Dole asked to scrap contract substitution

WORRIED over the swelling number of contract substitution cases victimizing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East, an alliance of OFW rights group yesterday called on the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) and its overseas labor offices to address the issue.

“Contract substitution has been a recurring problem encountered by OFWs especially those deployed in the Middle East. We wonder why until now the Labor Department and its Overseas Labor offices could not solve this,” asked John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said contract substitution occurs when the deployed OFW upon arrival to the job site will be forced to sign a new contract by his or her employer with different terms and conditions from the originally signed contract that was facilitated by the local recruitment agency in the Philippines.

“On our records of cases, five out of the average eight cases recorded daily are about contract substitution and violation consciously committed by the employers,” he added.

Monterona said an OFW will feel bad if at the end of the month he would receive a lower salary compared to what is stipulated on the original contract he has signed.

“Aside from a lowered the salary, OFWs victim of contract substitution normally complaints of non-payment of overtime work, no medicare or health card which is to be provided by the employer, some complained of unexplained salary deductions, among others,” he added.

Monterona cited the recently reported case of the 84 OFWs who are working as cleaners in the United Arab Emirates after their employer abandoned them without food and water.

“The case of 84 Pinay cleaners in the UAE is in addition to the already long lists of contract violations we have monitored numbering to little less than 3,000 already from January to September of this year alone, aside from the lists of cases from previous years which some are not yet resolved,” Monterona claimed.

Monterona further said there is something wrong in the system of the deployment of OFWs from processing the required formalities between the recruitment agencies and the POEA and the Philippine overseas Labor office (POLO) that approved the job orders to actual deployment of OFWs.  D’Jay Lazaro

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