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Seafarers’ Complaints Prompts POEA to Suspend Manning Agency, Foreign Employer

Due to the complaints filed by twelve (12) seafarers, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) suspended the license of a manning agency and banned foreign employers from taking part in any overseas recruitment in the Philippines.


The seafarers went to the POEA Anti-Illegal Recruitment Brach to file separate complaints against the JMP Polaris Navigation, Inc., Menh Hao fishery, Co. Ltd and Jui Wun Fishery, Ltd for alleged contract substitution, misrepresentation, and maltreatment. They also claims that the agency collected bribe money from them.


According to the seafarers complaint form, they sought the services of JMP Polaris Navigation from January to February of 2012. The manning agency is engaged in the business of recruiting regular seamen such as messmen, deck cadets and engine cadets and the salary is USD250.00 to USD350.00 per month.


They also specified that that the crewing and operations manager of the agency made them pay bribe money amounting Php15,000 and other miscellaneous fees to assure them that they would get hired in an international shipping firm. This practice is prohibited because according to POEA chief, Hans Leo Cacdac Jr., manning agencies are not allowed to charge any fee from seafarers.


He said, “Under POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Seafarers, manning agencies are prohibited from charging or accepting directly or indirectly any amount of money, goods or services, or any fee or bond for any purpose from the seafarers.”


Apparently the 12 seamen were able to pay JMP Polaris Navigation, Inc. a total of PhP265,000.00. Upon submitting needed documents and signing the employment contract, the complainants went to Taiwan in separate dates from January to March 2012. At the airport before their departure, the complainants claimed that an employee of the manning agency told them that the positions in their respective contracts would be substituted to “fisherman”.


Onboard, the seamen alleged that they experienced maltreatment as they are made to work beyond the normal working hours without overtime pay. They also cited poor accommodation, insufficient food and water, and lack of safety equipment and first-aid supplies.


The seamen came back to the Philippines in June 2012 and filed their complaints in the POEA. The POEA found strong evidence in the sworn statements of the complainants so they suspended the license of JMP Polaris navigation, Inc. and Menh Hao fishery, Co. Ltd and Jui Wun Fishery, Ltd. cannot participate in the overseas employment program pending investigation of the case filed against them.


Cacdad said, “We find strong prima facie evidence of a case for violation of the pertinent provisions of POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Seafarers and there exists a reasonable ground to believe that the continued deployment of the respondent agency of workers to the respondent employer will lead to further violations of the Rules and exploitation of the job-seeking public.’”


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