THE Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) ordered immediate demolitions of recruitment agencies dotting along Kalaw Street in Luneta, Manila.

In a statement, POEA Administrator Jennifer Manalili noted that the operations of hiring booths in the area should be stop since they have no more permit to conduct recruitment activities.

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“All recruitment activities in the area are illegal,” said Manalili.

She noted that the government has not issued Special Recruitment Authorities (SRAs) since May 2009 after they were able to receive complaints of hiring malpractices.

SRA is the authority granted by the POEA to a licensed agency to conduct recruitment outside the registered address stated in their license.

Over the years, the area has been serving as meeting place of seafarers looking for jobs in foreign vessels in nearby Manila-based recruitment offices.

Eventually, the Associated Marine Officers and Seaman’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) had the idea of converting the place into a center, where seafarers coming from the provinces can have a place to stay in Manila while looking for a job.

The idea, subsequently, evolved into a center wherein information about seafaring can be discussed or posted and was managed by the Luneta Seafarers’ Welfare Foundation, Inc. (LUSWELF).

In 2007, LUSWELF rented out booths to manning agencies that wanted to recruit seafarers with the POEA issuing SRAs to legalize the recruitment activities of the agencies.

The Joint Manning Group, which is a conglomeration of several associations of manning agencies, however, issued a resolution in April 2009 enjoining their members to pull out of the LUSWELF area because the objectives of the center were no longer met.

This led to the POEA eventually stopping their SRA issuance to recruitment booths operating in T.M. Kalaw. (AMN/Sunnex)