THE Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has closed down the office of an illegal recruitment agency in Ermita, Manila. It was offering non-existent jobs in the Middle East.
DMW Secretary Susan "Toots" Ople said six illegal recruiters from Davao City were apprehended after about 235 complainants came forward.
"We are serving notice to all illegal recruiters. The purpose of the DMW and the administration of President (Ferdinand) Marcos Jr. is to provide protection to our countrymen who wish to work abroad. There will be no letup in our campaign against illegal recruiters," Ople said.
The DMW chief said the Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch (AIRB) padlocked the office of Kharem's International, an unregistered and unlicensed company posing to hire domestic workers, beauticians, and on-call cleaners for the United Arab Emirates and other Middle Eastern countries.
Ople said the DMW received complaints about Kharem's International's bogus job offerings in exchange for placement and other "advance" fees. The operation was conducted with the help of officials of Barangay 668 in Ermita, Manila. She said victims of Kharem's International are advised to contact the AIRB for free legal assistance in the filing of cases.
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On the other hand, Ople said one of the six illegal recruiters from Davao City was apprehended after 109 victims went to Blas F. Ople Building in Mandaluyong City. A certain Vegloure Ragotero has been recruiting them.
Ragotero was neither connected with any licensed recruitment agency nor authorized to engage in the recruitment of workers abroad. Ople said she has ordered an investigation into Ragotero's presence in the building.
Another batch of 126 victims identified their illegal recruiters as Zahra Kaharudin, Alma Camasura, Maria Katherine Omambat, Connie Cosmod, and Glodie May Pandian. They were detained at the facility of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Anti-Transnational Crime Unit of the Philippine National Police.
Charges of large-scale illegal recruitment, a non-bailable offense under Republic Act 10022, otherwise known as the "Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995," are being prepared against them.
Ople said Ragotero and her colleagues have been recruiting male applicants as cleaners for Qatar, and female applicants as cleaners and waitresses for Bahrain. They allegedly entice job seekers with a monthly salary of more or less P40,000 in exchange for P25,000 representing supposed placement and processing fees, and plane tickets from Davao to Manila.
She urged the public to always verify job offers with the POEA to avoid falling prey to illegal recruitment schemes.