Ople to lead DMW’s task force against illegal recruitment

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
Ople to lead DMWâs task force against illegal recruitment
Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople prepares for a press briefing after a welcoming ceremony held at the POEA Blas F. Ople Building on July 1, 2022.
Philstar.com / Kaycee Valmonte

MANILA, Philippines — A day after taking her oath of office, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople said she plans on going after illegal recruiters through a task force under the department.

Ople said she will lead the Department of Migrant Workers Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment and Trafficking in Persons (TF-AIRTIP).

“I have 18 years of experience in the fight against human trafficking. There will be zero tolerance for syndicates, whether online or offline,” Ople said in a speech on Friday

“Basta OFW ang binibiktima nila, ako ang kalaban nila.”

(As long as they are targetting OFWs, they will have to face me.)

Ople also lamented that there are some lawyers who supposedly benefit from the illegal trafficking or recruitment schemes.

“We wil not hesitate to file complaints against lawyers who take advantage of our OFWs and cause harm to other stakeholders like our industry,” Ople said.

She said she already tapped Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla and Secretary of the Interior and Local Government of Philippines Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr. to map out a plan on how they could get the task force up and running.

The Philippines currently has an Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, which is led by the Department of Justice. It remains unclear how the IACAT and TF-AIRTIP will coordinate efforts.

Ople said further details on the composition and other information on the TF-AIRTIP will be released.

Mary Jane Veloso

When asked if the department already tackled the case of detained overseas Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso, Ople said she will review Veloso’s case.

In 2010, Veloso was arrested in Indonesia after 2.16 kilograms of heroin were found sewn into the lining of her luggage.

Veloso maintained innocence, saying her recruiters were behind the scheme. Veloso narrowly escaped a death sentence after the Philippine government argued that she could testify in human trafficking cases.

Veloso is currently spending her 12th year behind bars in Indonesia.

“Mabuti na may DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) secretary na tayo so I can also get information and updates directly from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs kung ano na ba ‘yung status ng case ni Mary Jane Veloso,” Ople said in a press briefing.

(It’s good that we already have a DFA Secretary so I can also get information and updates directly from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (SFA) on what is the current status of Mary Jane Veloso’s case.)

On Tuesday morning, seasoned career diplomat Enrique Manalo has accepted the offer of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to take the post as SFA.




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