Manila sets counter checks on departing Overseas Filipino Workers

Filipinos warned against misrepresentation

MANILA, March 8: The Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has put in place counter-checking measures for overseas Filipino workers or OFWs as they are called who leave the country to work in Kuwait, reports the Gulf Times quoting the Manila Times.

The newspaper said this is done to ensure the OFWs are qualified and make no misrepresentation when they get their overseas employment certificates (OECs). Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III stressed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has been instructed to strictly scrutinize the OECs issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) or the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) to all returning workers who are exempted from the total deployment ban to Kuwait amid reports of misrepresentation by some Filipino workers.

Bello went on to say, “This is necessary to further ensure their security and welfare before going back to Kuwait.” According to reports hundreds of skilled OFWs affected by the ban have once again appealed to the POLO chief to exempt them since they are covered by a separate private sector law and need not be part of the proposed memorandum of understanding (MoU) on work policy that the DOLE is negotiating with Kuwait labor officials.

However, POEA administrator Bernard Olalia had earlier warned OFWs, specially the first timers who go overseas to work against misrepresenting themselves as ‘returnees’ when applying for an OEC to circumvent the DOLE-issued guidelines on the total deployment ban to Kuwait.

Olalia has also warned recruitment agencies not to submit false information for processing travel documents of newly-hired workers to make it appear they were returning workers. He disclosed, misrepresentation is a criminal offence under the Republic Act 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 as amended by RA 10022.

A returning worker is an OFW who has served or is serving his/her employment contract and is returning to the same employer and the same job site. It also refers to an Administrative Order 4A. The deployment ban covers only all types of workers being deployed for the first time for overseas employment in Kuwait, without distinction as to skill, profession or type of work.

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