LEGAZPI CITY—The House of Representatives is set to investigate a P540-million scam that allegedly victimized overseas applicants for Kuwait through a private company exclusively contracted to provide job documents.
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda filed House Resolution 220 on August 15, calling for a probe of the scheme involving WINSTON Q8 Certification Solutions, reportedly appointed by the Embassy of Kuwait as the sole provider of the applicants’ requirements. The company was found out to be exorbitantly charging applicants.
Salceda during a recent media forum at the Manila Hotel said the government should not allow a foreign embassy to intrude in its policies through a questionable and highly irregular medical screening and certification process, to protect the welfare of migrant Filipino workers.
WINSTON Q8, according to Salceda, charged P8,400 per applicant compared with the usual amount of P2,500 one pays for the same requirements from other providers.
“Those aspiring to work in Kuwait cut across all regions, and represent workers seeking a better life. We should not allow WINSTON Q8 to earn from the backs of these prospective overseas workers, especially not at the instigation of a foreign embassy,” Salceda said.
He said the House inquiry would “help establish culpability in relation to this embassy-sponsored fraud and formulate remedial legislation to further protect our OFWs.”
WINSTON Q8 website describes itself as a Philippine-based company that represents the Ministry of Health of Kuwait.
According to Roland Collado, vice chairman of the Philippine Association of Agencies Accredited for Kuwait, their officers were called to a meeting at the Embassy of Kuwait on August 5 pertaining to the new certification and medical screening process by WINSTON Q8 Certifications Solutions.
WINSTON Q8 charges P8,400 for every job applicant for Kuwait. Only after paying the amount can the applicant register online, with an activation code WINSTON Q8 provides.
Upon uploading the scanned copies of the deposit slip, passport and photos, the applicant is made to choose from only seven clinics for medical tests around Metro Manila.
The Embassy of Kuwait will not entertain requests for visa unless endorsed by WINSTON Q8. “We have to stop this, because it is exploitative, fraudulent, and monopolistic. If made with the best of intentions, then why did WINSTON Q8 not seek the approval of the Department of Health and the Department of Labor and Employment? I find this very fishy, hence the need for a full-scale House investigation,” Salceda said.