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LGUs rallied behind all-out war on illegal recruiters, human traffickers

  • Written by Lee Ann Ducusin
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 724

WITH 153 Filipinos convicted overseas for various offenses and licenses of 63 recruitment agencies revoked, the Department of Labor and Employment called for strengthened support from local government units in the extensive nationwide campaign against human trafficking and illegal recruitment.
    
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz underscored the urgent need for strengthened alliances with LGUs to enhance the protection and welfare of workers and their children.
    
“By empowering all local government officials from municipal mayors down to barangay captains, we make them not only as DoLE partners. We want to bring the fight down to their respective localities; and apprehend these illegal recruiters head on,” the labor chief said as she waged an all-out war against the menace of illegal recruitment, and human trafficking in the country.
    
“Addressing illegal recruitment and human trafficking presents many challenges as these crimes happen at the level of communities. In this instance, local governments have a big role to play because they are on the ground. Close coordination between national efforts and local actions is, therefore, needed,” she added.
    
Baldoz’ statement was prompted by the move of alleged recruiter Maria Kristina Sergio to surface at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office hours before the execution in Indonesia of Mary Jane Veloso, a convicted Filipino drug courier.
   
Veloso accused Sergio of deceiving her into carrying heroin hidden in a travel bag.
    
The labor chief has issued an advisory strongly warning Filipino workers against accepting offers of employment without proper work documents or taking “the easy way out” via the “no tourist visa” arrangement with ASEAN Member States such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and Thailand.
    
Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has reported that human traffickers as well as drug traffickers can also make their recruits become seasoned drug mules by directing them to repeatedly carry drugs for a considerable amount of money.
    
“The amount of money is used as bait for victims to commit the internationally recognized crime of drug trafficking,” he said.
    
According to the latest statistics of the Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking or IACAT, a total of 153 convictions have been made from July 1 2010 to March 27 2015. This record extends to 174 convicted individuals dealt with the minimum penalty of 6-months community service to the maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The record also reveals that since the start of the Aquino Administration, the yearly rate of apprehended and convicted illegal recruitment have increased.
    
It was also reported that at least 63 licenses of manpower and recruitment agencies were revoked in 2014.
 
Cacdac pointed out that even if Southeast Asian destinations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, and Thailand do not require visas for tourists, work visas or permits are still required in order to work in these countries or destinations.
 
“Make sure that you are dealing with a licensed recruiter, and that you have a contract with a definite employer and a work visa or permit before leaving the Philippines,” he advised.

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