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POEA denies report agencies with cancelled licenses still in business

Explaining to Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz the genesis of the Commission on Audit report that says the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is lenient insofar as recruitment agencies with cancelled licenses are concerned, Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac yesterday defended his agency by saying the report which found its way in the media is untrue and wholly inaccurate.

“The news writer appeared to have confused the concept of extension of provisional license and the continued operation of suspended/cancelled licensed agencies,” said Cacdac.

As to the first, Cacdac said the COA knew since August 2014 that he had explained, verbally and in writing, during a conference with the audit body that the POEA administrator has the authority to extend provisional licenses, in cases when the recruiter has no adverse cases and when there is reasonable explanation as to why the 100 persons deployment requirement was not achieved.

“This very plain and clear under R.A. 10022 and the POEA rules and regulations,” Cadac said.

On the issue of continued operations of cancelled/suspended/delisted agencies, the POEA chief said he had, likewise, explained this in writing to the COA during the conference.

“We are not sitting doing nothing at the POEA,” Cacdac said. “We are doing something—bigger and more effective—for we have, in 2013, cancelled the licenses of 64 erring licensed recruitment agencies, as the COA report had noted,” Cacdac said.

“We take exception to the misleading media reprot—that the POEA did not do its job—because precisely the suspensions/delisting/cancellations were POEA actions. The matter on implementation of such orders, as mentioned, is already the subject of surveillance operations of the POEA’s Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch with defined targets,” he added.

He further said the cancellations were a result of the AIR-Recruitment Operations Surveillance Division’s surveillance of 290 establishments, which number is 25 percent higher than the 232 licensed agencies surveilled in 2012.

Cacdac reported to Secretary Baldoz that seven of the 11 recruitment agencies mentioned in the media, namely, Global Hospitality Placement Agency; I Employ Manpower Services; Orion Site Medlink International; Quaestus International Placement; Access Africa Human Resources; HRHA Manpower International; and A & S Manpower Resources have their licenses still valid, and are expiring on various dates between 2015 and 2018.

The remaining four, however, have their licenses cancelled. These are ETT Innovative Manpower Solutions and Human Resources Overseas Employment Agency (delisted on 29 April 2014); Mclaine Management Consultancy Group (cancelled on 23 December 2013); and Al-Ahram International Group Services (cancelled 25 July 2014).

“The POEA AIR-OSD had conducted surveillance of these agencies and found all the four closed. And even if these are “open” somewhere, we assure the public that the POEA did not process any workers for deployment under the names of these agencies,” he said.

Cacdac said recruitment agencies that continue to operate even with their licenses cancelled should be better wary and warned because the POEA has padlocked 31 agencies since 2012 for illegal recruitment activities.

“We are currently working with the COA towards building a case to be filed with the DOJ. The general finding of the COA that cancelled agencies were “accepting applicants” needs to be strengthened to withstand scrutiny at the DOJ level,” Cacdac said.

“We are also working with the COA so that they could join our surveillance operations under observer status. Initially, it wanted authority from the POEA to conduct inspections, but the POEA could not delegate such an authority,” he finally said.

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