DOLE allays fears of foreign workers’ invasion
from February 4, 2014 05:00 pm to February 4, 2014 05:00 pm
By Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 4, 2014 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday allayed fears of the possible invasion of foreign workers in the country due to the impending ASEAN economic integration.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the DOLE and other concerned government agencies have been exerting efforts to weed out illegal foreign workers in the country, contrary to the allegation of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) that the government cannot control the entry of foreign workers.
She also noted that reports about illegal foreign workers in the local construction sector were investigated by the DOLE’s regional offices, particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon and Calabarzon, as early as September 2013.
“In fact, DOLE Regional Office 4-A director Zenaida Angara-Campita found out that 13 Chinese have been working for a large construction company in Batangas without AEP (alien employment permit) and she ordered the company employing those Chinese workers to comply with the requirement,” Baldoz said.
The DOLE chief also said that in Central Luzon, 10 Chinese workers are awaiting deportation after they were found to have no AEP.
“The BI (Bureau of Immigration) is also conducting investigation of 70 Chinese workers said to be hired by a company called Scitel Customer Care Phils., Inc. who were issued visas but allegedly there were misrepresentation of information in their application,” she added.
Baldoz made the statement after the TUCP expressed concern that the presence of Chinese in construction projects in several regions could be an indication of the looming invasion of foreign workers in the country.
The labor group also said concerned government agencies appeared incapable of controlling the entry of foreign workers and the situation could worsen when the ASEAN economic integration takes effect next year.
But Baldoz maintained that the Philippine Overseas Construction Board (POCB) even commended the DOLE last year for strictly checking the working permits of foreign workers in local construction projects.
“The POCB has learned from foreign contractors, who are also working in projects they are involved with, that they are now more cautious in employing foreign workers and now ensure compliance with the requirements of Philippine laws, particularly the alien employment permit,” she quoted POCB chairman Isidro Consunji as saying.
The DOLE chief called on the TUCP to help government efforts in controlling illegal entry of foreign workers by filing formal opposition to alien employment applications which they deem are not qualified.
“Applications for the issuance of alien employment permits are published in newspapers of general circulation. Anyone who opposes the issuance of an AEP to a foreign-applicant can file an opposition with our regional offices,” Baldoz said.
“I hope the TUCP and all stakeholders will file their opposition, if they have concerns, to help the government weed out illegal foreign workers in the country,” she added
The publication of an AEP application is a labor market test requirement of the Labor Code with the aim of letting the public know that a company is hiring a foreigner with a particular skill which may not be available locally.
Under the AEP guidelines, representatives of DOLE regional directors may conduct ocular inspection to verify legitimacy of employment of a foreign national and a verification inspection of the establishment employing foreigners within 30 days after issuance of the AEP.