By Samuel Medenilla
Fewer overseas Filipinos workers (OFW) may soon be allowed to work abroad as direct hires under the new proposed policy of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
The POEA Governing Board (GB) is now conducting a study on the possibility of preventing the Labor secretary from exempting OFWs from the country’s existing ban on the deployment of direct hires, based on his or her discretion.
In an interview, Labor Secretary and POEA GB chair Silvestre Bello III said he supports the proposal since it would ensure the welfare of direct hires.
Under POEA regulations, applicants can only be exempted from the ban on direct hires if they will work for the following employers: members of the diplomatic corps; international organizations; heads of state and government officials with a rank of at least deputy minister; and employers allowed by the Labor secretary through his or her discretion.
Bello admitted he does not approve of his discretionary power for direct hires since most applicants, who avail of it end up working for their relatives abroad.
“I do not want to encourage this because working for their relatives will guarantee they will not be abused,” Bello said.
Bello issued the statement amid the reported increase in the number of aspiring OFWs, whose processing in his office has been delayed.