OFWs triumph over 2 abusive recruitment agencies; Let this serve as a warning to others – Migrante International

Migrante International Garry Martinez today commended the vigilance of at least 300 overseas Filipino workers who have been granted their petition demanding the suspension of two abusive recruitment agencies.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) released notices of suspension and resolutions dated April 10 and July 13, 2010 banning Annasban Manpower and PERT/CPM agencies, respectively, from participating in the overseas deployment program following complaints lodged against them by Migrante on behalf of the OFWs from the Middle East.

Since last year, more than 80 Annasban workers have complained of said agency’s breach of contract pertaining to their monthly salaries, benefits and job descriptions as stipulated in their contracts. These have resulted in the OFWs’ request for repatriation.

Meanwhile, 189 SAPTCO bus drivers filed a complaint last April before the Philippine Embassy Overseas Labor Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO-OWWA) in Saudi against recruitment agency PERT/CPM which they accused of conniving with lending agencies. They also complained of overcharging of placement fees, loans with onerous rates, collection of fees without issuance of receipts, false information on employment and compensation and the harassment of their families by the lending agencies.

“The suspensions are a very welcome development and an initial victory for OFWs. These could not have happened if not for the unity and assertion of our OFWs of their rights and demands,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

Martinez, however, said that the agencies are yet to give the OFWs their rightful monetary claims. “Hindi pa tapos ang laban. The agencies still have to pay our OFWs the monetary claims to which they are entitled.”

The Annasban workers are demanding that they be paid their back wages amounting to an average of P300,000 each, while the SAPTCO bus drivers are demanding a refund of their overcharged deployment fees amounting to at least P80,000 each, among others.

“Let this be a warning to other and all abusive recruitment agencies that our OFWs will not tolerate injustices and abuses. The next step now is to ensure that the POEA effectively and decisively implements the bans,” Martinez said. ###