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Home Sections Education & Technology PH, US Recruiters’ Licenses Cancelled, Ordered to Refund OFWs’ Placement Fees
PH, US Recruiters’ Licenses Cancelled, Ordered to Refund OFWs’ Placement Fees PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 30 May 2011 15:01

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2011 Journal Group Link International)

 

C HICAGO (jGLi) – The licenses of a Philippine-based recruiter, PARS International Placement, and its U.S.-based partner, Universal Placement International (UPI), Inc., were cancelled by the adjudication office of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) of the Department of Labor and Employment for allegedly overcharging 35 Filipinos recruited as teachers in Louisiana of two months instead of one-month salary in placement fees.

 

The 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. Three Filipino teachers filed their complaints before POLO’s Welfare Officer, Alberto Adonis C. Duero while two others, one of them included 27 others as fellow complainants, were filed before then Consul General Blesila C. Cabrera in Chicago.

 

Also included in a 56-page order issued by POEA Administrator Carlos S. Cao, Jr., in Mandaluyong City in the Philippines on May 9, 2011, was inclusion of the names of Emilio Villarba, Lorna Villasenor and Divina Villarba all of PARS and Lourdes Navarro of UPI into the  “List of Persons with Derogatory Records.”

 

Ms. Navarro and UPI are one and the same recruiter and Los Angeles, California-based recruiting agency ordered early this month by a Baton Rouge civil district court in Louisiana to pay an “estimated $1.8 million in illegally charged placement fees, as well as $500 fine and $7,500 in attorneys’ fees” from 200 Filipino teachers she recruited to Louisiana.

 

Because only ten of the 35 Filipino teachers were able to document their complaints before the POEA, they were the only once 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 always revive their cases if they are able to come up with their documentary evidence in their complaints.

 

Dan McNeil of the American Federation of Teachers who prosecuted UPI and Navarro before the Louisiana Workforce Commission tipped this reporter of the POEA decision.

 

The POEA found Universal 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.


PARS is disqualified to engage in the business of recruitment of Overseas-Filipino workers. Universal is listed in the list of foreign principals/employers disqualified from participating in the overseas employment program of the Administration.


There were civil fines of PHP280,000 (US$6,222.22) imposed against
PARS.

 

The POEA ordered PARS to pay a refund of “placement fees” as follows:

 

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.

 

When reached for comment, Ms. Navarro requested a copy of the POEA decision from this reporter, instead of her lawyer. Two days after receiving the copy of the decision, Navarro has yet to make a comment.

 

On Oct. 28, 2009, the POEA wrote POLO in Washington, D.C., and Consul General Cabrera for “assistance to secure written statements of the workers.”

 

On Nov. 19, 2009, the POEA issued an order of preventive suspension against PARS and UPI based on the endorsements of Consul General Cabrera and Mr. Duero.

 

One of the complainants, Kristine Nina S. Barcelona, said that sometime in 2008, she heard from fellow teachers PARS was hiring teachers for the U.S. She applied and was interviewed in March 2008 at Manila Hotel. After she passed the interview, Lulu Navarro asked for $1,000 from her and other teachers as “marketing fee"; PARS asked her to pay up $595 in April 2008 for “Certificate of Eligibility”; $3,920 for visa processing and lawyers fees; PHP2,500 (US$55) for classroom management seminar; $2,000 for employment visa processing and related fees; $8,000 for her two months salary as placement fee she obtained by securing a loan from AG Finance.

 

When she arrived in East Baton Rouge on June 4, 2009. Contrary to the job promised her and other teachers, they have to attend a job fair in East Baton Rouge. “[B]ut (there was) no assurance of a job.” # # #

 

Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at: (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 

 



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Last Updated on Monday, 30 May 2011 15:23
 

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