The Philippine Embassy in Seoul Commences Its Labor Education Series:

By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, SEOUL

28 March 2021, Seoul. The Philippine Embassy in Seoul through POLO-OWWA kick-started its Labor Education (LabEd) Series with the topic, Illegal Recruitment: Ikaw Ba ay Na-Scam? (Everything you need to know about illegal recruitment) via webinar on 28 March 2021. The LabEd web series or LabEd WebiSerye One aims to mitigate the risk of Filipinos being lured into employment fraud by educating our kababayans with the legal pathways to foreign employment.

The Embassy's Charge d' Affaires (CDA), a.i. Christian L. de Jesus, in his opening remarks, reiterated POEA's warning on online recruitment, 3rd country recruitment, and social media ads which promise high salary abroad. According to CDA de Jesus, reports have reached the Embassy that some OFWs in Korea were promised employment and permanent residency in other countries for a certain fee which later on never came to fruition. "To address this and in line with the Embassy's mandate to protect the worker's rights and promote their welfare, the first LabEd WebiSerye One was organized," CDA de Jesus said.

LabEd WebiSerye One was graced by experts in the Philippine labor migration. Labor Attaches Rachel Zozobrado-Nagayo and Angel L. Borja, Jr. of POLO Toronto and POLO New Zealand, respectively, discussed the legal pathways of employment in the area under their jurisdiction. Both elaborated current labor market needs and the stages of recruitment with the necessary requirements per procedure. Labor Attache Nagayo stressed that placement fee is NOT required for employment in Canada. Moreover, participants were advised to contact POLOs in Toronto or New Zealand though POLO Korea should they have additional queries on recruitment and employment in those countries in the future. Meanwhile, Director Francis Ron C. De Guzman of the POEA's Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch discussed in detail the definition of illegal recruitment and the conditions which fall under it. All the resource speakers encouraged the attendees to be aware and be vigilant of the red flags that scammers exhibit, i.e., fast processing of application, exorbitant fees (more than Php50,000 is already a bad sign), exceedingly high salary, and employment contract not verified by POLO and not approved by POEA. Simply put, Atty. De Guzman phrased it in this question, "Is my employment contract verified by POLO?" If the answer is yes, then it is legal, otherwise, it is fraud.

Since Filipino workers in Korea were hired through the Government-to-Government Employment Permit System, Labor Attache Maria Celeste M. Valderrama encouraged our kababayans here to be in-the-know about agency hiring procedures under POEA. Assistant Labor Attache Teresa Lourdes L. Pimentel facilitated the event.

Based on our kababayan's warm reception of the LabEd WebiSerye's pilot episode, expect the next one to be as interesting and informative. It pays to know. Maging Maalam, NO to Scam! END

05 April 2021