New modus operandi: Some recruiters now in cahoots with employers

by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano
An OFW Journalism Consortium news flash exclusive

A MIGRANT group warned Filipinos who wish to go abroad that some recruitment agencies, many have legal papers, are in cahoots with foreign employers to victimize the workers.
According to John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, he learned about the modus operandi when a group of overseas Filipino worker approached them for help.
The said technique is not new as a recent study in Jordan showed that Filipinos were victimized by the collusion of the recruitment agencies and employers.
“If an OFW was recruited for a particular job and upon arrival to the country of destination there is no such job existing, then he is a victim of illegal recruitment,” Monterona explained.
The recruitment agency may be legally registered with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the Filipino worker complied with all the documentary requirement including the acquisition of an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) and with a valid job order.
“Except that there is no actual existing job,” he added.
That was the case of the 10 OFWs who were hired as fishermen in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
According to Migrante, Richard Mendoza, Jose Alforque, Felipe Batinsela, Ronnie Maro, Arden Unsipedo, Redentor Hubahig, Oliver Perez, Isabelo Salbado, Jupiter Lawan, and Henerio Colis were all deployed in 2010 by Placewell International Services Corporation. The said company is a Manila-based recruitment agency with branch offices  in the Visayas and Mindanao.
“The 10 OFWs were told to believe by a recruitment agent that they will work as fishermen only to find out, upon arrival to Saudi Arabia, there are no such jobs waiting for them,” Monterona added.
On Tuesday, August 2, another group of OFWs numbering to 13 contacted Migrante’s office seeking for assistance as they have been staying in staying in for a month now as there are no available jobs for them.
These OFWs are Nereo Mate, Edward Nadores, Antonio Madarimot Jr., Bernardo Carpio, Christian Ringor, Artemio Combalicer II, Melvin Delena, Jerry Macaraeg, Joel Lacanilao, Carlito Sinoy, Jessie Punsalan, Keith Real, and Kerry Real. They were  deployed by OZEM International Placement agency with office address at 1904-1906 P. Hidalgo corner  Remedios St., Malater, Manila.
The OFWs were recruited to work for a Dammam-based company in Saudi Arabia.
On their signed letter dated July 27, 2011 to the Philippine embassy the company repre-sentative during an interview in Manila claimed that his company is a direct contractor of ARAMCO projects.
Migrante provided a copy of the letter.
“But when we have it verified with some ARAMCO friends here, they said there is no record whatsoever that the company is a contractor or has supplied labor requirements for ARAMCO,” the letter of the group of OFWs said.
The OFWs added they’ve found out that they will be supplied to other companies which are not stipulated in their employment contract.
“The supposed employer is not actually the real employer, but will supply manpower to another company in need of labor and will get his share by deducting the salaries of the hired OFWs. In essence, this is human smuggling,” Monterona said.
“We are calling the attention of the Presidential Task Force Against Recruitment headed by Vice President Jejomar Binay, also presidential adviser on OFWs concerns, to look deeply on this and break this illegal recruitment activities of some unscrupulous recruitment agencies,” he added. (