Recruiters not spared from ‘sex-for-flight’ aftermath-A A +A
Thursday, August 29, 2013
ASIDE from Philippine labor officials abroad, the local and foreign recruitment agencies responsible for sending abroad the distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) allegedly victimized by the “sex-for-flight” scheme have been punished.
Earlier, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced the preventive suspension of four recruitment agencies responsible for deploying Elena B. Beleta and Grace Victoria P. Sales.
The four placed under preventive suspension are Kozen International Inc.; Azizzah International Manpower Services; Jobstar International Manpower Services; and Ideal Placement and Manpower Services.
Aside from the four local agencies, also temporarily barred from recruiting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are their foreign counterparts AMI Saudi Arabia Limited; and Samaya Advanced Dental Polyclinic.
"An order of preventive suspension is issued against a licensed recruitment agency or employer when there is reasonable ground to believe that its continued operation will lead to further violation and exploitation of workers being recruited," said POEA Administrator Hans Cacdac.
To recall, several Labor officials assigned abroad have been accused of offering distressed OFWs staying in the government's Bahay Kalingas aboard immediate repatriation in exchange of sexual favors.
This had prompted Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) to create a fact-finding panel to probe the allegations aside from the parallel probe being conducted by the Senate, wherein Sales and Beleta stood as witnesses.
Last week, the probe team found the existence of prima facie case for possible administrative charges against Riyadh Labor Attaché Adam Musa (gross negligence), Jordan officer-in-charge Labor Attaché Mario Antonio (grave misconduct), and Riyadh Assistant Labor Attaché Antonio Villafuerte (simple negligence) but cleared them from involvement in the "sex-for-flight" scheme.
POEA found the need to penalize Kozen and Azizzah for Beleta's case after she applied as a beautician with Azizzah and paid a placement fee of P15,000 but that her documents were filed by Kozen as a female nurse at the POEA.
On March 28, Beleta left the country expecting to work in a parlor but was instead brought directly to the house of a certain Mohammed Al Faisal, whom she ran away from on April 18 leading her to the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.
"The evidence is strong indicating that the complainant's documents were reprocessed," noted Cacdac.
Sales, on the other hand, was supposedly victimized by Jobstar and Ideal after she applied as a household service worker (HSW) with Jobstar on December 2011 and was required to pay a placement fee worth 800 Saudi Riyals via salary deduction but her papers were processed by Ideal for a monthly salary of $314.
She left January 27, 2012 for Saudi despite being surprised that her employment contract bore a different name but ran away in March 2012 to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in Saudi when her employer supposedly made unwanted sexual advances towards her.
"There is strong evidence of the recruitment agencies having committed violations of the POEA rules on recruitment and deployment of OFWs," said Cacdac. (HDT/Sunnex)