MANILA – A non-government organization that provides assistance to distressed overseas Filipino workers called on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to crack down on licensed recruitment agencies that continue to deploy unqualified and ill-prepared job applicants as domestic workers overseas particularly for the Middle East.
The Blas F. Ople Policy Center cited the recent case of a Filipino domestic worker in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia who was sent home by her employer because of her failure to speak and understand English.
“The POEA should immediately summon and investigate the recruitment agency that deployed her because they are putting our workers at harm’s way,” the Blas F. Ople Policy Center said.
Based on a news report, Joan (not her real name) was told to go home when her Arab employer found out that she couldn’t speak even a word of English. She left for Saudi Arabia last January.
Susan Ople, head of the policy center, noted that failure on the part of licensed recruitment agencies to screen and deploy only qualified job applicants has contributed to the rise in welfare cases involving Filipino domestic workers.
“In this particular case, “Joan” revealed that she relied on an “agent” that brought her to a licensed recruitment agency. It was the agent that filled up the forms and put together all the necessary documents,” Ople said.
The policy center noted that this scheme was similar to the manner by which OFW Joanna Demafelis was recruited for Kuwait. “We urge the POEA to look into the prevalent use of sub-agents that work for recruitment agencies on a commission basis,” she said.
The former labor undersecretary stressed that licensed recruitment agencies should adhere to ethical recruitment policies that would include making sure that the workers that they deploy possess the right kind of skills and are fully prepared for the life of an OFW.
The labor advocate also stressed the need to enhance the quality of pre-departure orientation seminars (PDOS) especially for first-time OFWs. “The PDOS seminars can be an effective platform to gauge the preparedness of a first-time OFW,” Ople said.