By November we will have international flights at Cabatuan Airport
Campaign against illegal recruitment gets boost with MOA signing

Cabatuan International Airport (Iloilo Airport)
Cabatuan, Iloilo, Philippines
By Lilibeth A. French, Wednesday 12th of September 2012

Campaign against illegal recruitment gets boost with MOA signing

ILOILO CITY, Sept 12 (PIA) -- Concerned government agencies have forged a partnership with the city government of Passi, Iloilo to concretize their efforts towards an intensified and well-sustained campaign against illegal recruitment.

The government saw the need for a more aggressive and sustained collaborative efforts and strategies to succeed in the campaign against illegal recruitment. Hence the need for a collaborative effort among agencies involved in overseas employment such as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional offices and local government units, said Ma. Teresa de los Santos of the POEA.

The partnership was formalized through the signing of a memorandum of understanding by Rhea Glynda Calantas POEA officer-in-charge , OWWA-6 Director Samuel Madrid, Labor OIC Assistant Regional Director Salome Siaton, Representative Manolo Tibe and Passi City Mayor Jesry Palmares on September 11.

The MOU signing was witnessed by the participants of the Anti-Illegal Recruitment (AIR) and Anti-Trafficking in Persons (ATIP) Campaign Seminar conducted by the POEA in Passi City on the same day.

Participants were composed of punong barangays and other local government officials of Passi City and nearby municipalities, law enforcers, prosecutors, academe, members of the Regional Coordinating Council for Child Labor, Illegal Recruitment and Trafficking in Western Visayas, and other stakeholders.

“We need the help of the LGUs in this campaign. We said that one better ground to wage the war against illegal recruitment is done in the grassroots level where the less informed folks thrive,” said de los Santos.

De los Santos added the cooperative alliance aims to expand the network in the campaign against illegal recruitment and increase public awareness on overseas employment particularly on government services and information that will protect them from illegal recruitment.

On the other hand, Siaton said the MOU will pave the way for responsibilities of concerned agencies in curbing the problem of illegal recruitment in Western Visayas particularly in Passi City so that related problems they have encountered will be minimized if not eradicated.

Madrid said his agency has also manifested its support when the same MOU was signed in San Jose, Antique together with the other government agencies last May this year that declared the war against illegal recruitment in the region.

“Now, the battle cry of POEA reverberates in Passi City and its surrounding municipalities,” said Madrid, adding that the war against illegal recruitment is not a burden of POEA or government agencies alone but the fight of everyone down to the grassroots level.

As chairperson of the Advocacy and Communication Committee of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, Tibe said CFO also wanted to make sure that every village and province in the country are free from the activities of illegal recruiters and human traffickers.

Calantas reiterated the earlier statement of Madrid that POEA cannot do it alone in the fight against illegal recruitment and needs everybody’s support especially nowadays that recruiters are using the cyber space to recruit illegally.

She added, “By November we will have international flights and we do not want that Iloilo Airport as an exit point of illegally recruited OFWs.”

Palmares, who admitted being an advocate of the program, related his experiences on how it was hard to retrieve his fellow Passinhons in other countries who were victimized by illegal recruiters and the adverse effect of this illegal activity to their concerned families.

He welcomed the MOU and committed to strengthen the implementation of the program in the city.

Passi City is considered as one of Iloilo’s OFW hubs with 2,504 documented OFWs. Its neighboring municipalities such as Dingle, Duenas, San Rafael, Pototan, Lemery and San Enrique are homes to more than 8,000 active OWWA members.

Calantas said Passi City and these municipalities were not spared from illegal recruitment as they have records of incidents. (JCM/LAF-PIA6)

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