MANILA—A recruitment consultant urged the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to investigate the deployment of the 13 OFWs who perished in a hotel fire recently and file appropriate charges against the persons or entities responsible for their illegal deployment to Kurdistan as massage therapists.
Emmanuel Geslani a recruitment expert on Iraq and Afghanistan said Thursday that deployment of new hires had been banned to the Kurdistan Autonomous Region (KAR) of Iraq since June of 2014 and how did the 4 fatalities who were Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) registered members ended up working in Kurdistan despite the existing ban imposed since 2014.
OWWA will give financial benefits amounting to Php 220,000 in the form of death benefit and funeral assistance. It is unlikely that the mandatory insurance worth USD 15,000 USD for accidental death for the four will be given since their deployment to Kurdistan was may have been a violation of their original contract with the deploying agency.
The POEA should name the erring recruitment agency who facilitated the deployment of the four OFWS and immediately cancel the license of said agency for violating existing rules that ban the employment of OFWs in areas prohibited by the POEA aside from other provisions of R.A. 8042 as amended by R.A. 10022 on Sec. 6 of illegal recruitment provisions.
Geslani also urged IACAT to look for the illegal recruiters who convinced the nine other OFWs who perished to work in Kurdistan as massage therapists despite the existing ban on deployment to KAR. The nine OFWs are not entitled to any benefits from OWWA and the families are begging the DFA to request the Kurdistani employer to give more financial assistance to the bereaved families.
There are more than 1,500 documented OFWs working in Kurdistan and about 500 working there as undocumented OFWs. Most of the OFWs work in hotels, restaurants, department stores, housekeepers, telecoms and in the oil industry.