12 Agencies Suspended for OEC Fraud

By Philip C. Tubeza

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) has suspended 12 employment agencies after it discovered that they were instructing their “terminated” Filipino domestic workers to get overseas employment certificates (OECs), acting Labor Attache Ma. Nena German said.

German said the POLO temporarily stopped the 12 agencies from hiring Filipinos because they were telling their workers to lie and obtain OECs although they had been terminated for their jobs.

If terminated workers get OECs, they would be able to come back to Hong Kong and work under a new contract without going through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

“It turns out that this practice is quite widespread. We want this stopped because we don’t want our workers to come here undocumented and unprotected,” German said.

She said OEC applications of workers who have been with their employers for less than a year are now being thoroughly checked at the POLO to help stop the illegal practice.

“We want to know if they were really allowed to go on vacation or if they have been terminated,” German said.

She noted the case of one terminated worker—identified as Natalie A.B.—who even cried and pretended that her father died so that Assistant Labor Attaché Henry Tianero would just give her an OEC.

“They are telling our workers to lie. This has to stop,” German said.

The worker Natalie broke down before Tianero on Nov. 3 and begged that she be allowed to get an OEC because she had to go home after “her father died.”

However, a check with her employer showed that she had been terminated. The following day, the worker wrote the POLO to apologize.

“Sir, sorry po sa nagawa kong pagsisinungaling kahapon. Nagawa ko po yun dahil wala po akong pera na pang gastos uli sa mga training,” Natalie said.

She promised that she would not repeat her offense and that she would apply with a licensed agency to get work here in Hong Kong.

“Inaamin ko po ang aking nagawang pagkakamali. Humihingi po ako ng kapatawaran. Ito po ay magsisilbing aral po sa akin, na ang pagsisinungaling ay hindi maganda ang naidudulot,” Natalie said.

“Gusto ko pong magtrabaho dito. Naway mabigyan niyo po ako ng isa pang pagkakataon,” she added.

The POLO earlier suspended two agencies after their domestic workers obtained OECs but came back here to work with new employers.

One of the agencies, located in Chai Wan, was suspended after the POLO learned that its worker, Marissa G.C., had already been terminated but she still applied for an OEC.

Marissa was terminated on August 3 but the worker still applied for an OEC from the POLO on August 9. She was given one. The following day, Marissa’s agency submitted her new employment contract.

Labor Attaché Nenita Garcia ordered the agency to explain why Marissa had to obtain an OEC when her new contract was already being processed.


(Source: HongkongNews.com.hk)

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