By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Geneva is recommending the suspension of deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Poland.
POLO-Geneva Labor Attache Cheryl Daytec recommended to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III the suspension of the processing of papers of OFWs bound for Poland, citing alleged irregularities committed by recruiters of OFWs.
“Considering that contract substitution and alleged irregularities committed by recruiters of OFWs for deployment in Poland is seemingly prevalent and not yet resolved, POLO Geneva recommends the suspension of the processing of papers of OFWs bound to Poland until the POEA will have developed a working regulatory framework to prevent exploitative practices of PRAs [recruiters] and their Polish principals,” she said in her report dated Nov. 21.
According to POLO-Geneva, they received successive appeals from OFWs in distress in Poland during the months of October and November reporting irregularities, among them contract substitution, bad working conditions, unjust termination, and expired visas.
Daytec said the latest of such appeals came separately from workers recruited by Gold Icon Recruitment and Promotion Inc., to work for HR Motives.
“The workers reported that HR Motives changed their contract upon their arrival in Poland,” read the report.
“The OFWs further complained that Gold Icon collected at least P269,000 from them by way of processing fees. No receipts were issued…at the same time, they were made to sign documents stating that Gold Icon did not collect any amount from them,” it further read.
“The complaining OFWs eventually escaped from HR Motives,” it said.
In her report, the labor official also noted the growing number of abscondence from employment by OFWs in Poland, which is already at 135 as of Oct. 9.
“Based on interviews conducted with some runaways, abscondence is more a response to abuse and broken contracts than solely driven by desire to seek better economic opportunities,” read the report.
Aside from suspending the deployment, the Labor Attache also recommended that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) investigate the claims of the workers.