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Migrante HK urges Marcos to crack down on illegal recruitment ahead of Senate hearing

05 February 2024


The protest was held 3 days before the Senate conducts an inquiry into the issue

Protesters led by United Filipinos - Migrante Hong Kong took to Chater Road in Central yesterday to denounce the massive illegal recruitment of overseas Filipino workers, particularly that allegedly committed by former Cebu City Councillor Nina Mabatid.

Unifil-Migrante chair Dolores Balladares called on the government of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to take action in the case, especially since hundreds of Filipinos across the country were allegedly also victimized by Mabatid and her company, Opportunities Abroad.

The protest came three days before the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers headed by Senator Raffy Tulfo is due to hold an inquiry into Mabatid’s activities, as well as other groups that have allegedly been victimizing Filipinos anxious to go abroad to work.

Buksan ang mga tip

In Hong Kong, at least 20 OFWs filed complaints with the Consulate as early as June last year, alleging that Mabatid reneged on her promise to help them secure the student visas, after they each paid $18,731 (about Php132,000).

The money was collected from them within days of Mabatid conducting an “orientation seminar” at Sunbeam Theater in North Point on Feb. 19, 2023, during which she promised that the processing of their documents would be done in just three months.

But according to the complaints, which have since been forwarded to the Department of Migrant Workers and the National Bureau of Investigation, not a single applicant managed to even get close to securing the promised visa, or the P100,000 “show money” Mabatid had promised to lend them.

Mabatid (with blonde hair) is confronted by an applicant who sought help from HK Police

No one managed to get back their money, either, and when they pressed for a refund, about five were warned by a lawyer from Opportunities Abroad that they faced being sued and made to pay P500,000 each for violating a supposed memorandum of agreement with a no-refund clause.

In her speech at the rally, Balladares also called for sanctions against fellow OFW and well-known Marcos (BBM) supporter Brian Callagui, who was named by all the complainants as the one who actively promoted and helped Mabatid in her recruitment activities in Hong Kong.


The Unifil chair called for a halt to what she called the widespread illegal recruitment and human trafficking of Filipinos, and for those responsible for carrying out these serious crimes to be held to account immediately.

Balladares also urged for the creation of more jobs in the Philippines, saying the lack of work back home is what makes Filipinos vulnerable to falling prey to illegal recruiters and traffickers.


After the rally, Unifil hosted a “Leaders’ Kapihan” at the Li Hall of St John’s Cathedral, during which Filcom leaders were consulted on the steps they could take to show their opposition to other big issues affecting them, such as the mandatory contribution to the national health insurer, PhilHealth.

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