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Overseas Filipino Workers

High Fees Imposed by MECO for Taiwan Workers Assailed

Due to an increase in documentation fees, Taiwan labor market for Overseas Filipino Workers had to temporarily stop the processing of job orders for Philippine- licensed agencies deploying workers to Taiwan.

Members of the TESIA (Taiwan Employment Services Institute Association), the group of Taiwanese Manpower Principals procuring job orders from hundreds of Taiwan factories for the deployment of OFWs, are protesting the imposition of unwarranted new and exorbitant accreditation and verification fees by the new Managing Director of MECO (Manila Economic and Cultural Offices) former Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

In a Memorandum addressed to the members of TESIA, the new fees per document will be NT 1,435 from the previous NT1,370 and for a set of documents NT5740 which will amount to about P10,000.

The new fees caught flat-footed TESIA members as there was no previous consultation with MECO and the three POLOs assigned to Taiwan and the local agencies in Manila PILMAT (Philippines Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan).

PILMAT president Aida Gerodias expressed apprehension that the fees will discourage Taiwan brokers from funneling OFWs to Taiwan and instead to competitor countries Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand whose fees are lower than the MECO fees.

Gerodia thus appealed to MECO officials to withhold the effectivity of the fees so as not to upset the timetable for new job orders which means more good jobs for our Filipino workers.

In another development, prominent DOLE lawyer Atty, Francis De Guzman in a letter To DMW Secretary Susana Ople pointed out that MECO has no authority to raise fees as this power is vested on the Secretary of Labor.

Atty. De Guzman cited 1. Section 15, Part A. Title ll of DOLE Administrative Order No. 168, Series of 2013, also known as the Manual of Operations, Policies and Guidelines for the Philippine Overseas Labor Office provisions of the manual which refer to The Secretary referred to in the afore quoted provision was the DOLE Secretary .Clearly, the power to adjust the amount of the verification fees is not lodged in/with the individual POLO or the Philippine Embassy or, in the case of Taiwan, the MECO.

Atty. de Guzman added :“lf confirmed to be authentic, may I also request that you instruct them to immediately cease and desist from implementing the same until further orders from your own Office,”

Recruitment expert Emmanuel Geslani in a press statement says the move to raise fees will discourage Taiwan employers and brokers to get Filipinos for jobs as the current situation now is precarious as many factories supplying parts for Foxconn has temporarily stopped the processing of job orders from local agencies sending workers to Taiwan.

The deployment of caretakers will be affected due to the increase of fees from NT 1375 to NT 5740 or close to P 10,000 pesos may turn off Taiwan brokers as each order for caretakers will need new accreditation fees.

The most recent move of Foxconn which produces Apple products like Iphone 14 and Ipads to cancel six million units for the Iphone 14 leaves some factories at a stand still affecting OFWs.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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