Baldoz warns anew vs undocumented migration

November 29, 2012 11:03 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 29 — Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has warned overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) anew against courting grave abuse and peril as illegal workers abroad.

She advised them to link up with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, or the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) to avoid becoming victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking syndicates operating clandestinely in the Philippines, the Middle East, and other countries.

“Report illegal recruiters and human traffickers at the slightest sign of suspicion,” she advised.

“To victims, don’t hesitate to go to our Filipino Workers' Resource Centers (FWRCs) in the countries where you work or are stranded and distressed. These FWRCs, operated by our POLOs, never hesitate in providing victim-OFWs with safe refuge,” Baldoz.

She observed that distressed OFWs are often victims of illegal recruitment and many have been prey to human trafficking syndicates.

Baldoz's warning also came with a commendation of the POLO in Jordan for its effort to bring down the number of distressed OFWs staying at its FWRC in Amman from 109 in October to only 69 as of 14 November 2012.

Baldoz, citing a report of POLO-Jordan officer-in-charge and welfare officer Mario R. Antonio, said the 69 OFWs currently housed at the FWRC will be reduced soon to only 32, as 37 of them are awaiting their airplane tickets after they had been cleared to leave by Jordanian immigration authorities.

The IOM, Antonio said, had committed to pay for the return tickets of 14 of the 37 OFWs due for repatriation. The Philippine Embassy would shoulder the remaining tickets subject to approval from Manila.

The labor and employment chief thanked the International Organization for Migration and the Philippine Embassy in Jordan for supporting the POLO's effort to repatriate undocumented OFWs staying at the FWRC.

“The IOM has always been supportive in assisting distressed OFWs, and this has been proven many times in the past. On the other hand, the Department of Foreign Affairs, through its missions abroad, is our partner in the one-country team effort mandated by law to ensure onsite response to our migrant workers,” said Baldoz.

She said POLO-Jordan’s effort is another example worthy emulation other POLOs.

Earlier this year, Baldoz had ordered all POLOs to be creative by establishing rapport with licensed overseas recruitment agencies, establishing networks, and coordinating with government offices of host countries to fast-track the repatriation of distressed OFWs.

“Considering that they are mostly disadvantaged household service workers, we should exert utmost effort to assist them and repatriate them safely and speedily," said Baldoz. (PNA)

FPV/PR/UTB

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