Recruiter advised OFW to jump off a building to get insurance money?
Lorena Banggayan, Mary Rose Saberon and Rowena Villanueva, three hopeful overseas contract workers from Nueva Ecija, went to Taiwan as “caretakers” after applying with the OFW Recruitment Agency at a job fair held at their barangay last February 09, 2011.
After borrowing more than P150,000 each for their recruitment fees, however, they all scurried home after barely two weeks. They visited Bantay OCW at Radyo Inquirer last July 19, 2011 to complain that they had been set up for virtual slave labor. They sought redress for what they referred to as their “unsuccessful and lost chance abroad”.
OFW Banggayan was deployed last June 22, 2011 but was back after only three days. She said she was made to work from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.—the first half of the day at a one-hectare fish farm where she was told to feed the fish then cut the grass and spray pesticides; then at noon she was returned to her employer’s residence to prepare lunch, clean the house and care for an elderly member. Banggayan, a mother of three, wept while begging her broker in Taiwan to allow her to return home.
OFW Saberon lasted 16 days in Taiwan. She said she was made to work at the agency then was deployed with several employers. When she contacted OFW Recruitment Agency to complain about the job after all the money she had forked over, a staffer named Benzon Tan reportedly advised her to go jump off a building so she could collect insurance money to recover her recruitment costs.
OFW Villanueva also said she was given an almost impossible job when she arrived in Taiwan last June 14, 2011. She lasted 9 days after solely cleaning a six-storey house with eight huge rooms and several cars every day. When she visited her local agency to complain that this was not the job she expected, the same Benzon Tan advised her to be an agent and recruit others (P5,000 per head)to recover her lost money.
The three complainants had all taken out loans of P150,000-P160,000 with a lending company referred to them by the OFW Recruitment Agency. Banggayan also sold her house in Nueva Ecija worth P100,000 for the processing of other documents. Saberon’s parents mortgaged their lot. Villanueva borrowed about P50,000 more from other sources.
Bantay OCW learned that OFW Recruitment Agency was licensed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) but they had no approved job order on their records.
When contacted by Bantay OCW, Benzon Tan denied he told Saberon to go jump off a building. He said the girl probably overheard him “teasing” a different applicant over her insurance coverage. He also denied advising Villanueva to recruit other applicants to such jobs in Taiwan. Tan did not answer our questions regarding the agency’s job orders.
The three complainants have since filed a complaint with the POEA against the recruitment agency. Their conciliation hearings are set this July 27, August 1 and 4, 2011. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has offered to assist them in their legal battle against agencies suspected of selling their kababayan into slave labor.
Susan Andes, a.k.a. Susan K is on board at RADYO INQUIRER 990 DZIQ AM, Monday to Friday, 7:00-8: 30 p.m.
(Audio/video live streaming: www.dziq.am); and at NBN Channel 4, Monday to Friday 10:10 p.m.-11:10 p.m. (Live streaming: www.ptni.tv). Contact Bantay OCW Foundation Operations Center: 631 Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City
Hotlines: 5357209/ 8819423/ 0919.214.0699
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