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PIA Press Release

PGMA orders DOLE to exempt direct-hires by top corporations

Manila (12 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo instructed today Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Arturo Brion to revise Memorandum Circular No. 04 Series of 2007 that bans the deployment of direct-hire overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The President issued the directive during today's National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Cabinet Group meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room in Malacanang.

The Chief Executive specifically instructed Brion to exempt "executive positions of top gear corporations and institutions" from MC No. 04.

She said the Top 500 Fortune (Magazine) Corporations "essentially provide" these benefits and security to the direct-hires in their contracts.

MC No. 04 requires that the deployment of OFWs must go through recruitment agencies and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The DOLE said registration with the POEA gives overseas workers benefits such as insurance and health care, education and training, family welfare services as well as protection and assistance in their place of work.

The Labor Code prohibits an employer from hiring Filipino workers for overseas employment, except through the boards (the POEA) or entities authorized by the Secretary of Labor.

As an exemption to the ban of direct-hires, the POEA was allowed to process the employment contracts of OFWs who were directly hired by members of the diplomatic corps and international organizations.

The President also issued several instructions to concerned government agencies to improve frontline services for OFWs.

These instructions include the following: -- DOLE to scrutinize and review systems in conducting mental exams for OFWS to lessen and eventually eliminate cases of mental disorders in OFWs; -- Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) president Alfonso Cusi to ensure that proper courtesies are extended to all passengers, especially OFWs, by all airport personnel.

The President also instructed the POEA to stop using the Equitable Bank card as identification cards for OFWS and instead use the Social Security System (SSS) card. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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