POEA: Illegal recruitment for jobs abroad down by 52% in 2011
In an interview with GMA News Online on Thursday, POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the drop in illegal recruitment — from 468 complaints in 2010 to only 224 in 2011 — can be attributed to the POEA's campaign against it.
“Ang explanation namin [sa pagbaba ng bilang] ay ‘yung effort namin. Siguro ngayon nakikita na ng ating mga kababayan ang impact ng illegal recruitment,” Cacdac said.
“May kamalayan na rin sila ukol sa illegal recruitment dahil sa mga education programs, seminars at trainings na ibinabahagi natin katulong ang local government officials,” he claimed.
Cacdac said : “Even though the figures gone down, we will not let our guards down because many [illegal recruiters] are still out there. Therefore, our preventive efforts should be increased."
He cited that POEA has been seeking partnership with other local government units and education institutions to educate local communities and prospective foreign workers.
Meanwhile, sought for comment on the lower number of illegal recruitment cases, a representative of labor group Migrante International, who refused to be named, said they have yet to read the preliminary report of POEA.
She noted that even though POEA claimed that illegal recruitment cases went down, cases of illegal recruitment cases are still being reported in their office.
“Patuloy pa rin ang pagpasok ng [report ng illega] recruitment sa amin lalo na ngayong first quarter ng 2012," she said.
Lower number of disposed cases
However, the preliminary data from the POEA also showed that fewer cases of illegal recruitment were disposed last year — from 283 cases in 2010 to only 153 in 2011.
“We want to improve the number of conviction, more than double in what we have posted in 2011,” Cacdac said, noting the judiciary has the authority to dispose the cases, not the POEA.
He said the POEA is seeking a dialogue with the courts to expedite the resolution of the cases.
Meanwhile, the Migrante representative said, "Majority so far ng mga cases na isinampa namin sa kanila (POEA) ay wala pa rin resolusyon.”
The POEA also arrested two persons last year and shut down two establishments because of illegal recruitment.
However, the figures were also lower compared to the 12 persons arrested and six establishments that were closed in 2010.
The number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) deployed last year stood at 1.6 million, higher compared to the previous year’s 1.47 million deployed foreign workers.
Meanwhile, on its news release, the POEA warned OFWs against using “backdoor exits” in going abroad, such as Mindanao and Palawan, where several workers are illegally deployed to countries such as Malaysia, South Korea, China, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, and other Middle East countries.
"Hence, I would advise aspiring OFWs to be doubtful when recruiters offer Mindanao and Palawan as exit points. Please be very, very careful and always check whether the recruiter, foreign employer, and the job order are in POEA records," Cacdac said.
“Workers deployed through the backdoor exits would usually end up either stranded without work in a foreign country, or forced to accept low-paying household jobs or as farm hands in remote plantations or establishments used as front for prostitution,” he added.
Cacdac stressed that women are the most vulnerable in human trafficking.
The POEA statement cited that five Filipina has been recently rescued in a night club in Malaysia, allegedly controlled by a "large syndicate" involved in human trafficking for prostitution.
POEA explained that the syndicate transported the victims through the Zamboanga-Sandakan-Kota Kinabalu-Johor Bahru route. - VVP, GMA News