POEA beefs up drive against illegal recruitment in Bicol
by RB Escalante
Legazpi City (24 September) -- "We cannot do this alone. Everyone must help, especially the media, if we want illegal recruiters to stop we must expose their modus operandi," thus stated Administrator Jennifer Jardine Manalili of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in response to DOLE - Bicol's call for a massive Anti-Illegal Recruitment (AIR), Anti-Human Trafficking, and Anti-Child Labor campaign in the region.
Manalili's visit in Bicol early this month signified the start of coordinated moves against illegal recruiters, human traffickers and child labor perpetuators, who are terrorizing the region. The moves, including organization, orientation, training of personnel and MOA signing among DOLE, PESO Officers, OWWA, PNP, DOJ and members of the regional tri-media, on RA 8042 (Anti-Illegal Recruitment Law), RA 9208 (Anti-Human Trafficking Law) and RA 7610 (Anti-Child Labor Law) is the first step in the quest to rid Bicol of these illegal menaces.
"For the past 10-years or so, Bicol was never visited by the POEA until now. Actually we planned this earlier but the administrator's schedule was too tight. Illegal recruitment is present and happening in Bicol but most Bicolanos are not aware of it, so they fall as easy preys." DOLE Bicol Regional Director Atty. Alvin M. Villamor explained.
The 2-day training was held last August 31 to September 1 in a three (3) separate-public venues as a strategy to tickle the curiosity of Bicolanos. The first venue, on August 1, was at Embarcadero Legazpi on the set of "Kapihan Sa Embarcadero" a weekly gathering and open discussion with recent issues and concerns with Legazpi based tri-media.
The second was at People's Hall Albay Capitol Building with the Regional PESO Managers and members of the regional tri-media and the third venue, on September 1, was at Coastal View Resort Sto. Domingo, Albay.
Also, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the first ever Regional Anti-Illegal Recruitment, Anti-Human Trafficking, and Anti-Child Labor Alliance codenamed "Rehas Bicol" was signed with POEA Administrator Manalili as the lead signatory on the first day.
"This MOA will strengthen our alliance and it is only the first step. Our next step will be creating an Inter-Regional Alliance with Regions VI, VII, VIII and IX. We need the cooperation of these other regions because Bicol Region serves as a transit point for trafficked persons coming from them," Villamor stressed.
DOLE and OWWA Bicol took the initiative of inviting POEA Manila to conduct the training after the operation of POEA Bicol and its personnel were suspended due to initial findings of illegalities. (DOLE Bicol/PIA/mal) [top]