Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Kanlungan re: the call to oust the POEA Administrator

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 unconditionally.

 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 recruitment agencies.

 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 export industry.

 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 hunger.

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 Philippines Website: www.kanlungan.org Email: kanlungan2008@gmail.com

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