MORE Filipino workers in Italy have come forward and filed formal complaint against illegal recruiters who defrauded each of their relatives in the Philippines as much as €3,000 (Php 180,000), the Philippine Consulate General in Milan said
Consul General Elmer Cato said from 33 last week, the number of OFW complainants rose to 51 as of Monday.
The OFWs claimed three individuals and two agencies based in Milan offered non-existent jobs to their relatives in the Philippines.
The formal complaints of the OFWs at the Consulate will be used to build a class suit against the illegal recruiters.
He believes more Filipinos will come out as Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Eduardo Jose de Vega has personally assured that the Philippine government would provide free legal assistance to the victims of illegal recruitment.
Around 215 job-seekers in the Philippines and Milan had informed the Consulate that they were victimized by the agencies and their cohorts. If their accounts were true, recruiters milked around P38.7 million from desperate OFW applicants
Cato said the Consulate has been “quietly” working with Italian authorities for the past several weeks.
Last September 4, he met with Prefect Renato Saccone, the highest-ranking Italian federal government representative in Milan after receiving the complaints from OFWs.
In that meeting, Cato asked Prefect Saccone for Milan federal authorities to verify the authenticity of the Italian work permits the complainants and witnesses in Italy and the Philippines presented to them by their recruiters.
Federal authorities found the work permits to be ‘spurious.’
This prompted the Prefect to immediately create a task force to assist the complainants in filing appropriate cases against the recruiters.
The Italian task force will work closely with the Consulate and the Italian lawyers that the Philippine government will hire. De Vega said at the weekend that the DFA and DMW will be providing lawyers to complainants. The hiring of Italian lawyers to assist complainants was among the recommendations presented by Cato to DFA as early as August 31, 2023.