June 19, 2014
OFW agencies must shape up
Cayetano proposes separate OFW department
Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano is contemplating on filing a bill seeking to create a dedicated department that will look after the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) that is separate from the Department of Labor and Employment.
“Despite a growing economy, it may take 10 to 20 years to bring back our OFWs home. And the perennial problem of discrimination, abuse and injustice will continue. A separate department will be able to address these more effectively,” Cayetano said.
A clear example is the issue of the Hong Kong OFWs who complain about the abusive practices of their recruitment agency, whom they accused of capturing their ATM cards and charging them up to HK$21,000 as placement fee.
Cayetano filed a resolution asking the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to look into the complaint and file the appropriate cases against the recruitment agencies, if warranted.
The senator said his office received from the Global Ministers Association of Hong Kong a letter dated June 7, 2014 requesting his intervention to assist the plight of OFWs against Hong Kong-based Satisfactory Employment and Travel Agency. They claimed that the agency was charging them exorbitant placement and other fees and captured their ATM cards to automatically deduct said fees on a monthly basis.
“I am asking the POEA to look into this. Kawawa naman ang mga OFWs natin kung ito ay totoo. This is why a separate department for OFWs is needed, to address these kinds of issues. Isang departamento na walang iisipin kung hindi kapakanan nila,” he said.
“Ang remittances ng ating mga OFWs ang bumubuhay sa economy natin and yet hindi sila inaalagaan. We need to send a strong message na importante sila, na aalagaan sila ng gobyerno.”