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POLO vows help for OFWs forced to undergo useless ‘retraining’

06 August 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office has vowed to take action against employment agencies that require overseas Filipino workers returning to Hong Kong to undergo retraining despite being in possession of valid training certificates.

Labor Attache Nida Romulo issued the statement after being told that agencies in the Philippines are requiring holders of Tesda (Technical Education Skills Development Authority ) NCII certificates to go through  training again because the document has been renamed.

Labor Attache Nida Romulo interviews workers who were made to retrain for new NCII.

But Romulo cautioned the affected OFWs to ensure they have documentary evidence such as receipts so POLO can take action.

“Kailangang meron tayong ebidensiya laban doon sa mga ikino-complain natin ha, kasi mas maganda iyon dahil may mga aksiyon tayong gagawin,” Romulo said, as three workers dopped by her office on Jul 29 to complain against the retraining.

Other Hong Kong-bound workers who are still processing their papers in Manila have also told The SUN about the new practice of agencies.

Training is one of the biggest costs borne by a Filipino worker before she flies to her destination abroad. A two-week training offered by agency partners costs upwards of PhP15,000.

The agencies are apparently capitalizing on the name change of NCII , which was for “household service,” to a new certificate for “domestic work” to further squeeze money from OFW applicants.

One worker who said she still had three years left in the validity of her NCII was charged PhP25,000 for retraining. She said she had used two years of the five-year validity certificate as a domestic helper in Malaysia.

Her two companions, who were charged PhP26,000 each, had worked previously in Kuwait and Malaysia.

Filipino community leader Leo Selomenio said she has also received reports about the apparent scam being used on returning OFWs. “Marami talaga”, she said in a message.

One worker who went through a new training offered by an agency partner said she and her batchmates were taught nothing new. “We were just made to watch videos,” she said.

Romulo said her office will forward the complaints to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in Manila.

 “Unang-una, i-endorse natin iyan sa POEA para sa anumang dapat nilang gawin doon. Sabay niyan dito ay pag-aaralan namin, kasi kung madami talaga kayo ay bakit ganun, di ba? May gagawin din kaming mga aksiyon,” Romulo said.

However, she did not specify what action might be taken against the errant agencies.

Earlier, Assistant Labor Attaché Ma Nena German also said there was no need for holders of valid NCII certificates to retrain.

She said all they have to do is go to assessment centers accredited by the Tesda and show their valid NCII and employer’s certificates to get the new certification.

German said the name change was announced by Tesda in a resolution some time ago. But she said the costly retraining can be avoided if the worker would just go for skills assessment and pay only Php470-630.

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