"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

POEA MC 04 Resurrected

The change mantra is obviously not working with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s questionable Garcified mandate when in their usual sneaky manner re-imposed the scandalous POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Agency) Memorandum Circular 04. Surprise, surprise, after buckling due to the protest it has been receiving from Hong Kong based migrant groups there it is again to usher in the New Year with shameless resurrection on the ban for direct hiring.

Fools and greed’s galore, as if no one will notice such shameless sinister act on the pretense of “ensuring the protection of the rights and welfare” of domestic helpers when in truth and in fact it only serves to protect the interest of greedy recruitment agencies out to fleece hard working migrants of their hard earned income.

How exactly will the ban ensure the protection of the rights and welfare of domestic helpers when the real problem is the overcharging of agency fees is baffling to say the least? The ban is basically protecting the interest of recruiters and not the domestic helpers where about 74% in the Chinese territory were employed through recruitment agencies according to Dolores Balladares-Pelaez, chair of the United Filipinos in HK-Migrante and convener of the SKRAP coalition, to quote:

Of those who were recruited by agencies, 54 percent paid P60,000 to more than P100,000 as agency fees, according to the survey.

Overcharging of recruitment fees and the lack of government protection and services are the widespread and serious problems we are facing, not direct hiring. Direct hiring is in fact the only recourse we have to get saved from overcharging of greedy recruiters.
Obviously, the ban has the effect of cornering the market boosting their agency fees with additional 26% of unrealized overpricing revenues from those employed through direct hiring. Shame on POEA for resurrecting a policy that creates an environment that encourages milking the cow to death. Like vultures waiting patiently for a dying persons’ last breath to feed on their carcasses but this time they are not waiting but feeding on their victims while they still desperately clinging to life. Feasting time like a fiesta of gluttons with the help of POEA while shamelessly portraying themselves as the savior of OFWs, sad indeed that only shows the irrelevance of a corrupted mindset of people ruining errr running the Philippine government, the real problem according to Dolores Balladares-Pelaez as published at Inq7:
The OFW leader added that placement fees are supposed to have been abolished by the recruitment guidelines of the POEA issued in 2007 but recruiters continue to collect huge amount of fees under the guise of training charges.

“What the guidelines did was to worsen the problem as they removed any legal limitation to what recruiters can charge to migrants. Up to now, no effective actions have been done to stamp up overcharging,” she lamented.

Before the guidelines were issued, the legal limit for a placement fee was approximately P20,000 or the equivalence of a one-month salary, Pelaez recalled.

Pelaez claimed that the conciliation process that the Philippine consulate has been using to resolve disputes on overcharging was slow. The complaints against recruiters are no longer pursued once the complaining OFWs go home, according to Pelaez.

The migrant leader said overcharging has been happening too in other countries. In Taiwan, she said, placement fees for OFWs ranged from P80,000 to P140,000 and paid in cash or through salary deductions. In the Middle East, placement agencies “do not care about the plight of domestic workers and even force a number of them to work with other employers with no or little pay until their loans are paid,” she said.

“Protection will never come from recruiters who are only concerned with how much profit they can get from us. Ban on direct hiring is just the government’s way to pass on its responsibility of providing assistance to the OFWs to the recruitment agencies,” she explained.
You can fool people some of the time but you cannot fool people most of the time and1,000 Filipino migrants responded with a protest at the Philippine Consulate general in Hong Kong according to United Filipinos in Hong Kong-Migrante, where they presented a petition against the ban signed by 12,130 Overseas Filipino Workers.

The insidious ban only strengthened the resolve of Filipino migrant workers to form a new coalition called the Samahan laban sa Katiwalian ng mga Recruitment Agencies at Patakarang Ban sa Direct Hiring (SKRAP, Association against the Corruption of Recruitment Agencies and the Ban on Direct Hiring), composed of 75 Filipino migrant organizations in Hong Kong.

Once again the "geniuses" of the government bureaucrats are showing their true colors motivated not by protecting the interest and welfare of the people but the profits of recruitment agencies, don't you ever wonder why?
You may want to visit Lester Cavestany's blog his take on POEA Memorandum No.4 - Worse Than the Malu Fernandez Controversy is worth a read.

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