Philippine Labor Attaché to Kuwait Atty. Cesar Chavez Jr. stated that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) may impose suspension on Philippine recruitment agencies based on violations committed against ‘Thirty One’ provisions including so called ‘Basket Provisions’.
Due to successive reported cases of abused and maltreated Filipino house service workers, deploying agencies have taken lead in providing assistance such as immediate rescue vital to the security and welfare of their workers. However set of provisions may further restrict if not suspend operations of some recruitment agencies from deploying workers to Kuwait.
In an exclusive interview with Atty. Chavez, he told The Times that the most common violations committed by recruitment agencies in Kuwait and Philippines include failure to provide welfare assistance to house service workers in need, misrepresentations of actual employer, amount of salary, position of worker against what has been approved by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) administrative sanction may apply. Republic Act 1842 also prohibits deployment of underage workers, collection of excessive placement fees and on countries and companies that prohibit. However, Atty. Chavez mentioned that due process that grants respondent; agencies and workers to explain is also applied and if proven guilty then suspension is applied or if without sufficient evidence may disregard the complaints.
Documentary suspension may also apply to agencies that continuously violate provisions and to control operations of alleged agencies. “At present, we have 136 accredited and licensed recruitment agencies streamlined from 300 existed in the past. We also have stopped approval of accreditations of new agencies”, commented Atty. Chavez. Suspension of agencies from operations also depend on the gravity of the violations such as human trafficking, sever injuries and maltreatments, establishments of “Prima “Facie” evidences that include direct participation with knowledge of the agencies, then suspension may apply immediately following outcome of investigations.
Atty. Chavez also mentioned that successful repatriations of workers are currently underway on daily basis but group repatriation ahs somehow slowed down due to the month of Ramadan and change of hierarchy in the ministry’s posts. “We are very much in control of the numbers of workers seeking refuge at our resource center,” concluded Atty. Chavez.
— Ricky Laxa