POEA warns sanctions vs recruitment agencies failing to report status of hired OFWs

Robie de Guzman   •   November 6, 2019   •   999

Every Sunday, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) gather in Hong Kong’s Statue Square. (RODEL LUMIARES/PHOTOVILLE INTERNATIONAL)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Wednesday reminded local and foreign recruitment agencies to monitor and report the status of Filipino workers they hired.

In a statement, the POEA said monitoring and reporting the status, condition or significant events relating to their hired workers are among the responsibilities of accredited recruitment and manning agencies, including foreign employers and principals.

The agency said failure to comply with these requirements is a prohibited act under Republic Act 8042, as amended and the corresponding POEA rules on recruitment and placement of Filipino workers.

Republic Act No. 8042, as amended, mandates the POEA to “formulate and implement, in coordination with appropriate entities concerned, when necessary, a system for promoting and monitoring the overseas employment of Filipino workers taking into consideration their welfare and the domestic manpower requirements.”

Violation of this law carries a penalty of suspension from participation in the overseas employment program for six months to one year on the first offense.

While the second offense will mete out permanent disqualification in the overseas employment and permanent disqualification and delisting from the roster of accredited principals/employers.

“The initial report on the status and condition of newly deployed OFWs onsite and seafarers on-board shall be done three months after deployment and every quarter thereafter,” the POEA said.

“However, in the event of a significant or critical incident, the deploying agency should promptly submit the report within five working days from occurrence,” it added.

POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said lack of a report and relevant information about hired Filipino workers lead to inconclusive monitoring reports which are not compliant to the agency’s rules and other issuances.

He added that employers and recruiters should not use data privacy as a reason for their non-compliance.

Olalia said that the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 allows the processing of personal information when necessary “to protect vitally important interests” of the person, including life and health.

Meanwhile, the POEA also reported has recently developed an online application to facilitate the monitoring of overseas Filipino workers.

The monitoring system will be used by Philippine recruitment and manning agencies as a tool in reporting the status and condition of OFWs they have deployed as prescribed by the POEA through Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 12, Series of 2018.

“MC 12-2018 requires licensed manning and recruitment agencies to strictly monitor the status and conditions of deployed OFWs onsite and seafarers on-board and submit corresponding quarterly reports,” the POEA said.

Filipinos, Americans top holiday arrivals

Maris Federez   •   December 27, 2021

PASAY, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday reported that Filipinos top airport arrivals for December 2021.

BI data showed that 141,216 Filipinos, mostly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) arrived during the holiday season, according to a BI statement released December 27.

This was followed by Americans with 12,455 arrivals, Canadians with 2,805, and Japanese with 1,645.

“This is expected since many of our kababayans who are now living abroad wish to spend the holidays here with their families,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

BI Port Operations Division Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong, meanwhile, said that arrivals for December 24 and 25 doubled compared to last year’s figures.

“Last year, there were only 5,478 arrivals for the two days, while this year, it increased 100% to 11,074 for the Christmas eve and Christmas day,” said Capulong.

“While the numbers are still relatively low, we are confident that this increase will continue until next year, given the government’s aggressive vaccination campaign,” he stated.

Capulong also thanked immigration officers who were on duty during the holiday.

“Our officers sacrifice their time with their families to render their duty and provide service for incoming and outgoing passengers,” said Capulong.

Frontliners were barred from going on vacations during the peak season, the statement said.

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)

DOLE to inoculate 2k OFWs set for deployment

Maris Federez   •   November 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is set to conduct another round of inoculation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on Wednesday, (November 10).

In a statement, the DOLE said the vaccination of OFWs will be held at the Labor Governance Learning Center (LGLC), DOLE Building in Intramuros Manila.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that they have allocated some 2,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines donated by the government of Brunei to the Philippines for the inoculation of OFWs who are set for deployment.

“I personally thank the Brunei government for donating the vaccines for our general population, specifically our OFWs. This will not only help accelerate the administration of the vaccines to thousands of Filipinos but will fast-track the deployment of our OFWs abroad,” Bello said.

Although the vaccination is on a first-come, first-served basis, OFWs who will be deployed in Brunei will be prioritized.

Bello said he has directed recruitment agencies to bring unvaccinated OFW-applicants to the designated vaccination site.

The labor chief added that he has sought the assistance of the Local Health Department of the City of Manila to administer the vaccination. —/mbmf

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