Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III today ordered anew the suspension of the acceptance and processing of applications for Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC) for all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The suspension will be for a period of 15 days while officials look into reports of illegal recruitment activities victimizing overseas Filipino workers, Bello said.
The labor chief suspended the processing and issuance of OECs early this year due to reported anomalies involving some people at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
“We are taking this important action in view of the persistent reports of illegal recruitment activities including direct hires, and in order to protect the public from the pernicious activities of certain unscrupulous individuals preying on our OFWs,” Bello said.
In Department Order No. 185, all OFWs, including direct hires are covered by the order. However, those workers who are being hired by international organizations, members of diplomatic corps, which includes members of royal families, and sea-based recruitment agencies, are excluded from the suspension.
Bello also said that a team will be created to conduct investigations on the reported anomalies and provide him recommendations for immediate actions to prevent OFWs from being victims of anomalous schemes.
The said order, which will be implemented by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for compliance by all land-based private recruitment agencies will be effective for 15 working days from November 13 to December 1, 2017 subject to extension as circumstances may require.
END/ Abegail De Vega