Labor, Justice depts forge pact vs human smuggling

By RP ESCALANTE

A stronger alliance against human trafficking, illegal recruitment and child-labor was forged between the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) through its Regional Prosecution Office late last week for what Bicolanos call as the ‘unified war’ against human trafficking.

The team-up was an offshoot of the apprehension of two suspected illegal recruiters in Bulan, Sorsogon by the DOLE Anti-Illegal Recruitment Investigation Response Team (AIR-IRT) composed of DOLE, OWWA and PESO in Bulan, Sorsogon last Sept. 14 and an NBI intelligence report last Sept. 22 about a suspected large scale illegal recruiter operating in Legazpi for more than 3 years.

“We need more allies if we want to stop these illegalities.” DOLE Bicol Regional Director Atty. Alvin M. Villamor said.

The team-up is said to be the ‘best move’ for Bicol in order to eliminate the three forms of illegal menace that are said to have been playing the region’s populace and economy.

DOLE is the lead agency in Anti-Illegal Recruitment and Anti-Child Labor while the DOJ is the lead agency in Anti-Human Trafficking. The new alliance will roll-into-one the existing Task Forces of DOLE and DOJ for better complementation.

“This alliance is also attributed to with the 22 Point Agenda of President Aquino.” Villamor added.

In a meeting with DOJ Regional Prosecutor Atty. Mary Mae B. De Leoz on October 1 at La Rocca, Restaurant in Gogon, Legazpi City, Villamor disclosed that the new alliance will focus on personnel complementation in surveillance, intelligence gathering and most specifically in prosecuting violators and putting them behind bars.

It can be noted that the DOLE formed task force the Regional Anti-Child Labor Committee or RACLC lacks the power to prosecute offenders while other task forces created by the PNP, DOJ, CIDG and NBI lack personnel & funding thus compromising continuity.

“Teaming up is the only solution and we will be on top of it. Creating the regional alliances first, then the provincial alliances. The DOJ is more than willing to help in this set-up,” Villamor explained.

To fast-track its implementation DOLE-Bicol will conduct the MOA signing for the Sorsogon Provincial Anti-Child Labor Committee (PACLC) on Oct. 28 at Sorsogon, Sorsogon.

“The next move will be integrating the new alliance in the existing task forces. With these moves we will address at least three of the 22 Point Labor Agenda set by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz” Villamor said.

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