THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) reiterated its warning to Filipino workers against accepting high-paying job offers in Myanmar and other neighboring Asian countries.
Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco issued the warning on Monday after four more Filipinos returned from Myanmar where they fell victim to illegal recruitment
The victims, whose names were withheld for their protection, arrived in Manila from Yangon via a Thai Airways flight on November 21.
“The best way to avoid these sad experiences is for you to go through the legal process that migrant workers should follow in applying for overseas jobs,” Tansingco said.
He said the experience of the repatriates should serve as a warning to other Filipinos that they should not be lured by promises of high-paying jobs from strangers and foreigners who will abandon them the moment they encounter problems while working abroad.
The four victims said they were unable to obtain proper working visas and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) registration while they were in Laukkai, Myanmar.
They left the country posing as tourists but were later on recruited by their foreigner acquaintances to work in Myanmar.
Tansingco said two of the victims were recruited through a job posting on Facebook as customer service representatives in Myanmar, which is being wracked by civil unrest.
“Upon arriving, they were coerced into engaging in online scamming activities for an undisclosed Chinese company,” he said. “These individuals were subjected to physical abuse and poor working conditions.”
Tansingco expressed deep concern over the incidents, stressing the importance of heightened vigilance.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has classified Myanmar’s conflict to be at Crisis Alert Level 2, also known as the Restricted Phase. This means that only documented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are allowed to travel to Myanmar, with stringent protocols and safeguards in place,” Tansingco said.
“Illegal recruitment not only violates our laws but also undermines the rights and welfare of Filipino workers,” he said. “Aspiring OFWs are urged to verify the legitimacy of job offers, ensure proper documentation, and seek guidance from licensed recruitment agencies before applying abroad.”