ANTIPOLO City, Jan. 4, 2011—President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III had made a huge mistake replacing Atty. Carlos S. Cao Jr. as Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief.
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said in a statement that Cao’s replacement is “rude and fast” and might hamper the delivery of services by the agency to migrant workers. He also said that the poor lawyer had been a victim of “power struggle” inside the agency, being a “newcomer” in POEA.
Cao, who had been serving the agency for more than a year had been replaced by former Labor Undersecretary Hans Cacdac in a formal ceremonies last Monday, January 2.
While he has no grudges against the incoming POEA chief, Monterona said there is actually something wrong with the picture.
“What happened to Atty. Cao is just a proof that Noynoy (the President’s moniker) has no absolute control with the Department of Labor and Employment,” he said, adding that Aquino might have been “blinded and fed by wrong information” about Cao’s performance in the POEA.
“In fairness to Atty. Cao, he did a good job [in] instituting reforms in the POEA that has streamlined the procedure of services to OFWs stakeholders such as the Balik-Manggagawa, where the OFW-in-vacation is required to obtain an Overseas Employment Certificate. We can also say that he also did a splendid job in combating illegal recruitment activities—quite a tough job to do in just one year of service,” Monterona said.
The migrant leader also added that Cao’s government service is left “unblemished”, making him an “asset” in the Government and in making the slogan “tuwid na daan” (straight path), true.
Meanwhile, OFWs in Hong Kong also send their sympathies over the sacking of Cao as POEA administrator and began questioning what grounds did the Palace use in firing Cao.
“Why has Administrator Cao been unceremoniously removed from office? Was it his support to the fight against budget cut to OFW services? Or his actions against illegal recruitment? If so, his sudden ouster was surely a political maneuver to curb the growing restlessness of Filipinos abroad with how this government is handling our issues,” said United Filipinos in Hong Kong (Unifil-HK) chair Dolores Balladres in a statement.
“Those who do nothing or, worse, deliberately against the rights and wellbeing of migrants remain in office while those who have so far proven open and supportive to OFW causes are ousted. This government of Aquino has yet again exhibited its contempt of overseas Filipinos,” the migrant leader added.
Balladres said that the sacked administrator had been an “ally” in terms of fighting the attempt to reduce the legal services and the repatriation budget for the imprisoned and distressed OFWs.
She also commended the attempts of Cao to curb illegal recruitment and human trafficking by intensifying the POEA campaign against dubious recruitment agencies and those who are involved in arbitrary exporting of human labor to other countries.
“Admin Cao has dared to take steps beneficial to OFWs much unlike his predecessor and now DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz who, until now, is deaf and blind to the plight of OFWs. It appears that no good deed to OFWs goes unpunished in the Aquino regime,” Balladres quipped. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]