PH Govt. Urged to Intensify Arrest of Illegal Recruiters

MANILA: Authorities have been urged to intensify their manhunt for illegal recruiters across the Philippines, particularly those facing standing arrest warrants.

Susan Ople of the Blas Ople Policy Center made the call, along with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), reported Manila Bulletin.

“Kailangan po magkaisa tayo at magtulungan para matakot naman sila. At sila naman ay mahiya at managot sa kanilang ginagawa (We need to unite and help one another to put fear and shame into these illegal recruiters and make them answer for their deeds),” she reportedly said.

Ople particularly wants the arrest of two illegal recruiters who have victimized at least 200 workers, mostly from Davao City, the report said.

The victims, she reportedly said, pointed to a certain Osmando Nivero Habilag of Biwas, Tanza, Cavite, owner of Bantayog Travel and Tours, and a certain Alejandro Navarro Jr., owner of PADS Travel Consultancy, as their illegal recruiters.

Habilag and Navarro use the social media to post announcements for jobs in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Japan, and collect from their victims a processing fee ranging from P70,000 to P300,000, Ople was quoted as saying.

Any information on the whereabouts of the two that could lead to their arrest should be forwarded to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) or the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), she reportedly said.

“While these illegal recruiters travel in their air-conditioned SUVs, their victims suffer mental and emotional anguish, hide from (money)lenders and commute from one agency to another to seek justice,” said the daughter of the late labor secretary Blas Ople.

She also lamented that many of Habilag’s victims are based in Davao City because he was able to enter and post on a Facebook account created by a group of butchers based in the city.

“After collecting the money, he would then tell his victims that PADS Travel Consultancy, which is owned by his cousin, Alejandro Navarro Jr., is processing their papers,” she was quoted as saying by Manila Bulletin.

Ople reportedly noted a rise in the number of victims of illegal recruiters due to the social media and a low rate of convictions for those involved in the crime.
According to the POEA, it was able to obtain 31 convictions out of more than 700 cases filed at the DOJ in the past five years, said the news portal.



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