2 firms suspended over Singapore's 'discount' maids

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 02 2014 03:14 AM | Updated as of Jul 02 2014 05:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The government has barred two foreign placement agencies from recruiting Filipino workers for their alleged involvement in the peddling of household service workers (HSWs) displayed in malls in Singapore, an official said yesterday.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has suspended the accreditation of Singapore-based Housekeeper recruitment agency while a complaint has been filed against Budget Maid recruitment company, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

“We have identified the two foreign recruitment agencies allegedly involved in the discounted maids issue and they are now barred from recruiting Filipino workers pending investigation,” she said.

According to Baldoz, Housekeeper is a POEA-accredited foreign recruitment agency so the accreditation was immediately suspended while Budget Maid is not accredited with the Philippine government, thus a letter has been sent to Singapore’s ministry of manpower for appropriate investigation.

Baldoz said the POEA has also summoned four local counterparts of Housekeeper for investigation: Migrant Workers Manpower Agency Inc., Kirsten Recruitment Inc., Uni-Link Overseas Placement Agency Corp. and Maanyag International Manpower Corp.

According to Baldoz, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Singapore was able to visit five Filipino HSWs recruited by the two foreign agencies.

“But we have yet to establish until this time if they were legally deployed or not and if they were indeed being offered like commodities by their foreign recruiters,” she said.

There were reports that Bukit Timah Shopping Center in Central Singapore allegedly set up “galleries” in which foreign women workers, including Filipino HSWs, are being offered and advertised for hiring as domestic workers at “super promo” rates.

“If the news report is true, we should really close those agencies involved. Their business may be legitimate, but how they conduct their business is degrading and even if Filipinos are foreigners they should not be treated inhumanely,” Baldoz said.