The Philippine Oversease Employment Administration (POEA) on Wednesday (Oct. 21) warned overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) already abroad against falling victims to social media illegal recruitment schemes.
“Akala po ng mga OFWs natin sa abroad porke nasa ibang bansa na sila e free na sila, immune na sila sa illegal recruitment. Hindi po (Our OFWs abroad think that they are free and immune from illegal recruitment. They are not),” said POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said during an interview at the Kapihan sa Manila with Marichu Villanueva.
Olalia said there have been “hundreds” of unemployed OFWs who have fallen victims to illegal recruitment even during this pandemic.
“Pumapangalawa po yung tinatawag naming third-country hire (Second to this are the number of OFWs abroad falling victims to third-country hire schemes),” he cited.
“Nasa ibang bansa na yung OFW, maganda na yung kanyang trabaho doon tapos may matatanggap siyang offer and not knowing na yung mga offer na binibigay sa kanya ay part pala ng isang scheme na maging biktima sila ng illegal recruitment (Under this scheme, OFWs with good employment abroad receive offers to work without knowing that it is part of an illegal recruitment scheme),” Olalia explained on what the third country hire scheme is.
The administrator noted that a number of these illegal recruiters are in the Philippines.
Olalia admitted that is difficult to prosecute cases concerning OFWs abroad who fell to the third country-hire schemes.
“That becomes an issue of jurisdiction on how to prosecute these criminal cases,” he said.
“Yan po ang isa sa mga nagiging problema po nmin at naging challenges po namin (It has become a problem and a challenge for us),” Olalia added.
The administrator noted that the POEA has a Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch (IARB) which handle illegal recruitment cases including the prosecution of illegal recruiters.