The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has closed down an illegal recruitment agency in Ermita, Manila offering non-existent jobs in the Middle East, DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” V. Ople said.
Ople said the Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch (AIRB) of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) padlocked last 29 July 2022 the office of Kharem’s International, an unregistered and unlicensed company posing to hire domestic workers, beauticians, and on-call cleaners for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Middle Eastern countries.
At the same time, the Secretary said six illegal recruiters from Davao City were apprehended by their victims last August 3 and 4 in two locations in Metro Manila. The suspected illegal recruiters promised non-existent overseas jobs to 235 victims. The recruiters were the subject of a complaint coursed through the radio program “Wantedsa Radyo, Raffy Tulfo in Action.” The complainants were referred to the DMW.
“We are serving notice to all illegal recruiters. Layunin ng DMW at ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Marcos Jr. na bigyang proteksyon ang ating mga kababayan na nagnanais magtrabaho sa ibang bansa. There will be no let-up in our campaign against illegal recruiters,” Ople said.
Ople said the DMW had received complaints about Kharem’s International’s bogus job offerings in exchange for placement and other “advance” fees. The operation was conducted with the help of officials of Barangay 668 in Ermita, Manila. Ople said victims of Kharem’s International are advised to contact the POEAs Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch for free legal assistance in the filing of cases.
Meanwhile, Ople said one of the six illegal recruiters from Davao City was apprehended by 109 of her victims at the POEA Building in Mandaluyong City. The victims were there to file a complaint when they spotted and cornered Vegloure Ragotero, one of the alleged sub-agent recruiters, inside the building.
Ragotero is not connected with any licensed recruitment agency nor is authorized to engage in the recruitment of workers abroad. Ople said she has ordered an investigation into Ragotero’s presence in the building.
As an offshoot of Ragotero’s arrest, another batch of 126 victims cornered her cohorts in front of a hotel in Pasay City. They were identified as Zahra Kaharudin, Alma Camasura, Maria Katherine Omambat, Connie Cosmod, and Glodie May Pandian. The suspected illegal recruiters are being held at the detention facility of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Anti-Transnational Crime Unit of the Philippine National Police.
Charges of large-scale illegal recruitment, a non-bailable offense under Republic Act No. 10022, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, are being prepared against them.
Ragotero and her colleagues have been recruiting male applicants as cleaners for Qatar, and female applicants as cleaners and waitresses for Bahrain. They allegedly entice job seekers with a monthly salary of more or less P40,000 in exchange for P25,000 representing supposed placement and processing fees, and plane tickets from Davao to Manila.
Ople urged the public to always verify job offers with the POEA to avoid falling prey to illegal recruitment schemes.