Joanna Demafelis’ story is perhaps the embodiment of every migrant worker’s worst fears. The Filipino worker allegedly died from a severe beating at the hands of her employers in Kuwait, and her remains were recently found in a freezer, more than a year after they were initially placed there.
The account is unspeakably tragic, but sadly, it isn’t the first nor will it be the last of its kind. Filipino migrant workers face not only a great deal of uncertainty, but also a certain degree of danger, once they set foot on foreign soil. Those starting at the bottom often find that their work can be grueling and perhaps even potentially hazardous, while the undocumented ones are especially vulnerable to exploitation.
Thus, in a move to minimize, if not to eliminate, instances where OFW’s meet the same fate as Demafelis, the Secretary of Labor, Silvestre Bello III, ordered the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to fast-track the cases of recruitment agencies. So far, ten (10) of them have been found guilty of recruitment violations and have been penalized with the cancellation of their licenses:
Al Bayan International Manpower Services Co.
Bumiputra Gulf Company Inc.
Gold Fortune Human Resources Corp.
LFC International Human Resources
Aisis International Manpower Incorporated
Greatworld International Management Inc.
GlobalGate International Manpower Services Inc.
MMML Recruitment Services Inc.
SML Human Resources Inc.
Best Migrant Workers International Manpower Services Inc.
The POEA also suspended another company’s license, namely NRS Placement, Inc., for four months.
Licenses are usually cancelled due to the severity and/or frequency of the violations, and once this happens, the agency in question is no longer allowed to process pending papers or applications. However, the companies on the list have been given fifteen days to file an appeal upon receiving the order.
In the meantime, the public is urged to look elsewhere for placements abroad.