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Third-country deployment illegal, risky: Labatt

05 September 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre
Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre has reiterated that third-country deployment or the placement of Hong Kong-based OFWs for jobs in other countries such as Turkey, Russia or Brazil, is contrary to Philippine laws.

The top labor official made the remarks as the Turkish government said its labor market is open to foreign workers seeking jobs as nannies and elderly caregivers.

In response to an emailed inquiry last month, the The Turkish Consulate in Hong Kong said: “The Republic of Turkey extended its ‘Overseas Foreign Worker’ policy around three years ago. With this extension of the legislation, foreign nationals can apply for nanny and elder care positions in Turkey.”

But Labatt dela Torre said directly sending our workers there from Hong Kong is a violation of the rules of the Philippine Overseas Labor Administration (POEA).

“It’s illegal per POEA rules and regulations because it violates our framework of protection (for OFWs), one of which is the pillar of verification,” Labatt Dela Torre told the SUN on Aug 21.

“There’s no way that the job order or the existence or nonexistence of a job or an employer can be verified kasi wala tayong POLO sa Turkey, Russia, et cetera, et cetera. So, whether or not this employer or this job order is genuine can only be authenticated and verified if there’s a POLO there,” he said.

“But there’s no way of checking that, kasi hindi dumadaan sa atin bago sila umalis. So most probably they will come into harm’s way and it’s the government who will get the blame.”

Dela Torre said there’s also a need for the worker’s contract to be checked and verified to ensure that its provisions are in accordance with the minimum standards set by the POEA.

Reports from OFWs who had worked in Hong Kong and were deployed by illegal recruiters to Russia, Turkey and other countries in Europe spoke of lack of protection from oppressive working conditions, premature terminations, or inexistent jobs.

The recruits were sent to those countries mostly on a tourist visa and later applied for commercial visas, claiming to be managers or professionals hired by companies in the destination countries.

The Consulate, and POLO in particular, has time and again warned Filipinos working in Hong Kong against taking the bait of agencies recruiting them for jobs in other countries without processing their papers through POEA.

Labatt dela Torre said POLO’s approach must be proactive so that OFWs are warned well in advance about the risks of being recruited illegally.
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