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Labor chief to OFWs: Fulfill work contracts

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05:00 PM July 5th, 2013

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By: Philip C. Tubeza, July 5th, 2013 05:00 PM

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz: No one in the DOLE would be spared. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Friday reminded Filipinos who want to work abroad to be faithful to their employment contracts after a group of recruiters complained that many were reneging on their commitments.

Baldoz said applicants, especially those who want to work as household service workers (HSWs), should honor their commitments so that the government could continue to lobby to improve their lot abroad.

“OFWs must honor their commitments, too, even while they are still applying for an overseas job to bolster the preference for them by employers in countries of destination,” Baldoz said in a statement.

The labor chief issued the statement after Victor E.R. Fernandez, Jr., president of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc., complained of overseas Filipino workers who “abruptly and irresponsibly deserting their applications.”

“We have recorded that more OFWs are abruptly and irresponsibly deserting their applications and commitments for employment overseas without informing and communicating their true intentions to withdraw from or to no longer pursue their applications with their recruitment agencies,” Fernandez said in a letter to Baldoz.

“In several instances, documentation process had been completed and the HSW advised of her travel itinerary, on the day of scheduled departure, the HSW is a ‘no show,’” he added.

Fernandez said they noticed “this negative practice” after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration strictly implemented the “no-placement-fee” policy in the recruitment of HSWs.

“Currently, most recruitment agencies recruiting and deploying HSWs to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are announcing that HSW applicants are exempt from the payment of pre-application medical examinations and personal documents,” Fernandez said.

“In most cases, everything is provided free of cost to the HSWs, including the cost of transportation from the province to Manila, food and accommodation while in Manila, skills training, securing personal documents, such as passport and clearances, pre-employment and complete medical examination, and skills assessment,” he said.

However, Fernandez said this development had “spawned a negative practice and attitude” among HSW applicants.

He said the POEA should sanction erring applicants like temporarily disqualifying them from “participation in the overseas employment program.”

“Disciplining erring OFWs is certainly within the bounds of fairness and justice in the overseas employment industry,” he said.

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