By Samuel Medenilla
The names of employees of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) involved in irregularities within the agency should be disclosed to the public.
The call for transparency was made by a migrant advocate group in the wake of the probe conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on alleged irregularities within the POEA.
In a statement, Migrante International spokesperson Arman Hernando said the DOLE should identify the erring POEA staff once they are proven to have colluded with illegal recruiters.
The names of the individuals and business entities that they are coddling should also be exposed and consequently ordered to pay all their victims, Hernando added.
He also called on the DOLE to revamp the POEA to further minimize any illegal activities within the government agency assigned to monitor and supervise recruitment agencies in the country.
Last Friday, DOLE announced it will be suspending the acceptance and processing of overseas employment certificates (OEC) applications of aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as it conducts another internal investigation in POEA.
The suspension, which will run from Nov. 13 to Dec. 1, 2017, is expected to affect around 75,000 POEA applicants.
An OEC is a document issued by POEA to its Filipino applicants before they could work abroad to ensure their employment contracts are valid.
The suspension drew mixed reactions from migrant and recruitment groups.
Hernando lauded the move as a “bold and momentous” initiative. He further urged the DOLE to abolish the said requirement, which he said serves as “the root cause of illegal recruitment and human trafficking.”
“Now it has become clearer that OEC is but a useless and ‘legalized kotong’ scheme of the government. It has become a tool of officials to amass ill-gotten wealth and let labor exportation businesses to exploit and profit from OFWs. It must be abolished now,” Hernando said.
The recruitment industry, however, opposed the suspension since it will affect even OFWs, who are legally deployed abroad.
They estimate the suspension will cost them at least P132 million as it will require them to rebook the flights of affected Filipino workers.
On Monday the Pilipino Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan (PILMAT) filed an official appeal at the Office of the President for DOLE to lift the suspension order.
In the two-page document, PILMAT Chairman Lina Sy said the suspension will cause “loss of opportunities and deprivation of livelihood and economic benefits” for OFWs.
Tags: Department of Labor and Employment, illegal activities, irregularities, Manila Bulletin, Name erring POEA employees advocate group urges, OEC, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, POEA
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