• 4 recruiters suspended over sex-for-flight scheme

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    Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac reiterated to the recruitment agencies that violates the POEA rules seeking to protect Filipino household service workers abroad will be liable for their actions.

    This after Cacdac ordered the preventive suspension of four recruitment agencies that deployed OFWs who fell victims to the ‘sex-for-flight’ scheme.

    These agencies are Kozen International Inc., Azizzah International Manpower Services, Jobstar International Manpower Service, and Ideal Placement and Manpower Services.

    Cacdac said the four agencies were found to have violated POEA rules in the engagements of misrepresentation, contract substitution, illegal collection of placement fee, and other recruitment violations in the process of recruitment and deployment of OFWs Elena Beleta and Grace Victoria Sales.

    “The evidence is strong indicating that the complainant’s documents were reprocessed—having been deployed by a recruitment agency other than the one she [Beleta] originally applied with, and was made to work for a different position and employer other than what she initially applied and accepted for employment,” Cacdac said.

    In a sworn statement, Beleta allegedly applied as beautician with Azizzah International and paid the agency P15,000 as placement fee, but her documents were submitted by Kozen International for processing as a female nurse at the POEA.

    The Department of Labor and Employment investigating team chaired by Atty. Leah Fortuna endorsed the two cases to POEA, seeking for legal action on the allegations of the complainants.

    Sales’ complaint-affidavit said that she applied as household service worker with Jobstar International, in December 2011 and was required to pay a placement fee to be deducted from her salary of 800 riyals.

    Upon the verification of Sales’ records, it was discovered that her documents were processed by Ideal Placement for a housekeeping position at AMI Saudi Arabia Limited/Security Forces Hospital with a monthly salary of $314.

    Cacdac said that he found strong evidence that Jobstar International and Ideal Placement committed serious violations of the POEA rules on recruitment and deployment of OFWs.

    Cacdac also ordered the suspension of AMI Saudi Arabia Limited and Samaya Advanced Dental Polyclinic—the foreign agencies of the recruitment agencies—and their inclusion in the POEA list of agencies and principals temporarily disqualified from recruiting Filipino workers for overseas employment.

    Recently, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz reminded recruitment agencies ‘not to lose sight of their duty’ to protect domestic workers deployed abroad.

    “The obligation of a licensed recruitment agency to its hired OFWs does not end upon their deployment to the worksite. The recruitment agency has continues obligation to ensure protection of workers, especially domestic workers,” Baldoz disclosed.

    A preventive suspension is issued against licensed recruitment agencies or employers when there are reasonable grounds to believe that their continued operation will lead to further violation and exploitation of workers’ recruited.

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