MANILA, Philippines - Amid mounting complaints of would-be overseas Filipino workers losing their money for non-existent jobs, a non-government organization is proposing a rogues gallery for illegal recruiters.
The Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (Ideals) unveiled the proposed “Illegal Recruiter’s Facebook" on Tuesday during one of its roundtable discussions with sectors concerned with migrant workers in Quezon City.
Lawyer Julyn Ambito, coordinator of Ideal’s Migrants Defense Program, said the proposal calls for the posting of photographs of top illegal recruiters in government offices and other strategic places, similar to the police’s “most wanted" posters.
“We take with optimism that the posting of the photographs of these top illegal recruiters, including their modus operandi at strategic places that our would-be workers frequent to process their overseas employment will deter crimes of illegal recruitment, more so, syndicated ones," said Ambito.
The proposal also calls for the coordination with the International Police to publish information on suspects who fled to other countries on its website.
It also proposed that a monetary reward be given to any person who can provide information on the whereabouts of suspected illegal recruiters.
Illegal recruiters and their victims
Ambito said their organization is currently handling eight cases of illegal recruitment that have been pending resolution for years because the accused are still at large.
“It is so frustrating that even if warrants of arrest were already issued, trial could not proceed because the court still has to acquire jurisdiction over the person of the accused," she said.
She said they have already proposed an executive order to be signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo directing the Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (Tfair) to publish the identities of top illegal recruiters who have pending warrants of arrest.
The Tfair had earlier named the suspected illegal recruiters with the most number of pending warrants of arrest.
Senior Superintendent Gilbert Sosa, Tfair operations chief, said that at least 276 Filipino individuals have a total of more than 20,000 unserved warrants of arrest for large-scale illegal recruitment.
Of the 276 suspects, 68 have double digit warrants of arrests.
Sosa also identified the top suspect as Harleta Velasco, who has 134 arrest warrants for illegal recruitment and estafa (fraud).
Sosa, who is from the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said they plan to come up with a list for the most wanted persons in large-scale illegal recruitment and seek public help in rounding them up.
Based on statistics supplied by Ideals, there were 1,662 confirmed victims of illegal recruitment from January to November 2008, increased of 4 percent from 1,539 during the same period in 2007. - GMANews.TV