MANILA, Philippines – The Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines (SHARP) said yesterday that the moratorium it imposed on the deployment of household service workers (HSWs) to the former British colony is now gaining momentum.
In a statement, SHARP president Alfredo Palmiery said that the number of employment contracts being processed at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) “has started to drop slowly.”.
“Where before the number of processing requests reaches a high of 100 daily, this has dropped to 56.6 a day in the period of Feb. 28 to March 8,” Palmiery said.
He also claimed that “only 41 percent of recruitment agencies deploying HSWs to Hong Kong are submitting requests for processing and are not cooperating with the moratorium.”
SHARP declared the moratorium on Feb. 27 to protest the Philippine government’s no placement fee policy.
The government came up with this policy because Hong Kong-based recruitment agencies are passing on to HSWs the costs of recruitment instead of making Hong Kong employers pay.
The group said they are willing to lift the moratorium if their counterparts in Hong Kong would agree to the policy. The moratorium is feared to result in displacement of some 35,000 Filipino HSWs.
“We are heartened by the support we are receiving from our members who are heeding the call for a moratorium until the situation of the labor market is reversed in favor of our HSWs, that is, that they are no longer charged and made to pay any placement fee,” Palmiery said.
He added that a substantial number of new Hong Kong employers who learned about the moratorium are willing to pay the recruitment and services fees for HSWs that they intend to hire.
By Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star