OFW with I-Mei working experience nominated as director of Philippines government department

Jerlinda A Cruz worked in the production line quality control department at I-Mei Foods Taoyuan Nankan plant 18 years ago.


TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The phenomenon of deskilling of Overseas Foreign Workers has become very widespread in the Philippines, as many Filipino workers return to the country less skilled after being assigned simple tasks abroad. However, when given a skilled position provided with training, the condition could be changed, and the life story of Jerlinda, the chief of the aquaculture section of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), is the best example.

Jerlinda Ancheta Cruz worked in the production line quality control department at the I-Mei Foods Co. plant in the Taoyuan City area of Nankan 18 years ago. She could never imagine that the working experience she gained at I-Mei could bring her the life-changing opportunity of becoming the director of BFAR.

A proof of working certificate to extend Jerlinda's working visa in 1996 signed by I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko (Photo credit: I-Mei Foods)

Jerlinda first came to Taiwan and worked at I-Mei foods 18 years ago in order to support her sister and brother finishing college. After working in Taiwan for five years, she realized she had reached the age to get married, so she and her boyfriend, who also worked in the same company as chief cook, moved back to the Philippines in 1999. “I could only say I met my significant other at the right place and the right time,” she said with all smiles, “and I feel really grateful because everything I have today was from the foundation given by I-Mei.”

After going back to the Philippines, she started working at the BFAR and spent five years to get her Master of Science degree, and was promoted to her current position.

She is now the biologist, seaweed Action Officer, and chief of the aquaculture section of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and fully funded by the government for her doctoral degree, with a promotion likely to director of the Bureau.

Besides the doctoral degree, she also needs to obtain a Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) certificate of the Philippines to get the promotion, and the Bureau requested her to provide a proof that she had working experience in a company the process fishery products to be eligible for it.

She immediately remembered that I-Mei Foods processed squid balls, fish balls and jelly ace which was made of seaweeds when she worked at the Nankan plant in 1994.

She booked the flight to Taiwan right away then showed up at the Taoyuan Nankan plant all of a sudden, and surprised all her old colleagues. All the staff are happy for her and feel aspired after hearing her story.

Jerlinda took a walk accompanied by her old friends at the plant, and remember all the memories she had. “Weren't it for my family, I might have had extended the contract and might still be working here,” she murmured, “and it’s interesting to imagine what kind of life I would have if I made a different decision then,” she said while looking around at the surroundings.