Palace Reactivates Task Force vs. Illegal Recruitment

To bolster government efforts to stop unscrupulous recruiters from victimizing Filipinos seeking jobs overseas, Malacanang has reactivated the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (PTFAIR) under Executive Order No. 41 recently signed by President Benigno Aquino III.

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Friday the President’s directive revives PTFAIR, which was created under EO 759 but was automatically dissolved two years after it was established in 2008, to sustain a more focused and coordinated strategy in stemming illegal recruitment.

“The administration is intent on bringing to justice these illegal recruiters and their cohorts to safeguard public interest and prevent them from preying on unsuspecting victims,” Ochoa said.

EO 41, signed by the Chief Executive on April 29, names Vice President Jejomar Binay as chair of PTFAIR, being the President Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concern, and the secretaries of the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Justice (DOJ) as vice chairs.

Other members include the secretaries of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Foreign Affairs; the commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration; the DOJ prosecutor general; the director of the National Bureau of Investigation; the head of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation; and the general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority.

Ochoa said PTFAIR is tasked to coordinate programs and initiatives of the government agencies concerned in addressing problems and issues related to illegal recruitment.

Specifically, Ochoa said, PTFAIR is responsible for developing and implementing strategies and programs to thwart the modus operandi of illegal recruiters such as “escort” services within international airports and other ports of departure and tampering with and selling spurious passports and travel documents, and prosecuting illegal recruiters and syndicates, including their cohorts, protectors and coddlers.

Under the EO, PTFAIR has the authority to conduct surveillance and entrapment operations of persons alleged to be engaged in illegal recruitment, effect warrants of arrests through its law enforcement arm, investigate and cause speedy prosecution of cases, among others, in order to effectively discharge their mandate, the Executive Secretary stressed.

“But it is also a crucial task of PTFAIR to coordinate with existing bodies currently involved in the campaign against illegal recruitment,” Ochoa added. “The cooperation and coordination of various government agencies at the national and local levels, as well as our partnership with non-government organizations and other private entities concerned is vital to the success of our fight against illegal recruitment.” ###