Arroyo wants requirements for white collar OFWs eased
By Joel Guinto

Posted date: February 12, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the relaxation of requirements for

Filipinos applying for white collar jobs with “very reputable” companies overseas where they are not prone to exploitation.
Arroyo issued the directive during a meeting of the Cabinet’s National Security Cluster in Malacañang on Tuesday, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said.

“One of the agreements was to relax the requirements for white collar workers and professionals who will work in known and very reputable companies,” Bunye said.

“The requirements that are normally undertaken to protect our OFWs [overseas Filipino workers] from exploitation should not apply to these white collar workers,” he said.

“The distinction is very obvious. The President said that these professionals, they can easily take are of themselves. I don’t think they will allow themselves to be exploited,” he added.


POEA backtracks on direct hiring
By Beverly T. Natividad
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: February 08, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is considering

revising its new policy on direct hiring of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), which could lead to exempting employers from additional fees.
Labor Secretary Arturo Brion said Friday that the agency might exempt employers from putting up bonds since terms of employment in other countries usually already included protection of the salaries of OFWs and provisions for repatriation.

“We’re looking at exemptions under direct hiring because we got reports from many of our labor attaches that the protection we are looking for from recruitment agencies may already be provided for in some countries,” said Brion.

He said reports of labor attaches last Thursday on the situations in Italy and Hong Kong had satisfied the POEA governing board that the agency could approve direct hiring without requiring employers to post repatriation and performance bonds.

The new rules of the Department of Labor and Employment regarding direct hiring state that starting January 15, foreign employers will only be allowed to hire directly after a screening of employers and a verification of the contract by either the labor attaché or the Philippine embassy at the host country.

Accordingly, only members of the diplomatic corps and of international organizations and government officials may be allowed to directly hire migrant workers.

The new rules also provide that the number of employees to be hired directly must not exceed five and that employers should post a $5000-repatriation bond per employee to guarantee the repatriation of the worker or of his remains in the event of death.

They are also required to pay a performance bond of $3000 per employee to help guarantee that the employee would be paid his salary for the duration of the contract.


OFW groups in HK form coalition against POEA circular
Cebu Daily News

Posted date: February 07, 2008

MANILA—Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong Wednesday formed a coalition to oppose a new regulation on direct hiring issued recently by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Sixty-five overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) groups including eight alliances, eight church-based associations, three union chapters and 44 organizations, formed the Samahan Laban sa Katiwalian ng mga Recruitment Agencies at Patakarang (SKRAP MC-04).

Lead convenor United Filipinos (Unifil) in Hong Kong said the coalition would hold protests and launch signature drives to press for the scrapping of the POEA Memorandum Circular No. 04, which, among others required foreign employers to post a repatriation bond of $5,000 plus $3,000 performance bond in hiring an employee from the Philippines.

The performance bond will guarantee payment of the OFW’s salary for the duration of his or her job abroad. The repatriation bond will assure that in the event the OFW dies, he or she can be sent back to his or her country.

Unifil chair Dolores Balladares said SKRAP MC-04 will also be calling for more effective mechanisms to stamp out overcharging of fees by recruitment agencies, to scrap the controversial guidelines on recruitment of domestics, and improve services to OFWs.

“POEA MC-04 doesn’t, in any way, serve our interest but is only for greater financial gains of unscrupulous recruitment agencies as well as further fattening of government funds that never translate to our well-being,” she added.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, another group of OFWs said the Labor Department would better alleviate the burden of OFWs if it just revoked the charging and collection of placement and recruitment fees to OFWs and aspiring overseas workers alike.

The POEA Governing Board will be meeting on Friday, Feb. 8, 2008 to discuss MC-04. Migrante-Middle East said that aside from scrapping the circular, POEA should repeal a provision pertaining to charging of placement fees in the rules on landbased recruitment. /Inquirer



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