The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has imposed a ban on deployment of Filipino workers to the Federated States of Micronesia due to mounting complaints of labor abuse by local employers.
The sanction was issued on Aug. 17 and officially released on Tuesday. Prior to the total ban, the POEA on June 15 blacklisted the Chuuk State Hospital "following reports of continuing maltreatment, contract violations, harassment, discrimination and abuse of overseas Filipino workers."
The ban was recommended by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs based on reports from the Philippine Consulate Office in Haganta, which has oversight of Filipinos on Guam, CNMI and FSM.
“The DFA strongly recommends the total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to the Federated States of Micronesia unless it settles the unresolved cases and improves the working condition of OFWs,” the POEA order states.
Consul General Marciano de Borja said he is seeking clarification from the POEA to determine if the deployment ban also applies to Filipino workers who went back to the Philippines on vacation while still on active contracts.
“This has been ongoing since 2015 but despite their promises they have never done anything to correct the situation,” de Borja said.
Most of the labor abuses occurred in Chuuk and Pohnpei, De Borja said. The consulate has stopped issuing certification for FSM-bound Filipino workers since April.
There are 2,000 Filipino workers in FSM.
A source told the Pacific Island Times that some FSM employers directly interviewed and hired Filipino applicants, in violation of Philippine laws which require foreign employers to go through the proper recruitment process through the POEA.
Other illegal recruiters have attempted to send Filipino workers to FSM though illegal channel.
In July, the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation and Coast Guard raided the Philippine-owned ship, Forever Lucky, and found 139 Filipinos headed for Yap.
Authorities arrested officers and staff of the Fahrenheit Company Ltd., which owns the ship and impounded the vessel.