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Eleazar tells illegal recruitment victims to file complaints

September 8, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 497 views

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar yesterday called anew on illegal recruitment victims in the country to file criminal charges against the persons who gypped them of their hard-earned money.

“Panawagan ko sa ating mga kababayan na huwag mag-atubiling dumulog sa PNP kung sila ay may impormasyon sa mga illegal recruiters o ‘di kaya ay biktima ng mga ito. Ang impormasyon na ibibigay ninyo ay isang malaking tulong upang hindi na makapang-biktima ang mga illegal recruiters na ito,” the top cop said.

Eleazar issued the renewed call as he announced the activation of the PNP Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (PNP-TFAIR) that would boost the government’s crackdown against big-time illegal recruiters in the country who have victimized scores of poor Pinoy seeking much greener pastures abroad.

The PNP-TFAIR was put into action anew following a signing of a memorandum circular that would further intensify operations to protect Filipinos from illegal recruitment schemes.

Illegal recruitment has been described by the law as ‘any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, procuring workers and includes referring, contact services, promising or advertising for employment abroad, whether for profit or not, when undertaken by a non-license or non-holder of authority.

Republic Act No. 10022, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers Act states that any person found guilty of illegal recruitment shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of not less than 12 years and one day but not more than 20 years and a fine of not less than P1,000,000 nor more than P2,000,000.

The law also says that “the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than P500,000 nor more than P1,000,000 shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes economic sabotage.’

Yearly, thousands of illegal recruitment cases are being reported to the Department of Justice thru the POEA and Department of Labor and Employment prompting government agencies including the PNP to launch measures to prevent illegal recruitment specifically those being made thru the internet.

Officials have told Filipinos looking for jobs abroad to be on the lookout for scams and that it will be very easy for overseas job seekers to know if they are applying for a legitimate employment opening because the POEA allows only licensed agencies and representatives to post vacancies and recruit Filipino workers through the internet.

Government authorities have pointed out that the emerging trend of recruitment and posting of job vacancies on the internet have actually provided unscrupulous individuals the opportunity to pounce on gullible targets whom they mostly lure with generous salaries and other benefits that most often appear ‘too good to be true.’

Thus, job seekers abroad have been advised to be on the lookout in the event the online recruiter requires them to deposit so-called ‘placement and other processing service fees’ to unknown accounts.

Gen. Eleazar said that the newly-activated PNP-TFAIR will “analyze and aggressively initiate police operations against the modus operandi of illegal recruiters in coordination with other law enforcement agencies (LEAs)’ as well as the DOLE and OWWA.

“Hindi man masyadong napapansin dahil sa pandemya, marami pa ring kababayan natin ang nabibiktima ng mga illegal recruiters na nagre-resulta sa pagkabaon sa utang ng kanilang pamilya at kadalasan pa nga ay nauuwi sa kapahamakan ng ating mga OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers),” the PNP chief said.

According to the top cop, he signed the circular revitalizating the task force on orders of Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

The task force will be composed of officers and men from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group headed by Major Gen. Albert Ignatius D. Ferro.

“I have directed the CIDG to conduct a crackdown against these unscrupulous persons taking advantage of our kababayan who aspire to work overseas as a means to escape poverty and sufficiently provide for their families,” Gen. Eleazar said.

The top cop said the PNP-TFAIR is also mandated to conduct surveillance and entrapment operations on persons engaging in illegal recruitment that include ‘escort services at international airports and other ports of departure.

The task force is expected to come up with a priority target list based on intelligence-gathering, particularly on information that would be obtained from the victims themselves.

“Part of this memorandum is working closely with other government agencies for the protection of our OFWs as our own little way of recognizing their big contribution to the economy over the years,” the PNP chief said.

He urged the public to be extra cautious and vigilant in dealing with people as they pursue their intention to work abroad even as he advised them to immediately report to authorities if they are victimized by these lawless individuals.

The PNP chief said there are various ways in checking if the recruiters are legal, one of them is to verify with the POEA if the recruitment agency that they have been transacting with is a legitimate one or not.