Baldoz sends 4 female POLO personnel to Middle East

MANILA, (PNA) –- To beef up its efforts in protecting female overseas Filipino workers, the Dept. of Labor and Employment on Monday announced it sent six new overseas personnel, four of whom are women, to serve in Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in the Middle East.

Labor chief Rosalinda Baldoz said in a statement that these new labor officers will be deployed to POLO Riyadh and Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and Kuwait, where labor attaché have left for their respective posts.

The secretary said that the female overseas personnel, one of whom is a labor attaché, are tasked to attend to the welfare and protection of all OFWs, most importantly the distressed female OFWs.

Baldoz also noted that this is just the first batch of female welfare personnel and more will be deployed before the end of September.

She stressed that the new officers have undergone the One-DOLE System, which determines qualifications of labor attaches, welfare officers, administrative staff, and local hires, including their selection, appointment , and deployment.

Baldoz said this system prescribes stricter criteria, training, and immersion requirements prior to deployment, which means that the personnel they have deployed in the Middle East are the best.

She also added the labor attaches and welfare officers have attended an intensified gender sensitivity training workshop to ensure proper addressing of gender needs and issues in the POLOs.

The DOLE chief said the deployment of female overseas personnel to POLOs is “pursuant to the 22-point Labor and Employment Agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III, which directs the DOLE to review the continued deployment of workers to countries which are high-and medium-risk areas.”

Last June, POLO officers in the Middle East have been subjects of complaints from female OFWs, who were allegedly sexually harassed just to be repatriated.

In response, the DOLE and the Department of Foreign Affairs have conducted their separate investigation regarding the issue.

The DOLE fact-finding-team, although not finding any evidence of a sex-for-repatriation racket, have approved the filing of administrative charges against the accused, for apparently not performing their duties well.