Illegal recruiters nabbed in Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   November 23, 2018   •   5357


Mugshots of suspects (L-R) Eladio Bendanillo and Melissa Cruz

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Anti Transnational Crime Unit raided a unit at Qubix Residences in Pedro Gil Street in Paco, Manila on Wednesday (November 21).

Authorities arrested live-in partners Eladio Cabrera and Melissa Cardona who were reported by three complainants who happened to be job applicants for Dubai and Qatar.

“They were promised with salaries of up to $1500 a month. Allegedly pagdating doon mayroong sasalo sa kanilang agency at merong sponsors na mga Pilipino rin na nagtratrabaho sa Dubai,” explained PSupt. Roque Merdegia Jr. CIDG-ATCU Chief referring to the illegal recruitment activities of the suspects.

One of the victims narrated that she already gave the suspects P30,000 in exchange for an affidavit of sponsorship allegedly coming from the Consulate Office in Dubai and Qatar.

“Noong September po nagbigay kami ng paunang bayad P20,000 po ang hiningi sa amin hanggang tumagal po ng tumagal. November na po ngayon di pa rin po kami nakakaalis. Hiningan po kami ng karagdagang P10,000 may nakapagsabi po sa amin na ilegal po sila at yung ginagamit sa red ribbon ay fake daw. Kaya humingi na po kami mg tulong dito sa mga pulis,” recalled one of the victims alias Gemma.

When they checked on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the victims found out that the couple was not among the agency’s registered recruiters for Dubai and Qatar.

Authorities seized from the suspects’ computer units, a number of dry seals of various Philippine Consulate in the Middle East which they used to fake documents.

Merdegia noted, however, that what’s more alarming is that individuals with fake documents sometimes deceive immigration officers at the airport.

“Ang nakakaalarma rito, nakakalusot sa immigration o sa terminal itong mga taong gumagamit ng mga pekeng sponsorship and assurance, nakakalusot,” he said.

The two suspects are now facing charges of illegal recruitment, swindling, and falsification of public document. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Gov’t travel restrictions bar OFWs bound for Red List countries from leaving

Maris Federez   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for the countries under the Red List cannot still go out of the country amid the threat of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The POEA said that even if OFWs have complete travel documents, they still cannot leave because there are no outbound international flights going to their employment destination.

POEA administrator Attorney Bernard Olalia stated that because inbound flights from counties under the Red List are banned, outbound flights going there are affected as well.

“At bilang nasa kategorya ng Red List countries, kanselado po lahat ng incoming international flights, at pagka kanselado po ang international incoming flights ay syempre wala ring outbound international flights,” he said.

Based on the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases seven countries were added to the Red List were cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant which health authorities categorized as a variant of concern.

These countries are Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy.

Inbound flights from these countries were banned to prevent the entry of the said variant.

Olalia said that POEA will issue a labor advisory to OFWs affected by the travel ban to guide them on what action to take.

Meanwhile, OFWs from the Red List countries will be allowed to return to the Philippines via repatriation flights organized by the government, the Bayanihan Flights, and flights initiated by non-government organizations.

“Kapag galing po kayo sa ibang bansa na ganyan, at ito pong flight ninyo ay isang government-initiated flight, o kaya NGO-initiated flight, o kaya Bayanihan flight na in-arrange po ng POLO o DFA. Kayo po ay papayagan namang makalapag dito kapag kayo ay OFW,” Olalia said.

The POEA said OFWs who are interested to avail of the repatriation flights may coordinate with the Philippine Embassy for the availability of slots.

OFW passengers are required to undergo the 14-day mandatory facility-based quarantine, as well as, an RT-PCR testing on the 7th day upon arrival in the Philippines. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)

Healthcare workers with existing contract abroad allowed to leave — POEA

Marje Pelayo   •   June 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said Tuesday (June 8) that Filipino health workers who have existing contracts abroad are still allowed to leave the country.

During Tuesday’s Laging Handa public briefing, POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia clarified that the country is not barring healthcare workers from leaving as long as they have an active job abroad.

This was after the government announced that the 5,000 cap for Filipino nurses deployed abroad has been reached.

This means, there will be no new deployment of healthcare workers abroad amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the agency will no longer issue new overseas employment certificates (OEC) for Filipino healthcare workers until the end of the year.

“Noon pong June 1, 2021, naabot na po natin ang 5,000 [na cap] dahil binibilang po natin ang na-i-issue na Overseas Employment Certificate,” Olalia said.

“Exempted po rito [sa 5,000 cap] ang mga returning workers dahil mayroon silang existing contracts at may babalikan silang employment,” he clarified.

Olalia added that workers set for deployment to the United Kingdom are allowed to leave as well as those hired under government-to-government procedures in fulfilment of the government’s obligation under bilateral agreement.

Meanwhile, Olalia said there is an existing temporary deployment ban to Myanmar due to the ongoing civil unrest there.

However, only those with existing contract or returning OFWs to Myanmar will be allowed to leave.

“May kaunting kaguluhan sa Myanmar ngayon kaya ang POEA Governing Board po ay nagpatupad at nagpalabas ng isang board resolution kung saan nakalagay po doon na level 2 ang state of alertness doon sa nasabing bansa,” he noted.

“Kaya bawal po ngayon ang mga new hires. Ang pinapayagan lang nating ma-deploy sa Myanmar ay ang mga balik manggagawa natin. Mga direct hires at agency hires na bago po ay hindi papayagan dahil alert level 2 po ngayon ang bansang Myanmar,” Olalia said.

Deployment of OFWs to Israel not banned, only delayed — DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines —  The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) assured that Filipino healthcare workers (HCW) scheduled for deployment to Israel will be safe and secure despite the ongoing armed conflict in the Middle Eastern region.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III clarified that there is no existing ban on the deployment of workers to Israel.

“We have not banned the deployment of our workers to Israel. The processing of those who already qualified continues. We are merely suspending their actual departure while the tension is still high,” he explained.

“Ang pakiusap ko pa sa ating mga paalis na caregivers at healthcare workers ay ipagpaliban ng ilang araw ang kanilang biyahe upang hindi sila mapahamak. Sagutin ko po sila kay Pangulong Duterte kung ano man ang mangyari sa kanila in case sila ay umalis sa kabila ng mataas na tension doon sa Israel. It will just be about a few days of delay. We just want to be sure they will be safe,” he noted.

Recently, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported that some 400 Filipino caregivers are scheduled to be deployed to Israel under an existing bilateral labor agreement.

“We had a meeting with our counterparts in Israel because we are on the final step for the deployment of our OFWs,” said POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia.

“It is also a good thing because we are yet to receive an advisory regarding the ban. So, we will proceed with the deployment of our 400 home-based caregivers in Israel,” he added.

Since there is no existing ban and Israel remains on Alert Level 1, Administrator Olalia said the deployment of OFWs to Israel’s residential zones that are far from the areas of conflict will take place this month.


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