POEA promises to cooperate with Senate

by Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 15 2011 04:55 PM | Updated as of Jun 16 2011 12:55 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will cooperate with the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s planned investigation on the alleged padding of job orders by some of its employees to favor certain recruitment agencies.

This was after Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III delivered a speech calling for a probe into the matter, which he said worsens corruption in the agency at the expense of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

POEA Administrator Atty. Carlos Cao Jr. said in a news forum on Wednesday that the employees involved in the practice have been charged before the Department of Justice.

“The recruitment agencies that were identified to have been in cahoots with some of the people inside were already closed now, and their licenses were accordingly cancelled,” Cao added.

An employee who was once involved in job order padding and amassed P2 million in 10 months for it has also agreed to cooperate in the investigation. Cao said that the employee is now under the government’s witness protection program.

She also agreed to return to government coffers half of the amount she amassed, as most of it have already been spent.

“I think it was a small breakthrough. Imagine somebody who returned her share of the loot,” Cao said.

“She has found moral courage and she said she is willing to expose those who are involved.”

In a privilege speech on June 7, Guingona said that job order padding involves falsely increasing the job orders for certain agencies in exchange of P1,000 for every padded job order.

“Sa sampung job order para sa domestic helper, sa isang pindot sa keyboard, nagiging isandaan. Yung sobra, binebenta of pinapagamit sa ibang mga ahensya kapalit ay komisyon,” he said.

The senator said the victims are the OFWs, who would be surprised to know that their overseas employment certificate from POEA indicates an agency other than where they applied for, or that they were processed for jobs different from what they applied for.

Guingona explained that the job orders do not match because of padding.

"May mga pagkakataon na ang OFW ay kasambahay pero na-process bilang waitress o utility worker o sales lady gamit ang mga pekeng job orders na ito," he said.

"Ang kapalit po ng isang libong binulsa sa bawat numero na dinagdag ay ilang gabing paghagulgol ng isang OFW na baon sa utang, pinagsasamantalahan, at humihiling ng saklolo para makauwi na lamang."