After OFWs got duped in Italy, solon wants illegal recruitment part of NBI’s scope
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has suggested that illegal recruitment be included as part of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) jurisdiction after several overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were tricked into paying around P39 million for fraudulent job postings.
OFW party-list Rep. Marissa Magsino on Wednesday said that the expansion of NBI’s scope, to include illegal recruitment, will be beneficial to OFWs who fell victims to syndicates offering supposedly high-paying jobs for huge placement fees.
“This expansion of NBI’s primary investigative authority is crucial as we face emergent and growing threats to our national security and to our citizens, especially the evolving crime of illegal recruitment. It has been expanding through the use of online modes and multi-country transit points schemes,” Magsino said in a statement.
“Recently, there have been numerous cases of illegal recruitment of [OFWs] for countries, particularly in Southeast Asia. We need the NBI, with its expertise, to be at the forefront of our fight against illegal recruitment,” she added.
Magsino said this after the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) confirmed that alleged illegal recruiters in Italy have been preying on OFWs, with at least 215 Filipinos losing around P39 million to two Milan-based agencies.
In a statement on Monday, DMW said it is collaborating with the Philippine Consulate General and the DMW Migrant Workers Office, both in Milan, as well as with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and other government agencies to investigate the matter.
Magsino said that her proposal to expand NBI’s jurisdiction is contained in House Bill (HB) No. 9351 filed last September 27, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 10867 or the National Bureau of Investigation Reorganization and Modernization Act.
Under Magsino’s bill, NBI’s investigative capabilities and primary jurisdiction would be heightened to ensure that it can act on more issues at hand.
HB No. 9351, if enacted, would amend Section 5 of R.A. No. 10867 by including the following cases as part of NBI’s primary jurisdiction:
- Illegal recruitment
- Threats to the security or assault against the person of media practitioners and activists
- Threats to the security or assault against the person of justices and judges
- Killing, threats, attacks against the Ombudsman and chairpersons of Constitutional commissions
incidents caused by human-instigated disasters
- Cases involving rebellion, insurrection, terrorism
- Cases involving violation of environmental laws
- Cases involving falsification of documents
Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo, who is also chair of the House committee on overseas workers affairs, meanwhile urged the government to act quickly and assist OFWs who fell victim to the scam.
“It is of utmost importance that we swiftly and effectively address this distressing situation faced by our overseas Filipino workers in Italy. Cooperation between our government agencies and Italian authorities is essential to ensure that the perpetrators face the full force of the law,” Salo said.
“We stand in solidarity with the victims and their families, and we will do everything within our power to bring those responsible to justice,” he added.
Similarly, he asked the NBI and the Philippine National Police (PNP), along with other local authorities to probe the incident and apprehend the Italian fraudsters’ accomplices in the Philippines.
“The Filipino people deserve justice and we are committed to ensuring that these cases are resolved swiftly and transparently,” Salo noted.