Saturday, February 28, 2009

More victims to unscrupulous recruiters

28 February 2009

Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 09217229740

Half a million job openings abroad spell more victims to unscrupulous recruiters

In a press conference held in Quezon city, Migrante International, a global alliance of Filipino migrant organizations, warned aspiring OFWs about what it termed as “open season for crooked recruiters to abuse innocent applicants,” referring to President Arroyo’s announcement of government-negotiated half a million job openings abroad.

To prove this allegation, retrenched OFWs from Taiwan Alma Ang, Artess Diaz, Maryjane Javier and Evanessa Jalmadrid revealed how their recruiters overcharged them. The alleged recruitment agencies were MIP International Manpower Services, Fil-Sino Manpower Services Inc., Staffline Recruitment Agency and Forever Recruitment Agency.

According to Migrante, more than 25 retrenched OFWs from Taiwan have personally complained to DOLE Secretary Marianito Roque himself that the placement fee they paid their recruiters ranged from PHP85,000 to PHP135,000 when the legal amount approved by POEA is only about PHP27,000, three times more than what is allowed by law. To date, POEA has not even investigated any of the recruiters despite numerous demands.

“We have received reports that overcharging is actually an open secret in the industry; but government officials consider this as part of the “market reality”, especially in Taiwan,” disclosed Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International.

Martinez further questioned why GMA totally ignored the Bureau of Immigration’s pronouncement that the POEA is engaging in large scale illegal recruitment and human trafficking; victimizing at least 10,000 OFWs monthly.

“In total disregard of such an alarming revelation by no less than the BI, the President even graced the POEA job fair, signaling her consent for such illegal practices to continue,” explained Martinez. “From the looks of it, it as if the government and these dishonest agencies are in cahoots together drooling over the big bucks they make from exorbitant fees and remittances.”

“For as long as the President, DOLE and POEA prioritize the selling of OFWs as commodities and turns a blind eye and deaf ear to the plea of these OFWs to prosecute unscrupulous recruiters, cases of overcharging and illegal recruitment will dramatically rise to alarming proportions this year,” added Martinez.

Migrante announced that, in their scheduled dialogue with POEA Administrator Jenifer Manalili on Monday, they will challenge Administrator Manalili to, once and for all, prosecute these recruiters or resign from her post. Delaying government’s action on these cases only means corruption is rampant and that connivance between government official and recruiters is well-entrenched in overseas employment,” Martinez concluded.###

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