OFWs in Hong Kong. Image courtesy of soloflighted.com
OFWs in Hong Kong. Image by soloflighted.com

HONG KONG–“It is a conspiracy to profit extensively from the OFWs already reeling from wage erosion, debt repayment, skyrocketing prices of goods and services.”


This was declared today by Dolores Balladares, chairperson of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-Migrante HK) following reports of a covenant between the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines (SHARP, Inc.) for the latter to handle the personality development training program for departing household services workers (HSWs).


“The DOLE is obviously going out of its way to smooth the feathers of Philippine-based recruiters following its profit war with HK-based recruiters by ensuring that these recruiters collect more dubious and useless training fees from OFWs,” she remarked.


Balladares said that the said training scheme is similar to the public-private partnership scheme of the government in other sectors of the economy.


“Public Private Partnership (PPP) of the Aquino government is a collusion of the government and private businesses to reap profits without regard to people’s welfare. Similarly, the personality development training is a way for private recruiters to profit repeatedly from fees and for the government to market further Filipino labour overseas. Under such scheme, OFWs are left at the losing end,” she remarked.


DOLE and SHARP are toeing the same strategies of the past administrations that trainings can improve the marketability of Filipinos searching for work abroad such as Arroyo’s “Supermaids” program, according to her.


“Instead of personality development training, DOLE and SHARP should address the urgent needs of OFWs for their protection and welfare, such as on-site services for those whose employment contracts are prematurely terminated, prosecution of illegal recruiters and relief from excessive collection of government fees and illegal exaction of private employment agencies,” Balladares stressed.


UNIFIL-Migrante HK believes that providing option on direct hiring of Filipinos will spare HSWs from exploitation of recruitment agencies.


“We vow to monitor the 52 recruitment agencies under SHARP and unmask their schemes if they continue their collection of illegal and excessive fees, and we will continue to expose DOLE’s failure to stop these illegal activities victimizing our OFWs, ” said Balladares. (PR)