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Bello says POEA to be reshuffled because of 'kotong'

31 March 2017

Labor Secretary Bello
Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in Manila today, Mar. 31, that he plans to reshuffle officials in the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) because of extortion allegations against some of them.
Bello said he would do the reshuffle when he returns to Manila from the 4th round of peace talks set for Apr 2-6 in the Netherlands.
"Pag balik ko yan ang una kong atupagin. I will revamp the organizational structure of POEA. Babalasahin ko yung nangongotong doon. I already have names kung sino mga nangongotong," he told ABS-CBN.
The labor chief said he had received reports that some POEA officials ask for money in exchange for issuing overseas certificates of employment (OEC) even to unqualified workers, particularly those who are directly hired.
"Kahit hindi ka qualified - pag nangotong ka - nagbigay ka ng amount, ilalagay nila ang pangalan mo doon kahit alam nila madi-disqualify ka dahil you do not fall under the exemptions when you are allowed direct hiring," he said.
Bello said there is a group within the POEA that is engaged in the illegal activity. Because of the extortion allegations, he said he had tightened the rules within  the office that regulates the activities of recruitment agencies.
POEA has been without an administrator since Bello moved lawyer Hans Leo Cacdac to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in October. 
At the same time, Bello announced that chief state prosecutor Claro Arellano would take over as POEA chief. However, Arellano appeared to have declined the nomination, opting instead to take over as head of the Human Rights Claims Board. 

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