Migrante International insisted the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) today to finally decide on the permanent banning of deployment to Annasban company and cancellation of licenses of its "partner"recruitment agencies – Placewell International, Saveway International, Global Jobsearch and UPPI.
"We have already gone through all the processes and requirements for the POEA to once and for all act in favor of the Annasban workers and their families. All the bases have been laid down. All they need to do is decide and come up with a ruling and order to ban the company and the involved recruitment agencies, and push OWWA to release funds for the immediate repatriation of the OFWs," said Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante.
According to Migrante, the former employees of Annasban who were repatriated earlier this year are now on the third hearing of their filed administrative cases in POEA. The workers attended the hearings religiously – came on time and presented evidences to back their claims. The recruitment agencies on the other hand did not send representatives or failed to submit answers as agreed upon in the hearings.
"The workers did their homework while agencies just fooled around. With this conduct, they are making a mockery of the procedure. There is no valid reason for such defaults. At hindi biro para sa mga OFW na gumastos at maglaan ng panahon sa mga ganitong hearing sa gitna ng hikahos na kalagayan. The POEA should seriously take this as an additional reason to immediately punish them," exclaimed Martinez.
Meanwhile, Annasban Company has not yet complied to the repatriation of more than 30 of its workers who went on a work stoppage in protest of gross contract violations. According to Migrante, the POEA Adjudication Office has given Annasban ten days to act but until now, on the final day, the company has not given any response. Failure to do so warrants administrative sanctions.
Earlier this month, Annasban was temporarily disallowed from hiring Filipino workers after it failed to repatriate Marissa Andes, an OFW who ran away from work due to, among others, non-payment of salaries.
According to Migrante, eight workers, all women, recently joined the work stoppage, bringing the total number of protestors to 32. The group also shared that the total number of Annasban workers who have sought their help has already reached to 285. They expect the figures to double this year "if the government will not put an end to sending Filipinos to the vicious business giant."
"The plight and battle of the Annasban workers illustrate the sorry state of the OFWs and the very slow delivery of justice to them. In their own experience they have learned that the solution to their woes will not be achieved alone through the legal battles provided by government institutions. They have learned that the end to the problem of the migrant workers can only be achieved through changing the social order," said Martinez.
Migrante along with the Annasban workers and their families are set to join the labor day rally on Saturday.