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Errant Philippine recruitment agencies face Manila government crackdown
By Mariecar Jara-Puyod January 20, 2013
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DUBAI: Manila is serious at going after errant  Philippine recruitment or manpower agencies and their foreign partners, based on the latest 10 individual cases of illegal recruitment and maltreatment filed before the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

In a related development, Labour Attache for Dubai and the Northern Emirates Delmer Cruz told The Gulf Today that several of the 120 approved and registered manpower agencies at the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Dubai have so far complied with the $400.00 (Dhs1,500.00) minimum wage for Filipino household service workers.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ Labour and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, at the recent general meeting and conference of all 38 labour attaches in Metro Manila, had directed all of them to look for better alternative jobs for Filipinos wanting to work overseas, particularly in the semi-skilled and skilled sectors.

Cruz said the reminder for more overseas job diversification was echoed for the safety as well as security of overseas Filipino workers.

“The secretary reminded us to look at labour markets that are less vulnerable for the Filipino workers and wher they would be better paid and have better working conditions,” he said.

The former special assistant to the Department of Labour and Employment undersecretary for employment said that in the UAE, the “growing” markets are in the hospitality, health and wellness trades, particularly resorts, hotels and spas.

Cruz added in demand are hotel personnel, nail technicians, hairstylists and massage therapists.

10 cases

On the case of the 10 maltreated Filipinas, the former labour attache to Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia and Seoul, South Korea, said all of the cases have been docketed at the POEA Adjudication Office.

Meanwhile, notices of hearing or summons have been worked on, and their recruitment agencies have been suspended or cancelled from doing any transactions.

The 10 were sheltered at the Polo-Filipino Workers Resource Centre for between three weeks and three months last year before their repatriation.

Cruz, a lawyer, helped the 10 prepare their sworn statements and affidavits for the “case build-up” against their agencies for illegal recruitment.

A run-through on the brief showed that some of the cases also included employers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

The documents subscribed under oath by the Philippine Consulate General-Dubai were parcelled to the POEA Adjudication Office in October 2012.

One agency had been discovered without a POEA licence to recruit and a record of deployment, a few issued two employment visas while a majority used visit visas for their clients.

Cruz reiterated Manila’s message to Filipinos interested in becoming overseas workers: “Do not be carried away by the sweet talk and promises of the recruiters.”

“Do background checking on the recruitment agencies and exert effort in knowing more about the working conditions in the country they intend to work in.”

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