A Filipino woman who now holds a senior position in a government agency in her homeland has credited her experience as a migrant factory worker in Taiwan that began nearly two decades ago for helping her in her career advancement.

Jerlinda A Cruz, now chief of the aquaculture section of the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), told Taiwan News in an interview that she started working in the production-line quality-control department at I-Mei Foods’ Nankan plant in Taoyuan, northwestern Taiwan, around 18 years ago.

Like tens of thousands of other Filipinos, Cruz needed to work overseas to support her family, in her case a younger sister and a brother finishing college.

At I-Mei, Cruz not only had a stable job, she also met her husband, who worked in the same factory as chief cook at the time. They returned to the Philippines and got married in 1999.

Back home in the Philippines, Cruz started working for BFAR, and after spending five years to earn a Master of Science degree, she secured her current position at the bureau.

Right now, she is pursuing a doctoral degree fully funded by the Philippine government, and hopes to become the next director of the bureau upon completion.

Her experience in quality control in the production of squid balls, fish balls and jelly ace, made from seaweed, at the I-Mei plant qualifies her to apply for a Professional Regulation Commission certificate in the Philippines, which is a prerequisite for her expected promotion to bureau director. For that she expressed her hearty gratitude to her previous work experience in Taiwan.