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April 13, 2023 Anchit Masangcay 211 views

OFW Party List Rep. Marissa “Del Mar” Magsino filed today House Bill 7865, which consolidates and updates all existing laws on illegal recruitment into a single penal law to facilitate a more effective and efficient enforcement and implementation of Philippine laws to combat illegal recruitment.

Illegal recruitment has been growing and evolving through the use of online modes and multi-country transit points schemes. Recently, there have been numerous cases of illegal recruitment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), particularly for countries in Southeast Asia, which often lead to human trafficking.

The party list solon said illegal recruiters and human traffickers are taking advantage of information and communications technologies (ICT) to profile, recruit and exploit their victims offering fake job offers and promises in the absence of traditional physical and geographical limitations. The global nature of illegal recruitment and the abuse of these technologies also make it more difficult for law enforcement authorities to combat this crime, requiring a certain level of digital expertise and cooperation across borders to support prosecution.

“One of the identified gaps contributing to the evolving problem of illegal recruitment is the absence of a single penal law. Nakakalat lang sa iba’t-ibang mga lumang batas ang mga probisyon sa illegal recruitment. Kung seryoso tayo sa ating laban kontra sa illegal receruiters, dapat palakasin natin yun batas na magpaparusa sa mga kawatang ito. Mas mapangahas na sila ngayon kaya’t hindi pwedeng maiwan sa kalumaan ang ating sistema, lalo na ang ating batas, sa pakikipaglaban sa kanila.”, said Rep. Marissa “Del Mar” Magsino.

Philippine laws against illegal recruitment include scattered provisions found in the ‘Labor Code of the Philippines’ (Presidential Decree No. 442), in Republic Act No. 8042 as amended by Republic Act 10022, or the ‘Migrant Workers Act’, Republic Act No, 11641 or the ‘Department of Migrant Workers Act’, and applicable provisions of Republic Act No. 10175, or the ‘Anti-Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012’, Republic Act No. 11862, or the ‘Expanded Anti-Trafficking Persons Act of 2022’, and other special laws.

House Bill 7865 aims to specifically penalize acts of illegal recruitment committed by, through and with the use of ICT technologies or systems, otherwise known as ‘online illegal recruitment’, and provide higher penalties (fines) for greater deterrence.

Rep. Marissa “Del Mar” Magsino pointed out that the bill also incorporates mechanisms designed to expedite the investigation and prosecution of the offenses through international coordination and cooperation, as well as confer jurisdiction to local courts in proper cases in recognition of the difficulties encountered by law enforcement agencies by reason of the cross-border nature of illegal recruitment in many cases, particularly those perpetrated online, which raises jurisdictional issues.

The bill likewise mandates the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), other appropriate government agencies, and local government units, in applicable cases, to make available specific social services to victims of illegal recruitment and their families as safety nets and recovery assistance.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa DOJ, NBI, DMW, at DFA sa pakikipagtulungan sa OFW Party List upang makagawa tayo ng komprehensibo at bagong batas kontra sa illegal recruitment. The government needs to be proactive on this pernicious problem. Hindi na pwedeng laging reactive lang ang mga hakbang natin at tayo ang naghahabol sa mga nanloloko sa ating mga kababayan. Dapat maging mas wais tayo sa kanila!”, said Rep. Marissa “Del Mar” Magsino.