DOLE, Migrante hit recruiter’s claim

Published by rudy Date posted on May 25, 2011

FOR once, the Department of Labor and Employment and Migrante, an organization of migrant Filipino workers, shared the same stand in disputing the claim of recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani who claimed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could start ditching both domestic and skilled Filipino workers after local labor officials rejected the request of Saudi employers that the mandated minimum wage for housemaids be cut by half.

In a statement, DOLE acting Secretary Lourdes Trasmonte called Geslani’s claim made last Sunday a “misreading of the real situation.”

Geslani warned of the possibility of more job losses for OFWs on top of the current freeze on hiring of housemaids for KSA because both DOLE and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration insist on a minimum wage of $400 for housemaids.

“The claim of some recruitment industry leaders that Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia may lose their jobs on account of the government remaining firm on its stand for better welfare and protection of household service workers is totally without basis,” said Trasmonte. “Saudi Arabia and the Philippines continue to take positive steps pertaining to OFWs. And these positive steps will further strengthen the prospects of OFWs getting employed in Saudi Arabia on one hand and provide them better welfare and protection on the other hand.”

Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona was prompter in attacking Geslani, saying the latter is expected to make such claims as he is part of the recruitment industry which “simply does not care” about deployed OFWs.

Monterona said it was unfortunate that Geslani chose to side with Saudi employers instead of giving more weight to OFW protection and welfare. “Clearly, Mr. Geslani is expert in peddling our workers cheap(ly) in the labor market, but not (in the) protection of our deployed workers amid the numerous abuses… victimizing OFWs in Saudi Arabia and in the Middle East,” Monterona said.

He said the government should now reconsider the use of recruitment agencies in deploying OFWs because of Geslani’s stand. “Both countries must seriously consider a government-to-government deal on the deployment of OFW-domestic workers, instead of deregulating the hiring by allowing the entry of recruitment agents,” he said. – Gerard M. Naval, Malaya

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