Run after recruiters using 'repro' scheme, group urges POEA
Recruiters have previously engaged government officials and overseas Filipino workers in a dialogue that would shed light on the issue of reprocessing.
During the meeting, they discussed how reprocessing works, how OFWs can help protect themselves by becoming OWWA members, and how the government should consider conducting pre-employment seminars to prevent more Filipinos from falling prey to illegal recruiters.
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia -Filipina worker Irene Pinay signed a contract saying she will work as a cook assistant in Saudi Arabia for 950 riyals or more than P12,000. Instead, she ended up working as a domestic worker for only SR750 or almost P10,000.
According to Victor E. R. Fernandez Jr., president of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters Inc. (Pasei), Pinay is just one of the many Filipino workers who became victims of “reprocessing."
Reprocessing, he said, means using a particular job order to recruit a worker but giving the worker a different job when in the work place. For instance, while many Filipino women are recruited as dressmakers or dishwashers, they will actually be made to work as domestic helpers.
“The malpractice of repro is being utilized by some unscrupulous agencies to circumvent the household reform package instituted by the (Department of Labor and Employment) whereby the salaries of workers will increase so with the age requirement," said Fernandez.
He said Pasei had signed a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) last June to find a better solution to the increasing numbers of repro cases – thus the Campaign Against Repro (Care).
“What we are waiting now is for the POEA to implement this as soon as possible. POEA should crack down and punish those disobedient agencies which have been participating in ‘repro job orders," said the recruitment leader.
The POEA is tasked not only to find markets abroad for Filipino labor but also to regulate manpower or recruitment agencies and is one of the lead agencies in the campaign against illegal recruitment of workers.
According to welfare officer Nini Lanto of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) office in Jeddah, 90 percent of runaways who seek refuge in the agency’s shelter located inside the Philippines Consulate General compound are victims of reprocessing.
Most of the victims are domestic helpers, she said.
“It’s high time that all responsible agencies in the recruitment sector must work together to stop the malpractice of repro," said Lanto.
Saudi Arabia is host to more than a million OFWs and has the second biggest Filipino community abroad, next to that of the United States.
Philippine officials have also repeatedly warned would-be OFWs against accepting job offers in the Kingdom using tourist visas. Officials said those who travel to Saudi Arabia on tourist visas but for the purpose of finding employment are vulnerable to exploitation. - Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV