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With new manual, Baldoz expects POLOs to be more pro-active in handling human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and child labor complaints

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed confidence that the fight against trafficking in persons (TIP), illegal recruitment (IR), and child labor will produce more arrests, more cases filed, and consequently, more convictions, particularly now that the DOLE has very clear step-by-step procedures in the handling of complaints, especially in the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs).

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed confidence that the fight against trafficking in persons (TIP), illegal recruitment (IR), and child labor will produce more arrests, more cases filed, and consequently, more convictions, particularly now that the DOLE has very clear step-by-step procedures in the handling of complaints, especially in the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs).

“We have just issued Department Circular No. 02, Series of 2012, or the Manual of Procedures in Handling Complaints on TIP, IR, and Child Labor, and part of the Manual pertain to the steps that our POLOs shall undertake when a complaint is lodged before them in countries of destination of our OFWs,” said Baldoz, who had directed the Labor Communications Office to use all available media to raise awareness and increase understanding of the contents of the Manual.

Baldoz said the Manual draws heavily from Philippine laws, rules, regulations, procedures, and related issuances that have been promulgated on TIP, IR, and child labor.

“The Manual provides that any establishment or person suspected of or subjected to complaint against trafficking in persons, illegal recruitment, or child labor shall immediately be subjected to surveillance, entrapment, inspection, prosecution, and closure as warranted,” Baldoz explained.

Explaining the procedures that POLOs need to follow, Baldoz said a case officer shall record the case in the POLO logbook or database upon receipt of a complaint and interview the complainant or victim to validate and ensure completeness of information in a complaint form.

The next step is for the case officer or labor Attaché to determine the nature of the case and assistance requested based on the information submitted.

If it is a TIP case, the labor Attaché shall endorse the same to the Assistance to Nationals Unit (ATNU) of the Philippine Embassy. If the TIP also involves employers, foreign recruitment agency, or Philippine recruitment agency, or is an IR case, the labor Attaché shall endorse the same to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in Manila.

In all cases after the endorsement, the case officer or labor Attaché shall file a case for information. For high profile cases, the labor Attaché shall report them to the Secretary of Labor and Employment within 24 hours from receipt of the complaint.

If the complainant or victim requests for shelter at the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Resource Center (MWOFRC), the labor Attaché, case officer, or welfare officer endorses the request for admission and for the provision of free shelter, psycho-social counseling as maybe necessary, reintegration preparedness, social-cultural activities, monitoring of the case’s progress or update, and other benefits under R.A. 10022 and its omnibus rules.

The Manual further provides that when a case is resolved while the complainant or victim is at the post, the labor Attaché, case officer, or welfare officer shall prepare the requisite documents to assist/facilitate his repatriation, brief him on the National Reintegration Program, endorse him to the National Reintegration Center for OFWs in Manila, and assist him at the airport during the repatriation.

The Manual also requires the labor attache, case officer, or welfare officer to prepare and submit monthly report of assistance to TIP and IR victims to the DOLE Secretary.

"The issuance of the manual is in line with the aim enunciated by President Benigno S. Aquino III in his 22-point labor and employment agenda to “fully implement the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and pursue and prosecute those engaging in illegal and predatory activities, including fixers, scammers, and especially traffickers that target women and children,” the labor and employment chief emphasized.

“It also signals the DOLE's commitment in organizing a coordinated action among concerned agencies, including law enforcers and the courts, leading to the identification, arrest, prosecution, and conviction of perpetrators of TIP, IR, and child labor,” Baldoz emphasized.

Any question about this news release? Please link up with the nearest DOLE regional office (for the National Capital Region, through telephone number 400-60-11) or the POEA at hotlines 722-11-44 or 722-11-55.

Source: Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns

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