POEA warns sanctions vs recruitment agencies failing to report status of hired OFWs

Robie de Guzman
Every Sunday, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) gather in Hong Kong’s Statue Square. (RODEL LUMIARES/PHOTOVILLE INTERNATIONAL)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Wednesday reminded local and foreign recruitment agencies to monitor and report the status of Filipino workers they hired.

In a statement, the POEA said monitoring and reporting the status, condition or significant events relating to their hired workers are among the responsibilities of accredited recruitment and manning agencies, including foreign employers and principals.

The agency said failure to comply with these requirements is a prohibited act under Republic Act 8042, as amended and the corresponding POEA rules on recruitment and placement of Filipino workers.

Republic Act No. 8042, as amended, mandates the POEA to “formulate and implement, in coordination with appropriate entities concerned, when necessary, a system for promoting and monitoring the overseas employment of Filipino workers taking into consideration their welfare and the domestic manpower requirements.”

Violation of this law carries a penalty of suspension from participation in the overseas employment program for six months to one year on the first offense.

While the second offense will mete out permanent disqualification in the overseas employment and permanent disqualification and delisting from the roster of accredited principals/employers.

“The initial report on the status and condition of newly deployed OFWs onsite and seafarers on-board shall be done three months after deployment and every quarter thereafter,” the POEA said.

“However, in the event of a significant or critical incident, the deploying agency should promptly submit the report within five working days from occurrence,” it added.

POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said lack of a report and relevant information about hired Filipino workers lead to inconclusive monitoring reports which are not compliant to the agency’s rules and other issuances.

He added that employers and recruiters should not use data privacy as a reason for their non-compliance.

Olalia said that the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 allows the processing of personal information when necessary “to protect vitally important interests” of the person, including life and health.

Meanwhile, the POEA also reported has recently developed an online application to facilitate the monitoring of overseas Filipino workers.

The monitoring system will be used by Philippine recruitment and manning agencies as a tool in reporting the status and condition of OFWs they have deployed as prescribed by the POEA through Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 12, Series of 2018.

“MC 12-2018 requires licensed manning and recruitment agencies to strictly monitor the status and conditions of deployed OFWs onsite and seafarers on-board and submit corresponding quarterly reports,” the POEA said.

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