OFWs decry recruitment-lending agency scheme

my latest article for POC.

Unlike typical balikbayans, Jimmy Gamo, a Filipino bus driver at Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO), did not go straight home upon arriving at the airport. On July 18, he and 16 of his co-workers went straight to the office of Migrante International in Quezon City to consult with lawyers and overseas Filipino worker (OFW) advocates. Gamo and his companions belong to the second batch of OFWs repatriated from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

On April 29, 189 SAPTCO bus drivers filed a complaint before the Philippine Embassy Overseas Labor Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO-OWWA) in the KSA against their recruitment agency PERT/CPM and four lending agencies, namely, Westwing Lending & Investment Corporation, PJH Lending Corporation, Nittan Capital Finance, Inc. and RJJ Lacaba Financing Corporation.

Their grievances include overcharging of placement fees, loans with onerous rates, collection of fees without issuance of receipts, false information on employment and compensation and the harassment of their families by the lending agencies.

The first batch of SAPTCO bus drivers were able to attend the first hearing called upon by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) last June 22. The POEA awarded 45 of the OFWs three case numbers for their administrative complaints. There are still no updates on the cases as of press time.

read full story here.

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