New OFW department to crack down on Illegal recruiters, fixers – Villanueva | Inquirer News

New OFW department to crack down on Illegal recruiters, fixers – Villanueva

/ 09:08 PM January 02, 2022


OFWs wait at the airport. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The new department created for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will eliminate opportunities for illegal recruiters and fixers to thrive and prey on those seeking jobs abroad, Senator Joel Villanueva said Sunday.

Villanueva, principal sponsor and author of Republic Act No. 11461 or the law creating the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), said the measure was crafted to eliminate the “nooks and crannies” where fixers and illegal recruiters thrive to victimize hapless Filipinos seeking greener pastures abroad to provide a decent living to their families and loved ones.


“Ito pong mga fixer at illegal recruiter, hindi lang ang mga kababayan natin ang nabibiktima, pati na rin ang mga pangarap nila para sa kanilang pamilya. Kaya sa bagong DMW na itatatag, tinatanggalan natin sila ng pagkakataong makaloko ng ating mga kababayan,” Villanueva, who also chairs the Senate labor committee, said in a statement.


(These fixers and illegal recruiters, not only victimize our fellow Filipinos, but also destroy the workers’ dreams for their families. That’s why in the new DMW that will be established, we are taking away opportunities for them to fool our fellow Filipinos.)

Villanueva said the new department will create a “blacklist” of individuals and agencies involved in human trafficking in a bid to put illegal recruiters “out of business.”

“But more than getting rid of opportunities for illegal recruiters and fixers to prey on OFWs, our government’s priority continues to be the creation of jobs here in our country. Working overseas should be by choice and not by necessity,” he added.

The law creating the DMV, according to the senator, also “provides clear parameters for ethical recruitment, which is the lawful hiring of workers in [a] fair and transparent manner that respects and protects their dignity and human rights to protect our OFWs from abuses and exploitation.”

This makes the Philippines among the first signatories to the United Nations Global Compact on Migration to include an express provision on ethical recruitment, Villanueva pointed out.

Ethical recruitment covers the accreditation of foreign principals and employers, as well as the licensing and regulation of their counterpart recruitment agencies in the country to eliminate cases of contract violation and substitution, among the many kinds of abuse suffered by OFWs, he explained.


Citing data from the Philippine labor department, Villanueva noted that the government only managed to secure two illegal recruitment convictions each in 2019 and 2020 despite hundreds of cases endorsed to the justice department for prosecution.

He also cited the situation in the Middle East, where the numerous cases of rape and sexual abuse reached 240 in 2020 alone. In the same year, the government recorded 4,302 maltreatment cases of OFWs in the same year, while contract violation and substitution cases reached 21,265 cases, he added.

Meanwhile, Villanueva said that would-be OFWs from the provinces need not go to Metro Manila to process their travel papers or seek assistance as there will be fully operational regional offices for the DMW serving as “one-stop-shop centers” for workers headed abroad.

“Isa na lang po ang entry at exit point para sa lahat ng transaksyon para mabilis ang daloy ng pagproseso ng ating mga OFWs,” he added. “Pinagsama-sama na po natin ang lahat ng ahensiya sa iisang bahay upang mas pabilisin ang serbisyo at gawing streamlined ang mga proseso.”

(There would only be one entry and exit point for all transactions so that process will be faster for our OFWs.

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We are putting all agencies addressing OFW concerns under one roof to hasten services and to streamline processes.)

TAGS: Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, Nation, News, OFWs

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