Kanlungan re: the call to oust the POEA Administrator We would like to forward our position regarding the move or call to oust the POEA administrator by other well-meaning groups and organizations that continue to protect the interests of women and men migrant workers and families.
1. The POEA has the mandate toregulate private sector participation in recruitment and overseas
placement, maintain a registry of skills and secure the best terms of employment for OFWs. This
mandate cannot be scuttled by the whims of some recruitment agencies.Public office is a public
trust.Transparency in the appointment,recall or removal of any public officers must be honored
2. The legal process as well as the rule of lawshouldbe observed. Private, malicious and illegal
interestsshould not be used to hinder theexercise of the power of the POEA or any government
agencyin performing their duties as public servants. Assuming the current POEA administrator has erred
and violated his obligatory functions,due process must still be strictly observed. Any short cut is
unacceptable and must be stopped. The culture of the “padrino” system should not be allowed to
proliferate in any government offices. We need a government agency that is independent and impartial
or one that refuses to succumb to the dictates of private sector institutions,more specifically the
3. Kanlungan believes that the other key issue here is deregulation. For almost 13 years after the
passage of the Migrant Workers Act R.A 8042,Kanlungan and other allied organizations have
campaigned and pushed for the amendment of Sections 29 and 30 inside the halls of Congress and in
the parliament of the streets.
The two sections were provisions on the deregulation of the recruitment of
migrant workersby private recruitment agencies. We were successful in removing the said
provisions.Hence, government regulation of recruitment agencies must be strictly implemented.
Kanlungan affirms our position against the deregulation of the recruitment component of the labor
The neo-liberal policies like deregulation depriveand undermine the rights of
workers,especially women migrants. The deregulation of any state function or any state instrumentality
is a clear abandonment of the state responsibility to protect the social interests of the general public in
favor of the skewed principles and egregious schemes of private organizations and institutions.
4. The illegal recruitment activities of unscrupulous agencies must be stopped and eradicated.For 26
yearsKanlunganhasbeen campaigning against the proliferation of illegal recruitment and trafficking. We
have noticed that the majority of the perpetrators are licensed recruitment agencies. In fact, some of
them shamelessly operate and victimizewould-be migrant workers, especially young and married
women who are desperately in need of work for the survival of their families wallowing in poverty and
5. The issue at stake here does not only revolve around support to an individual government official or
any government official for that matter;nor the unacceptable and spontaneous call by recruitment
agencies to oust someone they do not approve of. The most important issue here is the assurance that
the most fundamental rights of migrant workers and their families are protected, promoted and
defendedfrom all stages of migration, most especially women migrant workers whose life and dignity is
almost always at risk when whisked away to foreign lands.
The basic rights of migrant workers must never be compromised. This should always be our paramount
concern and commitment to women and men migrant workers and their families.
6. Kanlungan, therefore, calls for structural change in the POEA and the whole labor migration
system-a system in which migrant workers are not treated as commodities but assets in the
building of a truly sovereign nation;a system in which the rights and entitlements of migrant
workers and upheld and fully realized; a system in which support becomes a life-giving force for
women and men migrant workers and families.
7. Kanlungan also believes that the Filipino people do not need an aggressive labor export
policy of the state. What the Filipino people, most especially would-be, on site, returned
women migrant workers and trafficked victims and survivors and their families, demand from
the state is one that does not rely on labor exportation to meet its obligations in relation to
generation of jobs.
What the Filipino people demand from the state is the fulfillment of a
vibrant economy that harnesses the potentials, capacities and resources of the rural and urban
poortowards the betterment of their lives.
The fight against illegal recruitment and human trafficking must continue unabated.
Kanlungan Centre Foundation, Inc.
77 K-10 Street, East Kamias, Quezon City