Migrante lauds suspension of two abusive recruitment agencies

Members of Migrante International, an international migrants’ watchdog, was elated by the decision of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to preventively suspend the Annasban Manpower and the PERT/CMP Manpower Exponents Co., Inc. from participating in the overseas employment program of the government.

This is in connection with the pending cases filed against them by two different group of overseas Filipino workers allegedly abused and mistreated when they got the work in Saudi Arabia.

In an e-mail to CBCPNews, Migrante chairperson Garry Martinez said that they are truly happy about the decision and that they are hoping this would be the start of a genuine crusade against abusive employers and their cohorts here in the Philippines.

“The suspensions are a very welcome development and an initial victory for the OFWs. These could not have happened if not for the unity and assertion of our OFWs of their rights and demands,” Martinez told CBCPNews.

The POEA had released the suspension orders against the Annasban and PERT/CPM last April 10 and July 13.

Violation of Contract

Last year, 88 female workers of Annasban had lodged their complaint against the company for allegedly violating the terms and conditions of their contract, pertaining with their salaries, benefits and job descriptions.

They even launched a hunger strike to pressure the government to act immediately for their repatriation since they were living in deplorable condition in a small room, which served their temporary shelter for more than a year, and their water and food rations, inadequate.

On the other hand, the 189 SAPTCO bus drivers have filed a complaint last April before the Philippine Embassy Overseas Labor Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO-OWWA) in Saudi against recruitment agency PERT/CPM, which they accused of conniving with lending agencies.

The 189 workers also complained about the overcharging of placement fees, loans with impossible rates, collection of fees without issuance of receipts, false information on employment and compensation and the harassment of their families by the lending agencies.

Martinez said the agencies are yet to give the OFWs their rightful monetary claims.

“Hindi pa tapos ang laban. The agencies still have to pay our OFWs the monetary claims to which they are entitled,” he said.

The Annasban workers are demanding that they be paid their back wages amounting to an average of P300,000 (US$6,640.78/€5,022.01/SAR24,905.24) each, while the SAPTCO bus drivers are demanding a refund of their overcharged deployment fees amounting to at least P80,000 ($1,770.89/€1,339.87/SAR6,641.51) each, among others. (CBCPNews.com)