Filipino women intending to work as domestic helpers in Singapore were warned Saturday against dubious travel agency operators moonlighting as employment agents.
An advisory issued by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) based on the report of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Singapore said 99 percent of Filipino domestic helpers who escaped from their employers had been deployed by travel agents without valid overseas employment documents issued by the POEA.
“Applicants should really be wary of these travel agencies sending domestic helpers to Singapore,’’ said POEA administrator Jennifer Manalili.
“They should use the legal process of overseas employment and not rely on the services of travel agency operators who are moonlighting as employment agents,’’ she added.
Citing Philippine labor attaché to Singapore, Rodolfo Subalao, Manalili said a syndicate composed of certain travel agencies in the Philippines is behind the illegal recruitment scheme in connivance with placement agencies in Singapore that are not accredited by the Philippine embassy.
According to her, the scammers usually ask applicants to initially sign a one-page contract indicating their salaries ranging from $250 to $350 per month with no day off.
Once the papers are processed and workers are already in the jobsite, Manalili said the workers are only paid $20 per month as subsistence allowance since the Singapore agency has to deduct from their salary the placement fee equivalent to seven months salary.
By SHIANEE MAMANGLU
May 8, 2010, 4:00pm