LESS than a month into the Labor Enforcement and Action Program (Leap) of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), the government recovered a total of 64 illegally recruited workers.

In a statement, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said some 64 workers have already been rescued from a local manpower agency based in Zamboanga City.

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“The department has rescued more workers that are forced to work in unsafe conditions as a result of its intensified campaign against illegal recruitment, trafficking in persons, and child labor,” said Baldoz.

She related that six workers from Leyte were recruited last July 28 by an agent and brought to Zamboanga City, where they were turned over to Northwest Manpower Services that, in turn, supplied them to a canning factory in the city identified as Aquatic Food Manufacturing Corporation.

On August 5, operatives again entered the compound of the factory in Barangay Ayala in Zamboanga City and rescued 58 more workers.

Baldoz said prosecutors are already preparing the cases to be filed against the unlicensed recruitment agency and the factory.

She also related that the Leyte provincial government had already secured boat tickets for 48 of the workers rescued while An Waray party-list Representative Bembem Noel had sponsored the tickets of the remaining 16 workers.

Meanwhile, the department is set to continue its intensified inspection of labor standards until November 30 with its second phase stretching through the months of February to November 2011.

The program aims to find which companies are non-compliant to rules on minimum wage, ECOLA, 13th month pay, holiday pay, service incentive leave, overtime pay, night-shift differential, SSS, Pag-ibig and Philhealth.

The department is aiming to inspect at least 35,680 establishments with at least 10 accomplished each week by all the 16 DOLE Regional Offices.(AMN/Sunnex)