Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday ordered POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac to mobilize its resources, partners, and allies and conduct overseas job fairs for workers in earthquake-stricken Bohol and Cebu.

“Better that it’s the POEA, in cooperation with DOLE Regional Office No. 7, Public Employment Service Offices, that will be the first on the ground in facilitating the employment of workers in Cebu and Bohol who may have been displaced by the earthquake, than illegal recruiters who may take advantage of the situation and victimize those who are already victims of this tragedy,” said Baldoz during a meeting with Cacdac in Intramuros.

Baldoz said the POEA should mobilize licensed recruitment agencies, particularly those in the Visayas, to participate in the job fairs.

“Also invite employers posting their job vacancies in the PhilJobnet, particularly those from the Visayas, to participate in the job fairs,” she said, noting that as of yesterday, there are 111,336 job vacancies posted in the government’s job search and job-skill matching online facility.

She said the job fairs should be held simultaneous with government’s rehabilitation efforts in Cebu and Bohol, particularly in areas where workplaces were hit the hardest and where there could be large concentration of displaced workers.

Last Tuesday, Baldoz had ordered the DOLE regional office in Cebu to mobilize its quick reaction team (QRT) and fast-track the profiling of displaced workers so that appropriate intervention–be it employment facilitation or livelihood restoration–can be immediately implemented. She also ordered the DOLE’s Financial Management Service to look for available funds for emergency employment.

Earlier, Administrator Cacdac warned victims of the recent earthquake and other calamities in the country to be wary of illegal recruiters who may take advantage of their condition. He said residents of areas hit hard by the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu, and by the armed infighting in Zamboanga City between a renegade faction of the Moro National Liberaton Front and government soldiers, especially those who lost their jobs and other sources of livelihood, would be the likely victims of these criminal illegal recruiters.

“These illegal recruiters are like vultures that hover in the air over potential prey”, he said.

Cacdac said the illegal recruiters would target women often promising them jobs as household service workers.
The POEA chief requested local government units, law enforcement agencies, and civic organizations–the POEA’s partners in the anti-illegal recruitment campaign in the regions–to be on the lookout for suspicious recruitment and trafficking activities in their respective localities.

He also asked applicants from the calamity areas to verify with the POEA or the provincial office of Department of Labor and Employment if the recruiter has a valid license or authorization to recruit OFWs before accepting any job offer.

Nascel A. Gabito

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