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POEA to reshuffle top officials

07 December 2017

In a crackdown on illegal recruitment and other anomalies in the agency, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will reshuffle its top officials to complete the reorganization process.

Undersecretary Dominador Say of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said an investigation at the POEA was looking into reports on illegal recruitment by unscrupulous individuals victimizing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), including direct hire workers.

He said POEA had a reshuffle of its senior officials last January. The upcoming reorganization would be more in-depth, he said.

“We are doing this top to bottom and there will be some officials who will be removed from their posts while they undergo investigation,” Say said.

Officials and employees at the agency who are directly involved in the processing of OFWs’ documents will be temporarily removed while the probe is underway, he added.

All security guards and janitorial staff at the government’s placement agency will also be replaced as majority of them were reportedly being used in the anomalous activities, particularly in processing and issuance of Overseas Employment Certificates, a major requirement needed by OFWs for deployment.

Also, DoLE would install CCTV cameras in all offices and other areas of the POEA, except in comfort rooms, to monitor suspicious activities in the office vicinity. 

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier suspended the application and processing of OEC to all OFWs, including direct hires, from Nov. 13 until Dec. 1 to give way to the investigation.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Bernard Olalia, also the OIC of the POEA, clarified the coverage of the suspension of the application and processing of OEC.

“Balik-Manggagawa and workers who already have stamped working visas are exempted from the suspension, including workers who are being hired by international organizations, members of diplomatic corps, and members of royal families, as well as sea-based OFWs,” Olalia said.

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