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Ex-HK OFWs seek Phl labor officials’ help in pursuing illegal recruiter

07 November 2017

OFW victims meet with Philippines officials led by Labor Undersecretary Bernard P. Olalia.


By Daisy CL Mandap

Three former overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong met with top labor officials in Manila on Oct 25 to formally ask for help in pursuing elusive recruiter Ester Ylagan.

During the meeting at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration office, the OFWs bared before officials led by Labor Undersecretary Bernard P. Olalia how Ylagan lured them into paying thousands of dollars for fictitious jobs in Britain and Canada.

Ylagan, whose Emry’s Service Staff Employment Agency used to supply the biggest number of Filipino domestic workers into Hong Kong, is accused of up to 500 Filipinos in Hong Kong, Macau and the Philippines, of making as much as $5 million from the scam.

Each applicant who signed up for a job in Canada paid $10,000 while those who wanted to work in the U.K. paid $15,000 each.

According to anti human trafficking and illegal recruitment advocate Susan Ople who accompanied the complainants, the meeting went well, with POEA taking down the victims’ complaints.

“They (POEA officials) are inviting other complainants,” Ople said in an online message shortly after the meeting. “They promised to build a strong case vs Ester.”

POEA is also investigating no less than 10 other cases against Ylagan filed directly with them by victims from as far north as Ilocos Norte, to Davao City in the south. The Philippines-based complainants were paid for by their Hong Kong relatives, enticed by the prospect that they could all be together in their dream destination.

Ylagan and her self-owned company, Mike’s Secretarial Service, face more than 300 money claims at the Small Claims Tribunal and several labor cases at Eastern Court, but has not been seen in Hong Kong since July last year, when her illicit operation unraveled.

Before she disappeared, she filed a complaint with Hong Kong Police, in which she claimed to have been duped of $4.2 million by an unnamed associate.

Recruiter Ester Ylagan is believed to
have returned to the Philippines.
Because of this claim, the police have ignored claims of fraud by her disgruntled applicants.

Immigration checks reportedly showed Ylagan being back in the Philippines, where she is said to live in an upmarket residential block in BGC, Taguig City, purchased for Php8 million cash.

She reportedly bought another more luxurious unit in another area, but has defaulted on her payments after news about her alleged scam broke.

Many of the complainants are still holding on to the hope that they could get back the money they paid Ylagan, but the bottomline for most is that she be arrested and jailed for her misdeed.

“She might have a luxurious life on earth but she can never escape God’s judgment in the after life. Yan na lang ang sinasabi ko sa sarili ko para mabawasan ang sama ng loob ko,” posted Michelle in an online group chat.

She not only wants to get her money back, but also a long jail term for  Ylagan.

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