To protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), at least 28 land- and sea-based recruitment agencies adopted Codes of Ethics, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
“We welcome this move from the overseas employment sector and we commend them for their commitment to safeguard the interest, not only of their industry, but also of our overseas Filipino workers,” Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in a news release.
The 23 land-based recruitment agencies' associations and five sea-based manning agency groups signed their codes last Migrant Workers’ Day in June.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Hans Leo Cacdac said the land-based group pledged to observe what is best for the workers, the sector they represent, and their stakeholders.
Cacdac said the group also promised to uphold the highest principle of ethics and integrity.
He added that the manning sector stressed its adherence to the rule of law and committed to maintain the dignity and good reputation of the Philippine manning industry.
“The land-based groups’ Commitment to Ethical Conduct and Best Recruitment Practices put into writing their assurance to comply with all legal requirements, including local laws, and those of host countries as well as international standards,” the Labor department said.
By signing the Code, the recruiting agencies promised a full disclosure of all matters pertaining to the employment of the worker and non-discrimination of applicants because of political affiliation, religion, ethnicity, nationality, and gender, especially for household services workers.
The agencies likewise vowed to support the skills development of their recruits.
The land-based agencies seek to:
- Make the process of seeking overseas employment cost-effective;
- Eliminate the collection of placement fees;
- Comply with regulations on the recruitment of workers;
- Work actively with government agencies in addressing overseas employment issues, and
- Stop predatory recruitment.
By signing the Code, recruitment agencies seek to spare sea-based workers from “unlawful, dishonest, immoral, deceitful and predatory” conduct of recruitment.
The Code sought to prevent opportunities for exploitation of seafarers.
The other salient features of the Code include:
- The publication of all the cost that will be shouldered by the seafarers;
- Negotiating for the best terms and conditions of employment for the seafarers;
- Avoiding anything that may unjustifiably jeopardize seafarer’s current work or future work opportunities;
- Safeguarding the seafarer’s information, and
- Actively helping the cause of the seafarers.
The recruitment agencies
The land-based groups that signed the Code were:
1. Associated Accredited Agencies for Cyprus
2. Association for Professionalism in the Overseas Employment Inc.
3. Association of Licensed Recruitment Agencies for Singapore Inc.
4. Association of Manpower Agencies for Bahrain
5. Association of Philippine Licensed Agencies for Technical Internship Program
6. Coalition of Licensed Recruitment Agencies for Domestic and Service Workers
7. Philippine Association of Agencies for Kuwait
8. Federated Associations of Manpower Exporters, Inc.
9. Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines
10.Philippine Association of Agencies Accredited to Oman
11.Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies Deploying to Lebanon
12.Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for Jordan
13.Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for Malaysia Affiliates, Inc.
14.Association of Service Contractors of the Philippines
15.Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for Northern America
16.Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for the United Arab Emirates
17.Philippine Association of Recruitment Agencies Deploying Artist, Inc.
18.Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc.
19.Pilipino Manpower Agencies for Taiwan
20.Philippine Recruitment Agencies Accredited to Saudi Arabia
21.Philippine Recruitment Agencies for Qatar
22.United Manpower Agencies for Israel Association, Inc.
23.Overseas Placement Association of the Philippines
Representing the five maritime associations in signing the Code were:
1. Filipino Association for Mariners’ Employment, Inc.
2. Filipino Shipowners’ Association, Inc.
3. International Maritime Association of the Philippines
4. Philippine Association of Manning Agencies and Shipmanagers, Inc.
5. Philippine-Japan Manning Consultative
“The Joint Manning Group (JMG) manifested its adherence to the rules of law and to continue the development of the industry under a relationship of mutual respect, trustworthiness, and true brotherhood,” DOLE said.
DOLE Undersecretary Lourdes Trasmonte, Cacdac, and Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administrator Carmelita Dimzon signed the Codes as witnesses. - VVP, GMA News