MANILA, Feb 28 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it will respect the decision of the Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines (SHARP) to stop the deployment of Filipino household service workers to Hong Kong.
SHARP, an association of Philippine recruitment agencies that deploy Filipino maids to Hong Kong, is starting a deployment moratorium today (February 28).
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said the DOLE decision was reached after SHARP president Fred Palmiery presented the reasons for the moratorium Palmiery had admitted to the POEA Governing Board that “as a result of their business transactions with their Hong Kong counterpart agencies, where cutthroat competition is prevalent, service fees were collected from Filipino HSWS, in clear violation of the POEA Rules and Regulations.”
Baldoz said the POEA has been instructed to investigate the matter and submit their findings and recommendations to the POEA Board as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong urged the government to lift the ban on direct hiring in order to allow OFWs to get jobs overseas without going through recruiters who charge exorbitant fees.
“We will not be made casualties of the profit war between private recruitment agencies in the Philippines and in Hong Kong. We demand for the Aquino government to protect our livelihood and rights over the vast profit recruiters and his government squeeze from our sweat by lifting the ban on direct hiring,” said Eman Villanueva, secretary general of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong, said in a statement.
Villanueva criticized recruiters who have been charging OFWs “the equivalent of four to five times more than what they earn monthly.”
Villanueva noted that the “no placement fee” provision contained in the 2006 POEA Guidelines on Hiring Filipino Household Service Workers is being routinely violated by these private recruitment agencies. (MNS)