Philippines’s ambassador stirs labor debate

Manila’s ambassador to Morocco, Leslie Baja, announced on Wednesday that the Philippines is seeking to establish a labor cooperation agreement with Morocco in order to create more opportunities for Filipino professionals. As part of the cooperation, the ambassador mentioned Morocco’s plan to to hire Filipinos heath professionals especially nurses.

Currently, around 4,600 Filipinos reside in Morocco, with over half of them working as household service workers and others in beauty salons and the electronics industry. Given that the Philippines and Morocco are both strong supporters of migration, discussions are ongoing to strengthen their labor cooperation and safeguard the rights of workers.

While formal talks have yet to commence, the embassy is coordinating with the Philippines’ Department of Migrant Workers to finalize a memorandum of understanding by the end of the year. This initial agreement is expected to focus on cooperation in labor, employment, and vocational training. Additionally, the deal could lead to the hiring of Filipino professionals in Morocco, such as healthcare workers like nurses, who are in high demand worldwide.

Relations between the two countries have improved since Manila reopened its embassy in Rabat last year, following a 30-year closure due to budgetary constraints. As the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations approaches in 2025, the two countries are expected to strengthen their collaboration further.

The plan to hire nurses has especially caused a stern debate in Morocco between opponents and proponents. Some argue that Moroccans need better trained nurses from abroad. While some highlight the controversy of the plan at a time when local nurses are protesting for better wages and working conditions.