Filipino manpower firms help in repatriation of workers

DUBAI — The fear of suspension of licence or, in worst cases, revocation by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has led manpower agencies to facilitate the repatriation of distressed Filipino workers from the United Arab Emirates.

By Lily B. Libo-on (Our staff reporter)

Published: Tue 10 Jun 2008, 1:19 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:25 PM

The swift action by manpower agencies came after the suspension of licences of 11 agencies and cancellation of licence of three other companies last year, four of which were involved in bringing domestic helpers to the United Arab Emirates.

Action was taken by POEA against the manpower agencies for various offences, including contract substitution and fake employment visas, upon the recommendation made by Labour Attache Virginia Calvez, head of the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) in Dubai, and by Labour Attache Nasser Munder, head of POLO at the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Failure to assist the troubled workers deployed by manpower agencies can also be a ground for suspension of licence of erring manpower agencies under the Philippine Labour Law.

Contract substitution, in particular, is a clear violation of Part 6, Rule 1, Section 2e of the 2002 POEA Rules and Regulations. The passage of the new Reform Package Affecting Household Service Workers has also given more teeth to the Philippine Labour Law.

Welfare Officer Marilyn R. Vail told Khaleej Times that the repatriation of domestic helpers in distress has become almost a daily scenario at the Philippine Overseas Labour Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO-OWWA) refuge centre in Dubai.

She said that the UAE-based associates of Filipino manpower agencies had financially assisted in repatriating distressed workers.

Currently, only 50 troubled domestic workers are under the custody of POLO-OWWA, 10 of whom are on visit visas. This figure is a big improvement over the recorded runaways in the past two years. Earlier, statistics released by POLO-OWWA in Dubai showed a total of 12,923 in 2006, and it tapered off to 9,444 in 2007.

"During the first quarter of this year, 139 workers were repatriated, more than three-fourths of whom were documented workers," Vail added.

In the past, repatriation of distressed domestic workers was too slow because, in some cases, the employers refused to provide air tickets. In several cases, the manpower agencies that had deployed workers in the UAE had not acted immediately.

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