JOSEPH LARIOSA, GMA News 05/30/2011
CHICAGO – The licenses of a Philippine-based recruiter and its United States-based partner were cancelled by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for allegedly overcharging 35 Filipinos teachers in Louisiana.
According to a 56-page order issued by POEA Administrator Carlos S. Cao Jr. in Mandaluyong City in the Philippines on May 9, the licenses of recruiter PARS International Placement, and its partner Universal Placement International (UPI), Inc., were cancelled.
The order also stated that Emilio Villarba, Lorna Villasenor and Divina Villarba — all from PARS — and Lourdes Navarro of UPI, will be included in the “List of Persons with Derogatory Records.”
PARS was disqualified from engaging in the business of recruitment of overseas Filipino workers.
UPI was listed in the list of foreign principals/employers disqualified from participating in the overseas employment program of the Administration.
There were civil fines of approximately P280,000 (US$6,222.22) imposed against PARS.
GMA News Online has requested Navarro for comment but she has yet to respond to the request.
The order came after Filipino teachers filed their complaints separately before the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Washington, D.C. and the Philippine Consul General’s office in Chicago, Illinois two years ago.
The teachers claimed that two months salary was collected from them in placement fees instead of only one-month salary.
Three Filipino teachers filed their complaints before POLO’s Welfare Officer, Alberto Adonis Duero.
Two other teachers filed their complaints before then Consul General Blesila Cabrera in Chicago. One of them included 27 others as fellow complainants.
As only 10 of the 35 Filipino teachers documented their complaints before the POEA, they were the only ones whose “excess placement fees” will be refunded by the “respondent agency and its covering surety.”
Some of the complaints of the other Filipino teachers were dismissed “without prejudice.”
This means they can revive their cases if they come up with documentary evidence to support their complaints.
The POEA ordered PARS to pay a refund of “placement fees” to the following teachers:
1. Kristine Nina S. Barcelona US $4,583.33;
2. Edlor P. Sapalaran US$7,169.33;
3. Jan Theresa Marie S. Pineda US$5,709.33;
4. Almario L. Cruz, Jr. US$6,309.33;
5. Rodolfo N. Sangellli US$6,309.33;
6. Mairi Mahal N. Tanedo US$6,412.33;
7. Geralyn Dela Torre Bacus US$6,012.33;
8. Grace A. Arinque US$6,212.33;
9. Maria Karen G. Banga US$6,012.33;
10. Marissa D. Padlan US$6,909.33.
The POEA said UPI violated the POEA rules and is liable for: (1) gross violation of laws, rules and regulations on overseas employment and (2) grave misconduct.
The POEA found PARS liable for:
(1) Charging or accepting directly or indirectly any amount greater than that specified in the schedule of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary, or making a worker pay any amount greater than that actually received by him as a loan or advance.
(2) Collecting any fee from a worker without issuing the appropriate receipt clearly showing the amount paid and the purpose for which payment was made.
(3) Engaging in acts of misrepresentation in connection with recruitment and placement of workers, such as furnishing or publishing any false notice, information or document in relation to recruitment or employment. – VVP, GMA News