‘FDHs should pay only up to P25,000 in training fees’

Image title

Labatt Jolly Dela Torre

FILIPINO domestic workers should pay only up to P25,000 “at the most” for their training fees before they are deployed abroad, Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre said.

Dela Torre said the “benchmark amount” for training fees was P18,000 to P25,000 although the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) had yet to officially determine the limit.

“It’s a workable amount (P18,000 to P20,000) basta two-week training at live-in. If you go beyond three weeks for additional skills, it can go up to P25,000 at the most pero very exceptional cases yung ganun,” Dela Torre said in an interview.

“So, P18,000 to P20,000 ang ginawa naming benchmark. Pag may nagcomplain dito, yun ang ginagawa naming figure,” he said.

Dela Torre said the “real solution” to problem of FDHs being charged with excessive training fees was for the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to set a “cap” on training fees for FDHs.

“Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa nasettle ng POEA at TESDA yung limit. We’ve been trying to get them to do that for the last two years I think but they have not come out with a written policy,” he said in an interview.

Dela Torre made the statement after two groups of recruiters—the Society of Hong Kong-Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines (SHARP) and the Association of Hong Kong Manpower Agencies (AHKMA)— signed a code of conduct promising “ethical recruitment practices” like not collecting placement fees.

“This is a long time na binubuno nila nung AHKMA and SHARP with the assistance of ILO (International Labor Organization) where both parties agreed to the incorporation of certain ethical recruitment practices and principles into their operation,” he said.

Dela Torre said both groups would come up with a monitoring mechanism to make sure their member agencies comply with the code of conduct.

“The question would be how do we make sure that those commitments are enforced. So, both parties agreed to form a monitoring mechanism, also with the assistance of the ILO, and later on we will use that as a means of making sure that they live up to their commitment, particularly in the matter of charging of placement fees,” he said.

He noted that the code of conduct requires signatories to ensure that fees that are allowed by law to be charged to workers “such as for government required training and skills certification and medical examination are charged at reasonable market rates.”

Dela Torre said the fees should also “not be exorbitant and are at rate limits mandated by government authorities.”

He added AHKMA had “30 to 40” member agencies while SHARP had around 100 members.

“Nalabas na nga ito. We will try to encourage the other (associations of agencies in HK), pito ata sila, to also follow suit. May incentives na ibibigay like faster processing ng contracts. We will work extra hours para mafacilitate yung contract,” he said.