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POEA Chief deserves praise, not ouster

The country’s biggest and well-established organizations in overseas employment expressed their full support to the leadership of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), rejecting calls for their immediate ouster.

The Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc (PASEI), the OFW Family Party-List, Philippine Migrants Rights Watch, Pinoy Expat Bloggers Awards (PEBA), Patnubay-Riyadh, Philippine Recruitment Agencies Accredited to Saudi Arabia (PRAASA), Filipino Migrant Workers’ Group, and the Blas F. Ople Policy Center have banded together in a united front in support of the POEA’s reform agenda to bring about ethical recruitment.

“We support the drive of the POEA to institute reforms within the recruitment sector with emphasis on fair recruitment practices for the greater protection of our modern-day heroes,” Elsa Villa, PASEI president, said.

PASEI issued a statement in reaction to a call from a group of disgruntled recruitment agency owners that is calling for the ouster of POEA Administrator Cacdac for his alleged arbitrary actions in disciplining erring recruitment agencies.

Two other industry leaders, Loreto Soriano, president emeritus of PASEI and John Bertiz, head of the PRAASA, stressed that majority of agency owners and stakeholders have no problems with the reforms initiated by Labor Secretary Baldoz and Administrator Cacdac.

“We find it unfair and misplaced for these agency owners to seek the ouster of Administrator Cacdac, considering that most of us in the recruitment industry are able to observe and comply with the rules and regulations of the POEA. Recruitment agencies are mandated to uphold the rules meant to promote ethical and transparent recruitment practices,” Soriano said.

Meanwhile, the OFW Family Party-List expressed all-out support to efforts to cleanse the recruitment industry of repeat offenders. “No less than the lives of our OFWs are at stake in this effort to discipline erring agencies. In due time, those calling for the ouster of Administrator Cacdac will have to explain to the public their own spotty performance in protecting the workers they have deployed overseas,” Congressman Roy Seneres said.

Among the innovations undertaken by POEA Administrator Cacdac to strengthen the protection of overseas Filipino workers were:

1. Streamlined and quicker process in obtaining Overseas Employment Certificates here and overseas.

2. Mandatory Facebook accounts for recruitment agencies deploying household workers to ensure accessibility to the workers they’ve deployed as well as their families particularly those living outside Metro Manila;

3. Ongoing bilateral labor talks with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to curb human trafficking and abuses against Filipino domestic workers;

4. Cancellation of licenses for agencies that have repeat violations (in line with the 3-strike rule of the POEA) including those that deploy under-aged domestic workers;

5. Efforts to promote ethical recruitment policies from the application process to onsite services and reintegration of OFWs to include proper orientations about the country of destination, stricter screening of foreign employers and foreign agency counterparts, and continuous monitoring of the workers deployed overseas.

“It is unfortunate that this group of disgruntled agency owners prefer to resort to disinformation and propaganda rather than invest in ethical recruitment procedures and welfare mechanisms for the protection of the workers they deploy. POEA Administrator Cacdac deserves to be commended, not ousted, for his initiatives to reform the industry,” Susan Ople of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center said.

Those in favor of ethical recruitment have nothing to fear or complain about, Carmelita Nuqui of the Philippine Migrant Rights Watch, stressed. “Kung may kalokohang ginagawa, talagang aaray dahil tinatamaan sila ng reporma ng POEA at DOLE,” she said.  (END)