POLO scraps accreditation of recruiter in ‘discount maids’
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in Singapore has suspended the accreditation of a foreign placement agency suspected to be placing foreign domestic workers, including Filipino household service workers (HSWs), on display for “purchase” at “discounted prices” in some shopping malls in Singapore.
According to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, the POLO has suspended the accreditation of Homekeeper Agency, one of two agencies alleged to be engaged in the so-called “discount on maids” marketing strategy.
Baldoz, citing the report of Labor Attaché Vicente Cabe, said the POLO had invited the manager of Homekeeper Agency to answer the allegation of treating their foreign household service workers like “commodities” and instructed them to bring to the Philippine Embassy the Filipino HSWs under their care for interview.
“The other agency, Budget Maid Agency, which is not accredited with POLO-Singapore, as well as the other agencies doing the same practice, had been referred to the Singapore Ministry of Manpower,” Baldoz added.
In his report, Cabe said the Singapore government has assured the Philippine Embassy and the POLO that they would look into the matter and provide feedback at the soonest.
Cabe also reported that the POLO was able to effect a settlement and obtain a refund of the money claims of two of the five Filipino household service workers who were present during the POLO’s investigation when it conducted inspection at the Bukit Timah Shopping Centre over the weekend.
There were reports that some shopping centers in Singapore set up “galleries” in which foreign women workers, including Filipino HSWs, were offered and advertised for hiring as domestic workers at promo rates.
One of the two HSWs, Louvette Seguerra, a native of Davao City, arrived in Singapore in November 2013 and had worked for two employers. Homekeeper Agency settled her claim of S$1,676 (P58,655) prior to her repatriation last Tuesday.
The other Filipino HSW, Gina Limpag, arrived in Singapore last March and had worked for two employers. Homekeeper Agency refunded her plane fare and placement fee of S$724 (P25,338) before she was repatriated also last Tuesday.
The three other Filipino HSWs were identified as Mary Grace Cansejo, Armie Ponce, and Lilia Patrocinio. The POLO is still working on their cases.
Baldoz has directed the POLO and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to coordinate their efforts in laying down stricter measures to protect Filipino domestic workers from practices that degrades human dignity.
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