THE DEPARTMENT of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Wednesday said it aims to set up offices in every country destination for Filipino workers to verify potential employers after it was revealed in a Senate hearing that an increasing number of Filipinos are being trafficked by fake companies abroad.
Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel, who chaired the Senate Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality hearing, invited three trafficking victims at the meeting to relay how they were recruited and deceived into becoming online scammers by a group operating in Cambodia.
“Isn’t the employment contract supposed to be verified and authenticated? Isn’t there any screening to identify possible red flags? Can syndicates hire right under the nose of the Philippine government?” the senator asked.
DMW Undersecretary Bernard P. Olalia acknowledged existing gaps in the government’s system for processing and protecting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and said the establishment of Migrant Workers Office (MWO) abroad will help address the loopholes.
He said the case of the OFWs in Cambodia could have been avoided if an MWO was present there.
“But, as said, because we do not have a MWO present there, the employer was not called,” he said. “That is the gap, which is why our suggestion is for every country of destination to ideally have MWOs.”
Currently, the DMW has stopped the deployment of all OFWs bound for Cambodia.
Other than Cambodia, the Philippine government had also repatriated trafficking victims who were in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, where there are also no MWOs.
Mr. Olalia said the establishment of MWOs in these countries is already in the works. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan