Sunday, September 16, 2012

POEA


POEA REQUIREMENTS

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration or POEA strictly required all Philippine Agencies to comply all requirements before an individual can have their working visas process or approve. Thousands of Filipinos become victims of human trafficking due to under the table transaction between agencies and government offices in our country.
Government authorities and officials must be serious about the issue on human trafficking in our country. For how many decades the problems still continue and seem no solutions being held by our government. The legal authorities now make actions so that they can prevent Filipinos go out the country without proper documentation.
OFW or Overseas Filipino Workers who are not aware on the new process, complained about the latest requirements imposed by different agencies registered by POEA. DFA or Department of Foreign Affairs, OWWA or Overseas Worker Welfare Administration and TESDA or Technical Education and Skills Development Authority made their part to any agencies before an OFW has been granted for any working visas.
One thing I was annoyed about the latest procedure of the POEA was with TESDA. I was newly arrived OFW from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, worked as Housekeeping Supervisor in one of 5 Star hotel in Riyadh. Before I left the country on year 2009 I undergone training on HOME MANAGEMENT which tackled Food Service (includes waitering, table set-up, basic napkin folding, basic table skirting and personal hygiene and grooming), Housekeeping (includes bed set-up, bathroom cleaning and kitchen), Wine Mixing, Identify Cultural Preferences, Telephone Etiquette and Protective Measures and Safety Consideration. It’s almost complete but when I talked to the agency, POEA not honored my previous trainings.
It’s disgusting to me and to other ex-OFW, why I need to undergone another training which was so simple compared to the one I attended and also to work experienced I have. As per the TESDA assessors said “I need to attend again because it’s POEA requirements”. I was shock! I don’t want to argue with them. I am not a first time OFW and besides I work already in a 5 star hotel and again they want to test or assess me, related to household chores? 

AUREATE ASSESSMENT CENTER
TESDA required all outgoing OFW in the field of hotels and home (domestic helper) to have Household Services NC-II. Based on the day I was assessed, it wasn’t worth. By the way I was referred to Aureate Assessment Center; their office was not comfortable for us.  The TESDA should accredit assessment center that provide the needed facilities for all the applicants. Imagine, the bathroom was terrific, toilet bowl and shower was not working. How can we show to the assessor the proper cleaning of the bathroom? I don’t know why TESDA give accreditation to that kind of center. What the use of assessing OFW who will work to a high tech houses in some parts of the world and also to those who will work in a 5 star hotel outside the Philippines?

ROOM CLEANING, BED SET-UP, LAUNDRY and WINDOW CLEANING
Bedroom cleaning and Bed set-up was so interesting. I was so excited to know how the assessor rate us based on the available beddings the center have. Anyway, I want to introduce my TESDA assessor Ms. Ma. Cristina Miranda. Ms. Miranda was a cool and a very nice person I’ve meet but I have some points to complain about her.

First, before I start making the bed, I told her that I am working in a 5 star hotel in Riyadh and we are following the standard of the hotel chain STARWOOD HOTELS WORLDWIDE. She didn’t listen to me. What we have in the hotel to prepare the bed are 2 sheets, duvet, duvet cover, 2 Front Pillows and 2 Back Pillows. While in Aureate only flat sheet (which is common in our house), top sheet, comforter and 2 Pillows.

I told her “Ma’am every hotel have their own standard, I’m sorry if I will show you what I learned from my work experience. Definitely, from a 5 star hotel but I can manage to make the bed using what are available in the center.” You know what she said? She directly said without thinking “You’re not working on that hotel.” Maybe she was thinking, I was kidding with her or maybe she heard, similar story with other applicants she encountered. I felt ashamed and I want to show her my certificate to remove her doubts. She’s lucky, no time to get my things downstairs. As you know, we’re not allowed to bring anything when assessment starts. All your belongings should be left outside the assessment facilities. Only mobile phone (turn-off or silent inside your pocket) and wallet are only allowed to bring. Jewelries, watches and any other thing that can catches attention to the assessors must be remove and kept.

I was annoyed and frustrated. She insisted that she also teaching housekeeping in one school in Manila. I want to say her “I don’t care if you’re a teacher” What I want to say was bed setting matters on hotel or household standard. What an individual knows about it, she/he can show to her. She doesn’t want to listen. My purpose was to clarify only some points to her and also to all applicants around us.

Later on, maybe when she found out that I have an experience and I show her how to fix and properly fit the sheet so that it looks good, she stops me even I was just started. I told her “I’m not yet finished,” she said “Okay, that’s enough.” I left the room while she smiles to me.

Second, we did window cleaning. Needed equipments are squeegee, glass cleaner and dry rag. Turn the foam side of the squeegee circular motion on the glass and used the rubber side to remove the dirt, always wife the squeegee with dry rag. We did it within 2 minutes only and Ms. Miranda told me to go on next assessment. Well, very simple to clean the window.

Third, cleaning furniture and fixtures. The assessor told me to show her how to used the vacuum and floor polisher. It’s so simple but the equipment available was good for household only, unlike the one we used in the hotel which are bigger and high speed. Only those DH applicants were curious and want to learn how the machine works. For us, who work in the hotel, doesn’t matter.
I always complain about the equipments they have, it’s far from the standard. She always said “it’s about household and I am talking about standard in the hotel.” Big question came to my mind, if that assessment was ONLY FOR HOUSEHOLD, why we, who are working in the hotel, need to undergo. It’s like they are not serious about the sincerity of the government in giving requirements to all OFW? Or maybe, it’s because JUST ONLY A REQUIREMENTS.

LAUNDRY

I show my assessor the steps how the laundry works. I am lucky enough, laundry was one of housekeeping section in the hotel I worked abroad. Everyday, I watched the laundryman how they did in classifying different clothes from our guest. To avoid discoloration, white clothes should be separate from the colored. They checked all clothes came to the laundry. Small defects, discolored and have stain clothes always coordinated with the owner of the items to avoid complains. The assessor thumbs up again and I was instructed to leave the laundry. I also show to Ms. Miranda how to iron different clothes especially those have collars. I finished laundry for about 5 minutes.

TABLE SET-UP

Table set-up was the simplest among all. I already had gone through similar set-up when I undergone training from a caregiver center in Iligan City. The table set-up I made was Russian style. I finished the set-up within 2 minutes. I was question about the amount of water to be put inside the water Goblet and why only that amount is allowed? I answered the assessor without delayed “only ¾ to avoid spilling. Better I recalled my previous trainings. She was impressed with me. Most of my co-applicants takes more than 5-10 minutes doing the table set-up specially those who don’t have any experience about table set-up. I felt pity to all applicants for DH or Domestic Helpers.

COOKING HOT AND COLD MEALS

Hot Meal, we prepared BEEF STEW. All ingredients already prepared (slice and cut into required size) but it was place near the cold meal ingredients. If you are not careful you will mix both ingredients which will result failure. I only need beef, onion, carrots, potato, beans and bell pepper. Some of the ingredient has been cut and slice but the skin not yet remove like the carrots and potato. If you mix it with other ingredients and you cook, you will fail. I put all ingredients in the fan and cook for about 5 minutes and I show it to Ms. Miranda. She told me to eat. So, I did.
Cold Meal, like the hot meal all the ingredients place in the table together with the hot meal. Again, be careful in picking up the correct ingredients needed. I prepared TOSSED SALAD. While I am cooking the hot meal I also did the cold meal. To minimize time consume. Unlike the other applicants they did one by one which was time consuming. The ingredients are lettuce, carrots, cucumber, tomato, white onion, green pepper and boiled egg. I garnished with catsup and mayonnaise. I really like the taste. I want to prepare another one.

Conclusions and Recommendations
In household Services National Certificate II composed of 4 CORE COMPETENCY;
1.       Clean living room, dining room, bed rooms, toilets, bathrooms and kitchen
2.       Wash and iron clothes, linens and fabrics
3.       Prepare hot and cold meals
4.       Provide food and beverages service
I don’t think so if it is really needed to remember the following persons;
TESDA Director:                                Ms. Yerma Saulon
TESDA Representative:                     Ms. Linda Baccus
TESDA Assessor:                              Ms. Ma. Cristina Miranda

I was also annoyed and frustrated to some of the TESDA assessors especially Ms. Imelda Pascual and the other, who always shout for the applicant if they made mistakes. It is really needed? If the applicants are shy and felt nervous when they face high profile individuals, it will trigger them to be more nervous and can’t concentrate their works especially those who are applying for a domestic helper. Instead of shouting why, they show concern and give encouragement? Not a loud voice that others individual around will think they are high authorities and they don’t care about anyone. They didn’t remember that OFW have a major role in our economics today. Do they think it’s easy to work abroad, sacrificing ourselves away from our families and friends? Who give them their salary? I am not criticizing them but if ever they can show feelings as human being to applicants, they should not do it again. Every individual have different capacity and ability, they should always consider.

I hope that the way our POEA strictly imposed the new requirements, will prevent individuals be a victim of human trafficking. I remember some of my staff in Saudi Arabia who are victims of this kind of inhumanity. They signed a contract with a salary of 600 Dollars here in the Philippines but when they arrived in Saudi Arabia, their salary until now ranging from 600 to 700 Riyals. One guy, when he asked to sign a contract in AFRAS AGENCY refuse to do it, one of their staff told him “if he won’t sign, he cannot received his allowance and no food for him to eat.” Aside from that, they stay in a room wherein no air-condition. Can you imagine their life? How can they sustain the needs of their families if they have 2-3 children and 2 of them already in school? It’s very difficult for them to work hard but their efforts are not compensated according to the promised salary they got from the agency in the Philippines. Do you think they will sign the contract if they won’t agree the salary? Of course not. Philippine authorities should do actions why SAUDI AFRAS AGENCY still acquiring OFW to be part of their manpower. Why until now the government didn’t catch those agencies that have connection with them? Do the government seriously doing their job to stop human trafficking?

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