A LOCAL recruitment agency, its foreign counterpart, and the employer in New Zealand have been placed under preventive suspension by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) over several alleged recruitment violations they committed against eight overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

In a statement, POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said they have already initiated the filing of motu proprio complaints against local recruiter, Sacred Heart International Services Inc.; Business Immigration, the NZ counterpart placement agency; and Valiant Homes Limited, the employer of the eight OFWs.

"The order of preventive suspension issued against Sacred Heart International shall bar the agency from deploying overseas Filipino workers pending resolution of recruitment violation cases filed against it," said Cacdac.

"Business Immigration and Valiant Homes Inc., meanwhile, cannot hire OFWs from the Philippines until further ordered by the POEA," he further said.

Quoting the letter endorsed by the Philippine Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, Cacdac related that the eight Filipinos construction workers employed by Valiant Homes Limited in Auckland, NZ had alleged that each of them paid Sacred Heart International P330,000 but the receipt issued to them was for P120,000 only.

The workers also claimed that the local agency had endorsed them to lending companies that charged them with high interest rates, resulting to their total loan ballooning to half million pesos.

Cacdac noted that based on the approved contracts of the workers, they were to receive a salary of ND$20 per hour or a weekly salary of ND$800 computed at 40 work hours per week.

Conversely, the salary offered was approximately only at P30,000 per week or P120,000 a month calculated at the prevailing exchange rate on the dates of their deployment.

In the jobsite, however, Cacdac said the workers alleged that their actual salaries on their respective pay slips did not match with the time sheets they submitted to the company, indicating short payment of amounts equivalent to three to four hours of work or ND$60 to ND$80 per week.

The Filipino workers had also claimed that the company deducted ND$30 from their salary supposedly for service fee, and that they were forced to work on Saturdays under the threat of being sent back to the Philippines. (HDT/Sunnex) Source: sunstar.com.ph/breaking-news

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