Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III has lifted the suspension on the processing of direct hired overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) after officials ended their investigation into the reported anomalous activities within the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).


“I recalled the suspension of direct hiring of OFWs right after our investigation. Minabuti ko na imbestigahan na muna, at ngayong tapos na ang imbestigation, alam na namin kung sino ang mga involved, at nagkakaroon ng re-organization within the agency (POEA),” Bello said.


He reiterated that the temporary suspension of the processing and issuance of Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for all direct-hired OFWs was for their own protection and prevent them from falling victims of nefarious activities within the POEA.


Through the Administrative Order No. 155-A, Series of 2017, the labor secretary directed the POEA and the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) to resume the processing and issuance of OECs, which is one of the requirements under the rules and regulations of POEA on the recruitment and employment of OFWs to ensure protection and proper documentation.


“We must ensure that our OFWs are protected when they leave the country. We should prevent them from being victims of anomalous schemes,” Bello said.


Based on the 2016 Revised Rules and Regulations on the Recruitment and Deployment of OFWs of the POEA, Section 123 states that ‘No employer shall directly hire an overseas Filipino worker for overseas employment.’


However, Section 124 provides the exemption to include those employers who are close relatives of the OFW, members of the diplomatic corps; international organizations; heads of state and government officials with the rank of at least deputy minister; and other employers permitted by the secretary of labor.
END/ Abegail De Vega

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