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Labatt in all-out war vs 3rd country deployment

17 April 2017

One of the agencies
promoting their services.
By Daisy CL Mandap

Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre has warned Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong not to take up jobs in a third country, saying agencies or individuals who lure them to these places are violating Philippine laws.

Labatt dela Torre’s warning, made in three successive Facebook posts, came amid reports of a Hong Kong – licensed employment agency offering jobs to Filipinos in Brazil and Turkey.

It also came less than a year after an estimated 300 Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong and Macau complained of having been duped into paying no less than $3 million to the now-defunct Emry’s employment agency for inexistent jobs in Britain and Canada.

In his latest post made on Mar. 30, the labor chief also said he had been under “virulent” attack by trolls based in Singapore after he posted the first two warnings against the recruitment being done by East West Employment Exchange.

He said he was not surprised by the verbal onslaught as he had also warned the Filipino community in Singapore to be wary of the agency.

Earlier, dela Torre reiterated that “third-country deployment”, or the recruitment of Filipinos from one overseas destination to another, is illegal under Philippine laws.

He said neither the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Hong Kong (which he heads), nor  the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration have authorized  “any agency or individual.. to recruit and deploy any OFW from Hong Kong directly to a third country, like Russia, Turkey or Brazil or any other country, nor will there be any authorization in the future.”

He said he felt compelled to emphasize this point after receiving numerous reports of overseas Filipino workers “falling into harm’s way because they were:
1) not met at the airport and abandoned;
2) terminated after a few weeks and not provided protection, in the form of notice, payment in lieu of notice, nor air ticket;
3) had to beg in the streets to raise money for air passage back home;
4) other dire and harmful circumstances.”

There is no corresponding law on this in Hong Kong, however. Thus, Filipino workers here have, in the past, gone on to other overseas destinations, effectively making Hong Kong their “stepping stone”.

Several Filipinos who responded to dela Torre’s post and to a re-post of the same on The SUN’s Facebook page affirmed the warning, saying they had been left stranded after their work contracts were terminated soon after arriving in Turkey.

The workers said work conditions are dire in the said country because employers could terminate them at will, and with no obligation to pay for their return air fare, unlike in Hong Kong.
However, others who commented defended East West, saying they were successfully deployed by the agency in Russia and Turkey, where they are now working.

Dela Torre replied to them with: “Huwag na ho sana tayong manghikayat ng iba dahit marami ho kaming natatangap na sulat mula Russia at Turkey na hindi maganda ang kalagayan nila diyan. Kung maganda man ang kalagayan ninyo diyan, magpasalamat tayo pero huwag na po tayong magkomento na legal ang ginagawa ng East West dahil na e encourage ang iba”.

In his earlier post, dela Torre harked back at the misfortune that befell hundreds of OFWs in Hong Kong who were lured by Emry’s offer of supposedly better-paying jobs in Canada and Britain.
Labatt said: “Shouldn’t we learn from the Emry’s case? Are we so unmindful of warnings that we continue to gamble our fortunes and perhaps even our lives, for a dream job foisted by illegal recruiters and possibly human traffickers? When will we ever learn?”

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