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TUCP supports PBBM’s directive and late Sec. Toots Ople’s life-long advocacy against human trafficking and illegal recruitment

Trade Union Congress of the Philippines - TUCP

In line with His Excellency President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr.’s directive to intensify the crackdown on human trafficking and in honor of the late Department Migrant Workers (DMW) Sec. Toots Ople’s life-long advocacy against illegal recruitment, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) stands ready to partner with the Marcos Administration in ending this modern form of slavery here and elsewhere.

“When we closely worked with Sec. Toots in legislating the DMW Act, we envisioned that the DMW would be at the forefront in advancing fair and ethical recruitment alongside the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT). Amid the pandemic of human trafficking that already threatened thousands of Filipino victims who just want to provide a decent life for their families, the Philippines should lead in this global fight,” stated House of Representatives Deputy Speaker and TUCP President Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza who served as chair of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (HCOWA) and steered the passage of the DMW Act during the 18th Congress.

As the Marcos Administration’s partner in labor, including our modern-day hero OFWs, the TUCP proposes key measures to save Filipinos from falling prey to abuse and fraud:

ONE RECRUITER-TO-ONE DEPLOYER CORRESPONDENCE. The most practical, yet the hardest, measure to end trafficking is to impose one-to-one correspondence between the recruiter on foreign soil, such as Kuwait, and the deployer in the Philippines. Hence, if the recruiter is suspended, the same goes for the deployer, instead of today’s situation wherein there can be as many as six recruitment agencies to one Philippine deployer such that if one recruitment agency is suspended, the Philippine deployer can still deploy to the other five.

MASSIVE INFORMATION AND EDUCATION CAMPAIGN AGAINST TRAFFICKING. Awareness-raising is the key to an informed populace immune from manipulation, especially the prevalent cyber scams and trafficking. This is more optimal than the counterproductive overly stringent travel restrictions that may run counter to the right to travel. Massive communication campaigns should capacitate our people on how to detect red flags on false job offers, such as those that are ‘too good to be true.’

BORDER PATROL TASK FORCES. Given the challenge of porous borders in an archipelagic nation such as ours, the true order of battle is patrolling our borders. This goes beyond additional immigration officers or automation in our international airports, but more importantly urgent additional manpower and funding for smaller airports and seaports in the form of border patrol task forces. This includes an all-out cleansing of the ranks of corruption and bribery as well as bolstered by international cooperation with our neighbors in ASEAN through integrated border control, data mapping, and sharing of best practices, among others.

NATIONAL REINTEGRATION PROGRAM. When we save our kababayan from foreign soil, we should ensure their fresh start and a new beginning in our motherland. DMW, such as in partnership with DOLE and TESDA, among others, should be on the frontlines in recognizing their competencies by way of a skills database to match them with new, permanent, and decent jobs here through demand-based area-driven education and training as well as job creation.

“Falling trap to the scourge of trafficking screams of the desperation faced by our kababayan amid poverty, lack of decent jobs without security of tenure and without living wages, and soaring prices—a symptom of deep-seated inequality that has long afflicted our nation. We should urgently launch a whole-of-society response, ranging from proactive critical measures to prevent and address cases of trafficking and illegal recruitment to forward-looking decent job creation, to save the jobs and save the lives of our countrymen as we look forward to the day when working abroad, leaving families behind, and braving the fear of abuse is not anymore a necessity,” stated Deputy Speaker Mendoza.

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