Fishermen, Like Seafarers, Are Exempted from Paying Placement Fees
A manning agency's license has been recently cancelled by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for two separate cases of illegal exaction of placement fee from fishermen it deployed to Taiwan fishing vessels. POEA said that fishermen should not pay placement fee because they are also considered seafarers.
According to Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, in the first case, the complainant alleged that Jenar Maritime Incorporated required him to pay a placement fee of Php75,000.00. He said that an employee of the manning agency assisted him in his loan application amounting to Php75,000.00 from a lending company to be able to pay the placement fee.
The complainant also alleged that Jenar Maritime obliged him to write and sign a statement declaring that he did not pay a placement fee to the agency. He said that he obeyed the agency's order out of fear of losing the job and for lack of material time to complain.
The first complainant was a fisherman in a Taiwanese fishing vessel prior to his application with Jenar but requested repatriation after two months complaining of breaches of contract committed by his employer.
Meanwhile, in the second case, Jenar Maritime allegedly collected Php80,000 from another applicant for the same job and country who was also referred to a lending agency. The second complainant said that he was also forced to write a similar statement written by the first complainant.
In a press release, POEA said that the acts made by Jenar Maritime Incorporated violated the rules mandated by Section 1, Rule IV, Part II of the POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Seafarers stating that “agencies shall charge from their principals manning fee to cover services rendered in the recruitment and deployment of seafarers. However, manning agencies shall not charge any fee from the seafarers for their recruitment and deployment services”.
The violations made by the manning agency, according to Admin. Cacdac, that resulted to the cancellation of its license were: charging or accepting directly or indirectly any amount of money, goods, services, or any fee or bond for any purpose from seafarers. The manning agency is also mandated to refund the fee charged or collected from the seafarer.