Labor Secretary Mark Zachares yesterday said he informed Philippine labor officials yesterday that guest workers in the CNMI are now given more avenues to address their various complaints.
Zachares who met with visiting officials from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency said non-resident workers on the island can either file cases before local or federal courts.
POEA officials came here and met with Zachares for the periodic review of the existing Memorandum of Understanding in connection with the hiring of workers from the Philippines. He said he hopes the review would be conducted every year although he meets with Philippine Consulate officials regularly to thresh out any labor related problems.
The MOU was drafted in 1995 to curb labor abuses against Filipino workers as well as protect local employers against unqualified employees. Part of the MOU was the creation of the Manila Liason Office whose task is to ensure that documents submitted by CNMI-bound workers are not fraudulent and that their employers are capable of paying them.
Filipinos comprise the biggest number of non-resident workers — more than 50 percent of the estimated 42,000 guest workers on the island. For many years, the CNMI has become has become a popular destination among Asian workers not only from the Philippines but also from Bangladesh and China.
POEA deputy administrator for licensing and adjudication Valentin C Guanio along with other labor officials also met with Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio. Guanio said the main objective of the visit was to get the CNMI government to sign an agreement with the Philippine government that will protect the Filipino workers here.