• POLO-SG suspends recruiter for selling maids in malls

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    The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Singapore has suspended the accreditation of Homekeeper Agency, the recruitment firm responsible for the “discounts on maids” marketing strategy there.

    Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said POLO-Singapore has suspended the accreditation of a foreign placement agency (FPA) of the Homekeeper, which was one of the two agencies alleged to be involved in the practice.

    “Labor Attaché [Vicente] Cabe has reported that the POLO has suspended its accreditation of Homekeeper Agency,” Baldoz said.

    The manager of the agency was invited to answer the allegations and was instructed to bring their workers to the Philippine Embassy for interview, she added.

    Aside from the Homekeeper, DOLE had also referred the Budget Maid Agency to the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
    It was learned that the Budget Maid Agency is not accredited with the POLO-Singapore.

    Earlier, DOLE looked into reports that foreign domestic workers, including Filipino household service workers, were being put on display and made available for “purchase” at “discounted prices” in some shopping malls in Singapore.

    Meanwhile, two of the five overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were victims of the marketing scheme underwent a settlement and obtained a refund of the money claims with the Homekeeper.

    The two were present during the POLO investigation.

    One of the two was identified as Louvette Seguerra from Davao, who arrived in Singapore in November 2013 and worked for two employers.

    Seguerra, before her repatriation, claimed S$1,676 (P58,655) from the agency after the settlement.

    Gina Limpag, who arrived in Singapore in March also received S$724 (P25,338) before she was repatriated on July 1.

    POLO-Singapore is still investigating the cases of Mary Grace Cansejo, Armie Ponce and Lilia Patrocinio, the other Filipino household workers who were victims of the scheme.

    On the other hand, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has identified the four POEA-licensed agencies that have Homekeeper Agency as their principal.

    The four agencies are Maanyag International Manpower Corporation, Migrant Workers Manpower Agency, Inc., Kirsten Recruitment, Inc., and Uni-Link Overseas Placement Agency Corporation.

    According to Baldoz, POEA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac will meet the officials and representatives of the agencies in the Philippines to hear their side of the issue and why they allowed the Homekeeper to be their principal agency.

    However, the DOLE chief explained that the sanctions that will be imposed on the recruitment firms will still depend on the answers to the queries of the POEA.

    “The POEA will base its subsequent action on their explanation [for the said marketing scheme],” she said.

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