Pagprenda ng passport sa recruitment agencies bawal na

TATAPUSIN na ng Senado ang paghihirap ng maraming Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) kabilang ang mga seaman sa panggigipit ng ilang recruitment agencies sa pagkumpiska sa kanilang pasaporte upang makakuha ng job orders sa abroad kapalit ng anumang halaga.

Nitong Lunes, inihain ni Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III ang panukalang batas upang gawin kasong criminal at parusahan ang sinuman na illegal na magtatago o magkukumpiska ng anumang uri ng identification na ibinigay ng gobyerno kabilang ang pasaporte.

“There have been cases where government-issued Ids were confiscated by certain individuals for purposes of payment, compliance, regulation, or punishment. A number of our Overseas Filipino Workers had their passports or travel documents retained, confiscated or withheld by some recruitment agencies of employers to coerce them to pay the latter sums of money,” ayon kay Pimentel.

“It is thus, imperative to criminalize the illegal retention, confiscation, and/or withholding of government-issued identification cards, passports or travel documents not only to protect our Overseas Filipino Workers but all other possible victims of this form of coercion,” dagdag ni Pimentel.

Sa ilalim ng Senate Bill NO. 3119 na may petsang February 13, 2012, nais ni Pimentel na amendahan ang Section 288 ng Revised Penal Code na isasama sa ikalawang paragraph ng naturang batas ang mga sumusunod:

“Illegal retention of government issued identification – the penalty of prison correctional in its minimum period and a fine of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000) shall be imposed upon any person, agent, or officer of any association, corporation or government office who shall confiscate, retain, or withhold any government issued identification such as but not limited to drivers’ licenses, Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) Cards, employment Ids, passports, and the like, for the purpose or with the intention of forcing or compelling the owners thereof, directly or indirectly, to pay the former certain sums or money under any circumstances,” ayon kay Pimentel.

Magkakabisa ang batas labing limang araw matapos makumpleto ang publikasyon sa Official Gazette o anumang pahayagan na may pambansang sirkulasyon.

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