As it continue to receive, on a daily basis, cases of illegal recruitment victimizing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), a Filipino migrants’ rights group today said the Philippine government, from the preceding years up to this current year (2011) now under the Aquino III administration, ‘performs very poorly in combating illegal recruitment activities’.
Saudi-based M-ME regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona revealed, citing his group monitoring of illegal recruitment cases in the Middle East, they’re receiving on the average 10 OFWs victim of illegal recruitment asking for assistance.
Monterona added following the strictest sense of the definition of illegal recruitment activities as defined by law (RA 10022), the average number of OFWs as victim of illegal recruitment will surge.
“Illegal recruitment has been fully defined in the newly amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act or RA 10022. The amended law indentifies more or less 21 illegal recruitment activities that fall within the category of either syndicated or large scale illegal recruitment,” Monterona noted.
Monterona cited for instance charging of excessive placement fee by a recruitment agency to an OFW or would-be OFW is an illegal recruitment activity -a crime, which of course, is punishable by law.
Contract tampering and substitution is also an illegal recruitment activity, wantonly committed by recruitment agencies in cahoots with its counterpart local agencies in the host country, according to Monterona.
Monterona citing POEA 2010 statistics, the govt. handled 1,648 cases of illegal recruitment but it only acted and resolved 283, translated to 17.2% disposition rate; 1,365 cases were pending at end year of 2010.
“On 2004, only 12 persons were arrested and 6 recruitment agencies were closed, out of the 1,648 case of illegal recruitment handdled by the POEA,” Monterona noted.
Illegal recruitment cases disposition recorded by the POEA which was its highest rate recorded on 2004 with 44.5% or 650 cases have been acted out of 1,462 illegal recruitment cases.
“The low incidence of illegal recruitment and trafficking cases officially recorded by the government is due to the govt. agencies and labor offices abroad reluctance to pursue and provide support to OFWs to file cases against illegal recruiters,” Monterona added.
He observed that instead of providing support to the victims of illegal recruitment, labor officials are often cited by the victims discouraging them to file cases either in host country labor court or in the POEA or in the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
“The Aquino administration has to work hard in filling and pursuing cases against illegal recruiters and human traffickers if it’s really sincere in combating the rampant illegal recruitment activities victimizing thousands of OFWs and applicants,” Monterona ended. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator