DAVAO City First District Representative Paolo “Pulong” Z. Duterte pushes for House Bill (HB) 8360 to amend the classification of an illegal recruitment syndicate under Republic Act (RA) 8042 otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act.
Duterte, on Thursday, December 7, 2023, together with Benguet Representative Eric Yap and ACT-CIS Partylist Representative Edvic Yap, pushed for the amendment of the number of individuals in illegal recruitment that is classified under R.A. 8042.
Duterte seeks to amend that an illegal recruitment by a syndicate is an act of two or more persons instead of three or more individuals as stated in the law.
Section 5 of R.A. 8042 states that "Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group.”
He added that illegal recruiters still continuously prey upon Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and this is reflected in the data of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) wherein individuals masquerading as immigration consultants trick aspiring OFWs into paying huge amounts on the premise that they will be the one to process their work visas.
“By amending RA 8042, we would be strengthening the law against these predators who, with as few as two conspirators, can commit massive illegal recruitment using technology and the internet,” Rep. Duterte said.
Hence, Duterte is once again renewing his thrust to pass the H.B. 8360 which will classify two or more persons engaged in illegal recruitment as a syndicate so that they will be meted with life imprisonment under the law. This way, the number of scammers who exploit OFWs will lessen.
Under Section 7, penalties of RA 8042 include “life imprisonment and a fine of not less than P2,000,000 nor more than P5,000,000.”
Meanwhile, the Philippine Consulate in Milan issued a warning to OFWs looking for work in Italy last week regarding the "decreto flussi recruitment" scam after learning of the illicit activities of Alpha Assistenza, another immigration consulting company that was able to defraud at least 200 Filipinos out of as much as 3,000 euros each.
The Consulate reported that shortly after Italy announced its decreto flussi program, which permits the hiring of up to 452,000 foreign workers in the following three years, some people and organizations started charging "reservation fees" of 500 to 5,000 euros to process work visas that were never intended to be issued.
On top of that, the DMW closed 11 Seas Immigration Services in Pasay City after learning that the organization was unlawfully hiring Filipinos to work in Poland and demanding outrageous fees for consulting services. The firm was not granted permission by the DMW to hire any employees. RGP