POEA to fire guards, janitors in internal cleansing

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced Tuesday, November 21, that they will be replacing all the security guards and janitors at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) after reports of illegal activities inside the agency. 

Undersecretary Dominador Say said security guards and janitors serve as messengers or bagmen. 

“I saw as early as January that scrupulous people outside the POEA give their request documents to the security guard…. The security guards would then pass the papers to the janitors who go in and out of offices,” Say said in Filipino. 

This is part of POEA’s internal “revamp” as they investigate the bureaucracy due to persistent reports of workers becoming victims of illegal recruitment. 

“This is a more in-depth reshuffling or revamp. We are doing this top to bottom,” he said. 

Officials and employees holding “sensitive positions [who are] very easy prey to temptation” will temporarily be removed as they conduct their probe. These include those who are directly involved in the processing of OFWs’ documents, and even up to deputy administrators. (READ: 'Slow' gov't process makes OFWs fall for illegal recruiters)

DOLE earlier suspended the processing of overseas employment certificate (OEC), a document required of outgoing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), until December 1 to give way to the internal probe.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said that there are people in POEA who are receiving as much as P250,000 for giving favors in the processing of OECs. 

Aside from the reshuffling, DOLE also ordered the installation of CCTV cameras in all areas of POEA except in the bathrooms. 

They are also set to release a decision whether or not they will cancel or suspend the licenses of 4 recruitment agencies that are involved in illegal recruitment. 

Say reminded OFWs to be discerning of the recruitment agencies since the names of legitimate firms are being used by illegal agents. OFWs are encouraged to coordinate with the POEA through their hotlines 722-11-44, 722-11-55. (WATCH: How OFWs can avoid illegal recruitment) – Rappler.com

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.

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