COTABATO CITY – The first annual gathering of both foreign and local
recruitment agencies operating in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao led by the Ministry of Labor and Employment was held on October 17, in
this city.

Bearing the theme, “Manpower: A Spectrum of Job Opportunity,” the Bangsamoro
Annual Recruitment Agency Summit (BARAS) aimed at providing an avenue to monitor
recruitment activities in the region, acquire inputs from the recruitment
agencies on the challenges encountered in its operation, provide updates on the
policies affecting them, as well as to ensure that migrant workers’ rights are

In a message delivered by the former MOLE Director General Dong K. Anayatin,
Labor Minister Muslimin G. Sema emphasized that the ministry is striving hard
to implement policies in order to protect the rights of the migrant workers and
ensure fair treatment in recruitment processes.

“This summit provides a platform to converge and to forge collaborative
efforts for enhanced coordination and policy coherence,” Sema said.

“Looking back, the past two years affected not only us in the government,
but also those of you [recruitment agencies] who are engaged in the business of
employment and recruitment,” Sema recalled.

“This ministry understands the businesses have been experiencing difficulty
due to the pandemic crisis that is tracked not only here, but also in the global
scale,” Sema added.

Sema assured the public to improving its services and ensuring recruitment
processes are legal and within the ambient of the moral governance principle of
the Bangsamoro Chief Minister, Ahod B. Ebrahim.

Meanwhile, Marie Alyssa Dacasin, national project coordinator of
International Labor Organization’s BRIDGE project, discussed the Fair and
Ethical Recruitment including its general principles and operational

Dacasin hoped that recruitment agencies operating in BARMM are compliant
with the existing policies to prevent trafficking in persons among workers in
the region.

Dacasin also stressed that fair recruitment supports the decent work agenda
– one of the ILO’s primary goals.

On the other hand, Jala Grace Salas, project assistant of International
Organization for Migration, presented the overview of data and status of
Filipino migrant workers.

Salas said, for the global context, the objective of IOM is to be in line
with the sustainable development goals (SDG) which includes decent work and
economic growth, reduce inequalities, and establish partnership for the goals.

Moreover, recruitment agencies such as the MMML Recruitment Service, Inc.,
EJM (Excellent in Job Management) Manpower Service. Inc., Athenna International
Manpower Service, Inc., and Eastern Overseas Employment Center, Inc., presented
during the summit its agencies’ background, annual reports and challenges

Among the said agencies, the service providers such as the Everpoint
Security Agency and the Mindanao Skills and Language Training Center, Inc. also
presented its annual reports.

The BARAS is one of the activities of the ministry under the Bureau of
Employment, Promotion and Welfare supervised by its Director Sara Jane S.
Sinsuat which gathers accredited recruitment agencies operating in BARMM.

The accreditation of such agencies emanates from the Bangsamoro Autonomy Act
No. 9, “An Act Mandating All Licensed Local and Foreign Recruitment Agencies
Operating within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to
Register for Accreditation at the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE).”

Said autonomy act was authored by the former Labor Minister and current
Member of the Parliament Romeo K. Sema. It was ratified by the Bangsamoro
Transition Authority-Parliament on February 02, 2020. (MOLE-ICD)