The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) will create a white and black list of recruitment agencies based on their adherence to recruitment standards and principles, Secretary Susan Ople said Thursday.
Ople said the white list will include agencies that have shown consistent and strict adherence to fair and ethical recruitment standards and principles. It would serve as a guide for OFWs and foreign employers.
Meanwhile, she said the black list will include identities of foreign employers and recruitment agencies that have been blacklisted due to recruitment and labor violations, including severe exploitation and abuse of OFWs.
In a message to reporters, Ople said the list of blacklisted employers is currently being finalized and may be published by next week.
"Safeguarding the rights and welfare of our migrant workers is at the heart of the DMW’s programs, services, and agreements," said Ople in a statement.
"We will always strive to do our best amid so many challenges in the world we live in."
The DMW will also conduct a performance review and assessment of licensed recruitment agencies and their foreign counterparts based on the number of deployed individuals and the capacity to monitor and act on welfare cases.
It will also issue country-specific employment contracts and take into account prevailing labor laws and migration policies, as well as bilateral labor agreements.
Ople said they will also implement strict guidelines to ensure that only qualified and fully-trained domestic workers are deployed. All new employers will also be mandated to watch a video on OFW rights and welfare before the signing of contracts.
She said the agency will also review and craft new verification guidelines for Philippine Overseas Labor Offices to address gaps in the system.
Ople said DMW Undersecretary Bernard Olalia will draft the necessary policy issuances for the guidance of stakeholders for some of the initiatives, while the mandatory orientation will be handled by DMW Undersecretary Hans Cacdac.
Ople said she will also meet with leaders of land-based industries next week to discuss the initiatives. According to her, the DMW will be guided by the UN Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in negotiating bilateral labor agreements to ensure a rights-based approach in the deployment of OFWs.
Meanwhile, she urged Filipinos to be discerning of offers to work abroad, saying that the trafficking of migrant workers is a specific challenge.
Ople said that OFWs in other countries are being illegally recruited to work in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and even countries in Europe.
“We also appeal to our kababayans (countrymen) to be more discerning about such bogus offers, and to report illegal recruiters and human traffickers to the DMW,” she said. —Joahna Lei Casilao/KBK, GMA News