Crying, Diaz said, “P80,000 binayad namin, P10,000 lang ibabalik nila?” (We paid P80,000 and they are going to return only P10,000?) Most of the OFWs in Taiwan paid P80,000 ($1,647) to P100,000 ($2,059) as placement fee.
The POEA Memorandum Circular No. 9, Series of 1998 states that the placement fee to be collected by the recruitment agency should not exceed the OFW’s salary for one month as stipulated in the employment contract.
Diaz and her co-workers receive salaries equivalent to P22,000 ($453) per month.
“Dapat sila tumutulong sa amin…Bagong bayani raw kami pero kung ituring kami, parang mga hayop,” (They should be helping us – They call us Modern-day heroes but they treat us like animals.) Diaz retorted.
During the meeting with the POEA, the recruitment agencies denied that they overcharged the OFWs. “Walang inisyu sa aming resibo. Kulang pa ba boses namin para patunayan na gano’n kalaki ang ibinayad namin?” (We were not issued receipts. Are our voices not enough to prove that we were charged exorbitant fees?) Diaz said.
To respond to the plight of OFWs, Migrante called for:
1) an independent investigation on mechanisms of different government agencies in handling cases of distressed OFWs;
2) the enactment of a bill providing for the creation of special courts for cases filed by OFWs;
3) a review of RA 8042 and enactment of a genuine OFW charter; and,
4) the setting aside of an appropriation from the national budget for repatriation and legal, financial and medical assistance for OFWs.
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan and Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano expressed support for Migrante’s recommendations, specifically the creation of special courts.
Lawyer Jessice Shuck, representative of the Commission on Human Rights, also welcomed the creation of special courts for cases of OFWs. She said the CHR would consider the proposal in their legislative agenda.
Mariano said that the problems of migration would not end until the country develops a strong economy. He said that genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization will solve the problem of unemployment and underemployment in the country and would make labor migration unnecessary. (Bulatlat.com)