Recruiters of OFWs in sex-for-flight probe suspended
MANILA – A preventive suspension was ordered against four recruitment agencies which recruited and deployed two of the female overseas Filipino workers who testified against officials of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Saudi Arabia in the sex-for-flight probe.
Kozen International Inc., Azizzah International Manpower Services, Jobstar International Manpower Services, and Ideal Placement and Manpower Services, were found to have engaged in acts of misrepresentation, contract substitution, illegal collection of placement fee, and other recruitment violations in the process of recruitment and deployment of Elena B. Beleta and Grace Victoria P. Sales.
Beleta and Sales are both witnesses in the ongoing sex-for-flight probe in the Senate.
Atty. Leah Fortuna, chairperson of the DOLE Investigating Team endorsed the two cases to Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), seeking legal action on the allegations of the complainants.
Beleta alleged that she applied as a beautician with Azizzah International and paid the agency P15,000 as placement fee but her documents were submitted by Kozen International for processing as a female nurse at the POEA.
Beleta left the Philippines on March 28, 2013, hoping to work as a beautician in a parlor but was instead brought directly to the house of a certain Mohammed Al Faisal. She ran away from her employer on April 18, 2013 and went directly to the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.
POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said Kozen and Azizzah, on the basis of the complainant’s sworn statement and information sheet, committed serious violations relative to the recruitment and placement of Beleta.
“The evidence is strong indicating that the complainant’s documents were reprocessed – having been deployed by a recruitment agency other than the one she originally applied with, and was made to work for a different position and employer other than what she initially applied and accepted for employment,” Cacdac said.
For her part, Sales alleged that she applied as household service worker with Jobstar International on December 2011 and was required to pay a placement fee to be deducted from her salary of 800 Saudi Riyals.
Upon verification of Sales’ records at the POEA, the investigators discovered that her documents were processed by Ideal Placement for a housekeeping position at AMI Saudi Arabia Limited/Security Forces Hospital with a monthly salary of US$314.00.
Sales left for Saudi Arabia on January 27, 2012 and it was only on that day she discovered that her documents were processed for overseas employment by Ideal Placement when she opened the envelope given by her recruiter. She also checked her employment contract and was surprised that it bore a different name.
Nevertheless, Sales said she took up the job taking care of the house and kids of her Arab employer who made unwanted sexual advances toward her. She left her employer on March 2012 and went to the POLO’s Bahay Kalinga where she worked as janitress.
Cacdac said he found strong evidence that Jobstar International and Ideal Placement committed serious violations of the POEA rules on recruitment and deployment of OFWs.
He also ordered the suspension of AMI Saudi Arabia Limited and Samaya Advanced Dental Polyclinic -- the foreign agencies of the recruitment agencies -- and their inclusion in the POEA list of agencies and principals temporarily disqualified from recruiting Filipino workers for overseas employment.