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Buhay Pinay




Philippine News

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POLO plans to move to United Centre

15 April 2016

By Vir B. Lumicao

Plans are afoot to move the Philippine Overseas Labor Office back to the United Centre building in Admiralty, but not necessarily returning to its former space inside the Philippine Consulate on the 14th floor.
Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre said in an interview on Apr 8 that he was looking for available space in United Centre so overseas Filipino workers will not have to go to two different buildings to process their work contracts.
“We are planning to move back to the United Centre if there’s a vacant unit there. This place is too inconvenient for OFWs,” De la Torre said of POLO’s offices on the 11th and 16th floors of the Admiralty Centre Tower 1 where it moved about two years ago.
He said it was too burdensome for the workers to move from one building to another “for basically the same transactions” such as contracts, authentication, and passport renewal.”
De la Torre disclosed that he had already met with the building administrator at United Centre to discuss his search for POLO’s new home.
His other objection is over the high cost of rental for POLO’s offices in Admiralty Centre. For the two offices, the total rental amounts to $460,000 a month, a sum that even other labor officials deem excessive, especially considering the more pressing need to provide help to distressed migrant workers.
“This is a mistake, and it’s expensive,” De La Torre said in describing POLO’s present quarters.
Finding the new offices has also proved challenging to many OFWs. More than a year after POLO moved to its posh quarters, many still find it difficult to find their way there.
On Sundays, entry to the building is also restricted by the building management, which lets in OFWs to the lift lobby by batches, after making them line up in a dim alley outside the building.
POLO moved to its current address on Mar 1 last year, with no less than Philippine Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz gracing the occasion. She and other labor officials hailed the move as a big step towards improving services to OFWs. But soon after, then Labor Attache Nenita Garcia decided to move the OEC application processing back to POLO, after several years of providing the service at Bayanihan Centre during Sundays.
That decision resulted in the new POLO offices being swamped by thousands of Filipino workers applying for the OEC during the peak months, ahead of going back home to the Philippines.

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