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POEA revamp looms

A revamp in the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration is forthcoming to weed out personnel allegedly involved in extorting directly hired Filipino workers.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III has announced that the reorganization in the POEA will be made once he returns to Manila from the peace negotiations with the communist rebels in the Netherlands.

Apart from his Labor portfolio in the Cabinet, Bello serves as chairman of the government panel set to hold talks in the next few days.

“Pagbalik ko, iyan ang una kong atupagin. I will revamp the organizational structure of POEA,” Bello said in a Malacañang news conference.

“Babalasahin ko ‘yang mga nangongotong doon. I already have names kung sino ‘yung mga nangongotong,” he said.
Bello said he has ordered an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the POEA direct hiring requirements that prey on Filipinos aspiring to work abroad.

He said some workers were compelled to pay money in exchange for the faster processing of their overseas employment certificate despite lacking qualifications.

“Marami akong naririnig na gawain doon sa POEA na kahit hindi ka qualify ‘pag nangotong ka, nagbigay ka ng such amount, ilalagay nila ang pangalan mo doon kahit alam nila na madi-disqualify ka dahil you do not fall under the exemptions where you are allowed direct hiring,” he said.

He said many Filipino applicants have complained to him about failing to get their work documents despite payment of money to erring POEA personnel. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)