MANILA – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said that the recruitment agency of an OFW who was reportedly starved by her Singaporean employers could possibly have their liability in this case.
The POEA, headed by chief Hans Cacdac, said that investigations were already initiated to Singaporean couples who starved their Filipina household service worker Thelma Gawidan. The government agency is gathering information from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and the Philippine Embassy in Singapore.
The POEA dares Thelma’s recruitment agency to tell them the kind of assistance they give to the OFW.
If the employers and the recruitment agency will be found guilty, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said that the Department of Labor and Employment and the POEA will immediately impose sanctions.
As a support for Gawidan, Susan Ople, head of Blas Ople Policy Center, said that POEA should do something to stop her employers in hiring other OFWs.
“The local legal channels should assure the support that Thelma is getting to win her case. Second, the Singaporean couple should be declared as persona non grata, and should barred them from recruiting any Filipino worker,” Ople said.
Once the investigation showed that Gawidan’s employers really maltreated her, the Singaporean couple, according to Cacdac, will be barred from hiring other OFWs, and assures the public that the Philippine government will coordinate with Singaporean officials in protecting the welfare of Filipino HSWs.
Ople added that the Philippine and foreign government should be stricter in screening foreign employers seeking for Filipino workers and proposed that the Bureau of Immigration together with the POEA, should be informed immediately if there are cases of maltreatment, abuse, and enslaving Filipino workers, and ban the perpetrators from entering the country.