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Punish corrupt officials and illegal recruiters, not the OFWs

| November 12, 2017

Abolish OEC lift suspension

Hong Kong migrants protest DOLE’s anti-OFW “deployment suspension”; Call to immediately abolish the OEC

“Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III’s suspension of deployment of applicants for overseas work is not going to solve widespread and systemic illegal recruitment and will only deprive income and livelihood the more than 75,000 would-be overseas Filipino workers. It is blatantly anti-OFW, and anti-worker”, United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK) chairperson Dolores Balladares-Pelaez angrily declared in a protest held today outside the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong against this new order of the Philippine’s Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

On November 9, Sec. Bello III issued Department Order 187 (DO-185) suspending the acceptance and processing of the “Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)” and in effect suspending the deployment of Filipinos for overseas work effective November 13 to December 1, 2017 with possibility of extension. Bello claimed the order is aimed at curbing the allegedly widespread illegal recruitment activities involving some government officials at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

“Instead of fulfilling its failed promises of abolishing the OEC, Sec. Bello III even now has the gall to use the notorious OEC to deny job opportunities to thousands of Filipinos whom this government has failed to provide jobs and livelihood locally”, said Balladares-Pelaez. “Instead of punishing the corrupt, the DOLE Order is punishing innocent OFWs. Will this government pay for those OFWs’ rent and bills? Will they pay for their children’s education and healthcare needs? Will they feed them?” Balladares-Pelaez added.

The migrant leader also castigated Sec. Bello’s deceitful announcement of “suspending the OEC” while in reality it is a suspension of deployment for overseas work.

“Call spade a spade. Sec. Bello’s suspension of the OEC is deceptive and confusing since in reality it is a suspension of the deployment and not merely the OEC”, Balladares-Pelaez said. “Before it was the ‘free OFW ID’ that turns out to be another money-making scheme to be paid for by employers. This time, announcing the ‘suspension of the OEC’ when in reality it is not. Stop fooling our OFWs with your PR stunt and just abolish the OEC once and for all”, Balladares-Pelaez averred.

UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK bowed to continue exposing the deceitful scheme of the DOLE and to launch bigger protest actions for the total abolition of the OEC and other reforms for the OFWs.

“Secretary Bello III… President Duterte… you promised to abolish the OEC. You promised many reforms. But until now, one and a half year later, none of those promises have been fulfilled. Lift the deployment ban and instead arrest and prosecute corrupt government officials and their private partners in the illegal recruitment business. We again demand for the immediate abolition of the OEC. We will not simply wait but will actively mobilise our members until our demands are met”, Balladares-Pelaez concluded.#


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