Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada aired his concern over alleged “dummy” Filipino owners of placement agencies recruiting land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Estrada also called out officials of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on the matter, and urged the department to cancel the recruitment license of the local recruitment agency of slain OFW Jullebee Ranara.
During Wednesday’s Senate hearing on Ranara’s case, Estrada said his office received information on alleged foreign ownership of placement agencies, which is prohibited in the licensing and regulation rules of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Labor Code of the Philippines.
“It might be tedious for this committee to summon all the incorporators or the board of directors of the recruitment agencies. Let’s just request the DMW to scrutinize the recruitment agencies, whether the proprietors of these recruitment agencies have the financial capability to run its operations,” Estrada said.
The senator it’s common knowledge in the industry that some Filipinos are posing as “dummy” incorporators of some recruitment or placement agencies deploying OFWs.
The senator expressed concern that some of these foreign-owned recruitment agencies are responsible for the deployment of distressed OFWs as in the case of Ranara, who was the subject of his privilege speech last January 24.
Under the Labor Code, only Filipinos citizens, as sole proprietors, are allowed to secure licenses to operate placement agencies with a minimum capitalization of P5 million.
DMW officials told senators that once recruitment agencies’ licenses are revoked or cancelled due to various violations, all of its officers, board of directors, and incorporators are placed on a
derogatory list and are disqualified to participate or operate in any other recruitment activities.
Ranara was burned and found dead in a Kuwait desert on January 21 and the suspect behind her killing is the 17-year-old son of her employer.
Initial investigation conducted by the DMW showed that Ranara’s local and foreign recruitment agencies failed to comply with the mandatory monitoring requirements to ensure the well-being of their deployed workers.