Jinggoy warns vs ‘Dummy’ recruiting firms duping OFWs

(JOURNAL NEWS) SENATOR Jose Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, rang the alarm bells on alleged “dummy” Filipino owners of placement agencies recruiting land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Estrada called out officials of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on the matter in the wake of the recent case of slain OFW Jullebee Ranara and the cancellation of the recruitment license of her local recruitment agency.

During Wednesday’s Senate hearing on Ranara’s case, Estrada said his office received information on alleged foreign ownership of placement agencies, a matter that is prohibited in the licensing and regulation rules of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Labor Code of the Philippines.

“It might be tedious for this committee to summon all the recruitment agencies’ incorporators or the board of directors. Let’s just request the DMW to scrutinize the recruitment agencies, whether the proprietors of these recruitment agencies have the financial capability to run its operations,” Estrada said.

Based on the information he received, Estrada said it’s common knowledge in the industry that some Filipinos are posing as “dummy” incorporators of some recruitment or placement agencies deploying OFWs.

The senator expressed concern that some of these foreign-owned recruitment agencies are responsible for the deployment of distressed OFWs, as in the case of Ranara, who was the subject of his privilege speech last January 24.

Under the Labor Code, only Filipino citizens, as sole proprietors, can secure licenses to operate placement agencies with a minimum capitalization of P5 million.

DMW officials told senators that once recruitment agencies’ licenses are revoked or canceled due to various violations, all of its officers, board of directors, and incorporators are placed on a derogatory list and are disqualified from participating or operating in any other recruitment activities.

Ranara was burned and found dead in Kuwait desert on January 21, and the suspect behind her killing is the 17-year-old son of her employer.

Initial investigation conducted by the DMW showed that Ranara’s local and foreign recruitment agencies failed to comply with the mandatory monitoring requirements to ensure the well-being of their deployed workers.