POEA: Fishermen should not pay placement fee

Posted at 05/13/14 5:12 PM

MANILA - The license of a manning agency was cancelled after it was found guilty, on two occasions, of illegally exacting placement fees on fishermen recruited to work in Taiwan.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reiterated that fishermen are considered seafarers and should not pay placement fees.

POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said Jenar Maritime Incorporated, in two separate cases, was found to have violated Section 1, Rule IV, Part II of the POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Seafarers.

Based on the rule, "Agencies shall charge from their principals manning fee to cover services rendered in the recruitment and deployment of seafarers. However, manning agencies shall not charge any fee from the seafarers for their recruitment and deployment services".

Cacdac said that in the first case against Jenar Maritime, the complainant alleged that the agency required him to pay a placement fee of P75,000. The applicant also took a P75,000 loan from a lending company with the assistance of an employee of the manning agency.

The complainant also alleged that Jenar Maritime required him to make a written statement stating that he did not pay a placement fee to the agency. He said he was forced to write and sign the statement for fear of losing the job and for lack of material time to complain.

He worked as a fisherman on a Taiwanese fishing vessel but requested repatriation after two months complaining of breaches of contract committed by his employer.

In the second case, Jenar Maritime collected P80,000 from another applicant for the job in Taiwan who was also referred to a lending agency. He was also made to write a statement that he did not pay any placement fee from the agency.

Cacdac said charging or accepting directly or indirectly any amount of money, goods, services, or any fee or bond for any purpose from seafarers carry a penalty of cancellation of license. It also carries the accessory penalty of refund of the fee charged o collected from the seafarer.