The Philippines’ Department of Labour and Employment (DoLE) has appointed a lawyer, who is for 22 years in the government service, as the seventh labour attache for approximately 400,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
The new posting of Atty. Delmer Cruz at the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (Polo) in Dubai, which is attached to the Philippine Consulate general, is his third foreign assignment.
He was the labour attache for the 300,000 OFWs in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia in 2004 and for the 45,000 OFWs and Filipino migrants in Seoul, South Korea, where he was cross-posted from 2007 to 2010.
“I do not find it difficult to adjust here because all GCC countries have similar policies and programmes relating to foreign employment,” Delmar told The Gulf Today on Tuesday.
He represented the DoLE when the Aquino administration sent him twice to Syria in 2011, its four-party Rapid Response Team – the other agencies being the Department of National Defence, the Philippine National Police under the Department of Interior and Local government, and the Department of Foreign Affairs not only to encourage documented and undocumented OFWs to avail of Manila’s all expenses paid voluntary repatriation, but also negotiated with the employers for their release.
Delmar said a substantial number of OFWs in Syria had been repatriated.
Yet, the flow of the undocumented to the strife-torn country remains unabated due to human trafficking primarily through illegal recruitment.
Hence, when asked about Filipinos becoming victims of the transnational crime, he suggested for more intensified information campaign on the need for his countrymen to go through the legitimate means of overseas employment.
The special assistant to the DoLE-Undersecretary for Employment from 2010 until his Dubai posting expressed hope for all Filipinos to realise that all measures undertaken by Manila in overseas employment are for their protection and welfare.
Delmar believes ignorance and adventurism are the reasons why Filipinos seeking greener pastures oftentimes fall prey to glib-tongue or sweet-talking illegal recruiters who may also be their relatives.
He said: “If they have time to Facebook, they should also have the time to double check on the Internet or through our website whether their (foreign and Philippine) recruiters are authorised.”
“The end does not justify the means,” Delmar added.
He pointed out: “Government has to manage overseas migration and employment since its players have not fully matured and so proper and legal ways are put in place so that Filipinos interested in working abroad are protected. These are not to inconvenience or make things difficult for them.”
Delmar stressed that overseas employment is not the goal of Manila.
But since the government is still unable to provide for all the employment needs of its people, amid encouragements made for local and foreign investments in the Philippines, all the over 10 Polos worldwide are tasked with research on possible markets for skilled and professional Filipinos.
The labour official arrived in Dubai two weeks back and among his priorities is to fine tune and expedite the services at the Polo, as well as to fast track the repatriation of the distressed women wards at Filipino Workers Resource Centre.