms of ARB issuance, more than 17 thousand were the outputs for the new line or the so-called "first-timers" while more than 14 thousand ARB holders were renewed. This totals to almost 32 thousand who are eligible to work as performers abroad. Looking at the deployment figures in the year 2003, the total number of persons issued with ARBs for the year is way below the total number deployed which was registered at almost 59 thousand. It could be assumed that the difference were from those who received their ARBs the previous year as ARB validity is three (3) years.
Role of Government
Data would show that there is really market for our entertainers abroad. As market forces dictate that Filipinos mostly women would be willing to work abroad as entertainers given the opportunity, the government is duty-bound to afford protection to them. For this reason, TESDA must exercise its role to safeguard the sanctity of the ARB processing mechanisms. The agency must ensure that only those who are really qualified are issued with ARBs which is a requirement to work overseas. POEA on the other hand, must ensure that there are existing legitimate job orders for licensed recruitment/ placement agencies to impede possible illegal recruitment.
Full computerization of OPAs operations must be done. This is to minimize manual processing and human intervention. This will also fast-track the process of ARB issuance. However, appropriate safeguards must be instituted to protect the system.
Policy Issues for Consideration
For quite sometime, there exists some policy issues that need to be clarified. This pertains to the question as to the right agency that shall be in-charge of ARB processing. Is it TESDA or the POEA? Admittedly, the debate would delve much on the specific mandate of the agency. TESDA is mandated to pursue assessment and certification of workers for quality assurance purposes. But, shall this include ARB processing and issuance? The processing and issuance of ARBs goes beyond assessment and certification. It is more of a regulatory mechanism, similar to a "passport" where only holders are eligible to make use of. In a sense, this is a regulatory tool for OFWs which is the basic mandate of POEA. Thus, an in-depth assessment of the processes to iron out delineation of functions must be undertaken.
Another policy issue pertains on whether or not to decentralize ARB processing. There are persistent clamor to have the process implemented at the regional level. On one hand, regionalization would afford for greater access to OPA applicants aside from the savings in terms of travel cost and time. On the other hand, the question would lie on the capability of the regions to handle the job in terms of manpower, facilities, equipment, among others. Additionally, reality would dictate that promotional agencies, training and assessment venues are located in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.