Bello orders probe of HK labor execs
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III ordered on Sunday the investigation of officials in the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Hongkong following the replacement of an online system for processing, credentialing, welfare protection and data storage for overseas placement.
In an administrative order, Bello created a fact-finding team to look into allegations of improprieties in the selection of a new service provider said to be done without public bidding and consultation.
The new online system will replace one that has been in place for 11 years and which has provided OFWs, employers, and accredited employment agencies data and information on POLO programs, projects, and services on real-time.
Reports said that to pave the way for the new system, the POLO in Hong Kong, on December 5, 2018, terminated the Service Agreement with EmployEasy Ltd., now Employeasy Group Ltd., the provider of the current online system, effective 30 December 2018.
In his letter of termination, POLO Hong Kong Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre informed Employeasy that the POLO “intends to accept applications for the improvement of the current system” and “will soon make an announcement as to the minimum system capabilities requirements.”
Reports also said that copy of the contract for the new system shows it was signed on 7 March 2019 between the POLO represented by Labor Attaché Dela Torre and Polaris Tools Ltd., represented by Jaime Deverall, Chief Executive Officer, and one Lindsay Ernst. Two other officials of the POLO, Marivic Clarin and Joszua Villa also signed the contract.
There were alleged "haste" and "seeming lack of transparency" in the solicitation of the proposal and the awarding of the new contract. DMS