Authored by: Nicon Fameronag (Former undersecretary DOLE) Date posted: Jun 27, 2018
The Lilac Center for Public Interest, a private policy advocacy and research organization, yesterday urged the Department of Labor and Employment to investigate the alleged illegal recruitment of overseas Filipino workers from Taiwan, Malaysia, and possibly, Singapore and Hong Kong, for work, mostly in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, in Poland.
“During the marketing mission of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI) to Poland, of which the Lilac Center served as adviser, we have been informed by the Philippine Embassy in Warsaw, headed by Ambassador Patricia Ann V. Paez, that the Embassy had assisted a number of OFWs who had come to report that they had been duped by a Taiwanese recruiter for work in Poland, only to find out that their work in the country were of short duration, of low pay, and the conditions miserable. They allegedly shelled out between P400,000 to P500,000 for this patently illegal recruitment scheme,” Nicon F. Fameronag, president of the Lilac Center, said during the PASEI’s post-marketing mission press conference in Manila yesterday.
Fameronag, a former undersecretary of the DOLE, said one OFW, James Mat- an Clemente, of Baguio City, was one of the victims who had been promised a low-paying factory job and had to “escape” and go to the Philippine Embassy for help. The Philippines has no Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Warsaw.
“Another OFW, who asked that he not be named, had also emerged and reported to the Philippine Embassy his being a victim of illegal recruitment,” Fameronag bared.
“Over a hundred OFWs in Taiwan had already been victimized by Taiwanese placement agencies, according to reports that had reached us. They prey on Filipinos who are already in Taiwan and in Malaysia, and these OFWs unknowingly fell on the sweet promise of lucrative jobs in Poland by these unscrupulous recruiters,” Fameronag further said.
“As they are already in a second country, these OFWs no longer pass by or come back to the Philippines before leaving for Poland, hence, they are not documented by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and are
therefore, unprotected.” Fameronag added.
One recruitment agency that allegedly illegally recruits OFWs in Taiwan is Global Giant Transmigration Consulting Corporation in Taiching District, Taipei City. This agency, according to the Lilac Center official, also owns an agency
or is a partner to one agency in Warsaw and recruits OFWs in Taiwan and
Malaysia for Poland.
“We urge Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to direct the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taiwan, MECO being under the Office of the President, to coordinate with Taiwanese authorities for this agency to be investigated for its alleged illegal recruitment activities, and possibly, human trafficking, to Poland.
Fameronag said the government should also monitor OFWs legally deployed by licensed recruitment agencies to Taiwan for they could be the possible victims of this illegal recruitment scheme, particularly if they break and do not finish their contracts, or if they do not return to the country after the end of their contracts.
There have been reports in the past of OFWs who apply for jobs in another country while serving their contracts in the country where they were originally deployed, but this is the first time the Lilac Center has encountered OFWs victimized by this “third-country” recruitment scheme.