MANILA – Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople on Friday led the closure of a travel consultancy agency in Quezon City for illegal recruitment.
In an interview, Ople said that OVM Visa Assistance and Travel Consultancy located in Barangay Pasong Tamo, Quezon City is offering jobs in Poland and Malta.
However, she clarified that said agency is not listed as a licensed recruitment agency.
Meanwhile, Ople reiterated DMW’s zero-tolerance policy for illegal recruiters and human traffickers.
“Kaya sinasara namin itong travel agency na ito to serve as a warning sa lahat ng mga travel agencies, mga immigration consultancy firms, kung ano pang mga pangalan nung mga bogus na agencies na yan na hindi kami titigil kahit ilan ang ipasara namin, kahit ilan ang kasuhan namin. Zero tolerance ang department pagdating sa illegal recruitment at human trafficking (We are closing this travel agency to serve as a warning to all travel agencies, immigration consultancies firms, whatever the names of these bogus agencies are, that we will not stop no matter how many we close, no matter how many we charge. The department has zero tolerance when it comes to illegal recruitment and human trafficking),” Ople said.
“Kung baga nanglilinlang sila ng mga inosenteng aplikante. 'Yung presyo maski PHP30,000 lang yan, maski PHP1 million yan it’s the fact na hindi sila authorized (They are deceiving innocent applicants. Even if the price is only PHP30,000 or even if it's PHP1 million, it's the fact that they are not authorized),” she added.
Geraldine Mendez, Migrant Workers Protection Bureau (MWPB) Director, said the closure stemmed from a complaint they received at the DMW office.
She said that based on the complainant's statement, applicants were required to pay PHP460,000 as processing fee.
However, they have to immediately pay the amount of PHP60,000 as downpayment and once a visa has been issued, they will have to pay the rest of the amount on a staggered basis until they have paid the total amount.
“Based sa aming surveillance, nakita namin na nagre-recruit siya ng mga workers papuntang Poland at Malta as hotel workers, yung naglilinis o cleaner at nagre-recruit din siya ng mga waiters at waitresses (Based on our surveillance, we saw that they were recruiting workers to Poland and Malta as hotel workers, cleaners, and waiters and waitresses as well),” Mendez said.
With the information on hand, Ople issued the closure order for OVM Visa Assistance and Travel Consultancy.
Charges of illegal recruitment are being readied against Vilma Rosario, the owner of the travel agency, and its employees.
The DMW also recommends the cancellation of the agency’s business permit by the Quezon City local government and for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to cancel its Certificate of Business Name Registration.
“Nananawagan kami sa lahat ng mga nagbayad o dumaan sa OVM Visa assistance and Travel Company to come forward para samahan kami mag-file ng case ng illegal recruitment dahil kung tatlo at mahigit ang biktima, part siya ng economic sabotage na sinasabi at life imprisonment ang katapat doon sa may-ari ng establishment na ito (We are calling on all those who have paid or gone through OVM Visa assistance and Travel Company to come forward and join us in filing a case of illegal recruitment because if there are three or more victims, they are part of economic sabotage which is punishable by life imprisonment),” Ople said.
The DMW-MWPB may be reached through their Hotline: +63 2 8722-1192 or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/airbranch. (PNA)