Sat. Sep 25th, 2021

MANILA – As community quarantine protocols remain in effect in the country, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has restarted its online legal assistance program to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families to file illegal recruitment cases.

POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia issued Memorandum Circular No. 12, series of 2020, on Wednesday containing the guidelines for its Legal Assistance Online platform to ensure the timely and effective delivery of legal services to safeguard the rights and welfare of OFWs.

“The provision of legal assistance online is an avenue for those seeking legal assistance without the need to travel all the way to the POEA main office,” the agency said in a statement.

It added that over 620 clients have been served by lawyers since the start of the community quarantine in mid-March.

Likewise, it received queries regarding contract violations, non-payment of wages and benefits, various forms of abuse, among others.

Aside from legal advice, POEA lawyers also provided welfare assistance related to repatriation and the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) which is a cash assistance program for OFWs.

Also, reports on illegal recruitment and recruitment violations were handled and endorsed for proper investigation.

With limited transportation and mobility options, the service proved convenient and at the same time aligned with stay-at-home and community quarantine requirements.

The POEA advised overseas job seekers, OFWs, and their immediate families who would want to avail of free legal assistance to log on to the POEA legal assistance online platform at legalassistance.poea.gov.ph or e-mail the Legal Assistance Division at legalassistance.poea@gmail.com.

For more information, log on to the POEA website or the POEA Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/airbranch.

Prior to the pandemic, clients personally go to the agency’s main office in Mandaluyong City to personally seek legal advice and counseling on various overseas employment issues. (PNA)

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