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ConGen tells teachers to help campaign vs illegal recruiters

03 April 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

New teachers taking their oath
Hong Kong-based OFWs returning home to teach should tell the students, parents and other adults about the hardships and risks they would face if they work illegally abroad, Consul General Bernardita Catalla said.
Catalla warned that illegal recruitment was again rearing its head, luring Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong with promises of high pay and better benefits, and leaving them high and dry in faraway countries like Russia and Turkey.
“Hanggang ngayon marami pa ring nai-illegal recruit. Dapat ipaalam natin kung ano ang buhay sa abroad, kung sino ang dapat nating paniwalaan, sino ang hindi dapat, in terms of yung recruitment process (Until now, many are still being recruited illegally.
CG Catalla shares joke with teachers
“We should tell them how life is abroad, who we should listen to and who to avoid, in terms of recruitment process,” Catalla told about 75 aspiring teachers who took their oath on Mar 26 at the Consulate.
The consul general discussed illegal recruitment as she disclosed she would leave Hong Kong late this year to serve as Philippine ambassador to Lebanon where, she said, 90% of Filipino helpers were working illegally due to a ban on hiring foreign maids since 2007.                   
China has also banned imported domestic workers, but illegal recruiters have devised ways to get Filipinas into that country to work as house help, Catalla said.    
“May bagong imbensiyon sila ngayon, puwedeng mag-hire ng domestic workers ang high-salaried expats. Totoo, malaki ang suweldo pero magiging illegal naman kayo,” the consul general said.
The consul general advised the teachers to read about countries where they want to go, as it is important to know the laws and traditions of those places.
Catalla said she learned about the illegal recruitment problem in Lebanon when she started researching about the Middle Eastern country to prepare herself for her posting.
“Noong binabasa ko nga ang tungkol sa Lebanon, eh, ang laki ng binabayad sa atin, sila ang gagastos ng kanilang pamasahe, gagastos sila ng lahat, tapos hindi maganda ang kondisyon nila doon, di tulad sa Hong Kong. Nagtataka nga ako eh, bakit sila pupunta ng Lebanon?” she wondered.
Some illegal recruiters deployed Filipina helpers to Russia and Turkey and, as soon as the workers arrived in those countries, the agencies left them on their own.
“Pagdating doon, nagpupunta sila sa embahada at ang sasabihin ay galing sila sa Hong Kong. We have made representations with the Turkish consul general at medyo natigil na iyan,” Catalla said.
Catalla recalled that there was a Russian who used to recruit Filipinas for purported jobs in Russia or Turkey. When they got there, the Filipinas had to move from one employer to another and they were in worse conditions than in Hong Kong, she said.
“Kaya siguro isa na ang Hong Kong sa pinakamagandang lugar na pinatatrabahuhan dahil protected tayo,” Catalla said.
Yet there were still Filipinos who come to Hong Kong and use it as a springboard for illegal work on the mainland, Catalla said, citing two incidents just months ago.

First, in December last year, two Filipinas disappeared in Shenzhen while on a group tour and a CCTV review showed them being fetched by a man. 
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