70 PINOY VICTIMS OF ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT STRANDED IN BANGKOK

DFA, MANILA, August 28, 2003 (MALAYA) By MARILOU JUMILLA - Seventy Filipinos are now stranded in Bangkok, Thailand after being duped by illegal recruiters who lured them with false promises of work as apple pickers in Australia.

Because of this, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday cautioned the public on offers to work abroad using Thailand as jump off point before proceeding to their main destination.

The DFA has also asked other law enforcement agencies to crack down on these illegal recruiters.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jose Brillantes said the department made the warning after the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok reported that there are now a total of 70 Filipinos stranded in Thailand who were victims of illegal recruitment.

"Bangkok is fast becoming a jump off point for illegally recruited Filipinos. We have been receiving reports of illegal recruiters enticing Filipinos, particularly women," he noted.

The Philippine Embassy said that the some of the 70 Filipinos have been in Bangkok since June.

All of them were offered jobs as apple pickers in Australia but were abandoned in Bangkok by their illegal recruiters, the reports from the embassy said.

Brillantes said the Filipinos are now staying at the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC) pending their repatriation.

He said their repatriation is supposed to be shouldered by their kin but since most of them do not have the money, the DFA will shoulder the cost of their flight back to the Philippines.

He assured that the NBI and the Bureau of Immigration are already looking into the matter.

"We are asking the NBI and the BI to look closely into these and file the necessary cases against unscrupulous recruiters," Brillantes said.

The DFA official said that the Filipino victims get travel arrangements from Manila to Bangkok and from Bangkok to their point of destination.

He explained that from Bangkok, one can go anywhere in the world and is near enough to the Philippines which makes the cost of transportation cheap.

Bangkok's proximity also enables those involved in the recruitment to return to the Philippines and prey on more unsuspecting victims.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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