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Pinoy Abroad

DMW eyes return of scammed OFW money through AMLC

The Department of Migrant Workers is eyeing the return of payments given by aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to illegal recruiters through an agreement with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), a DMW official announced Friday.

“One of the major challenges faced by the DMW in cases and in the projects we implement regarding the anti-illegal recruitment activities… is how to restore the amounts of money illegally collected by these illegal recruiters and ‘yun po ang naisip namin,” Migrant Undersecretary Bernard Olalia said in a Zoom briefing.

According to Olalia, the DMW and the AMLC signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Thursday to combat illegal recruitment and trafficking.

“Dahil meron po silang freeze order capacity, requesting the appropriate court to freeze, track, and forfeit the accounts. ‘Yun po ang ginagawa natin para maibalik po natin sa mga OFWs natin ‘yung hard-earned money na siningil po ng mga illegal recruiters,” Olalia said.

(Because they have a freeze order capacity, requesting the appropriate court to freeze, track, and forfeit the accounts. So, this is what we are doing to return to our OFWs the hard-earned money asked by illegal recruiters.)

The undersecretary further said the AMLC had more capacity to file forfeiture cases.

“Meron silang tinatawag na civil forfeiture at saka criminal forfeiture. Sila lang ‘yung may mandate na kung saan pwede nilang ma-recover ‘yung mga amounts na nakolekta nila, for example, sa ating mga OFWs,” Olalia said.

(They have what is called civil forfeiture and criminal forfeiture. They are the only ones with the mandate through which they can recover the amounts that they collect, for example, from our OFWs.)

He said another challenge faced by the DMW was that illegal recruiters move beyond the country’s borders.

“‘Yung AMLC natin, meron silang capacity at meron silang mga connection para po alamin, no. At isa pa, idagdag ko na rin, medyo high-tech na ngayon eh,” he said.

(The AMLC has the capacity and the connections to find out. And it’s also high-tech now.)

The DMW Undersecretary explained that these payments to illegal recruiters could be made through mobile payment services, and the department could not track these except through the cooperation of the AMLC. — DVM, GMA Integrated News