Registered local and foreign recruitment agencies operating in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao gathered for the 2nd Bangsamoro Annual Recruitment Agency Summit on Tuesday, September 4, held at Em Manor Hotel, Cotabato City.

At the outset, Labor Minister Muslimin G. Sema underscored the significance of the summit as a platform for enhanced coordination and policy coherence aimed to monitor and regulate legal recruitment activities in BARMM.

“We must seize this opportunity to improve our services and ensure that our recruitment processes are legal and within the ambit of the Bangsamoro Government vision,” as quoted by MOLE Director General Datu Surab A. Abutazil, Jr. from the Minister’s opening statement.

On a technical note, Omar Shariff A. Pangilamen, Senior LEO of RAD-BEPW, tackled the salient points of 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).”

Pangilamen conferred the aspects of accreditation for recruitment agencies covered by BAA No. 09 to encourage said entities to undergo the same and to open more opportunities for Bangsamoro jobseekers as well. This was further emphasized by BEPW Chief LEO Yahiya B. Sabal, PhD as he went through an overview of the one-day summit.

President and CEO of Midmac Manpower Services and Placement Corp. Abdullah Y. Hadji Salam also graced the event. In his message, Hadji Salam extended his gratitude and support to the Ministry on its continued advocacy of promoting safe and legal recruitment in BARMM – benefiting both the agencies and the Bangsamoro jobseekers.

Moreover, Jhala Grace Salas, Project Assistant at International Organization for Migration, discussed the data and status of Filipino migrant workers. As IOM recognizes migration as a driver of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Salas highlighted decent work and economic growth; reduced inequalities; and partnerships for the goals as the upfront SDGs on their mission of promoting humane and orderly migration for all.

PESO Cotabato representative, Marilou M. Antonio, also gave her talk on foreign recruitment activities. This was backed by a discussion on enhanced labor migration governance through fair and ethical recruitment from the International Labour Organization, represented by Project Manager Jennylyn B. Aguinaldo.

Meanwhile, Kaagapay OFW Resource and Service Center, Inc. focal person Goldy Luck A. Amelio entailed their advocacy on supporting OFWs and their families by providing community-based assistance. Relatively, BDO Cotabato Branch Head Wyla Elinor A. Subaldo spoke on how their services can help secure overseas workers financially.

Further, representatives from other recruitment agencies – namely, MMML Recruitment Services, Inc.; Eastern Overseas Employment Center, Inc.; Mindanao Skills Language and Training Center, Inc.; Top High Global Resources, Inc.; International Multi-Services Agency; Athenna International Manpower Services, Inc.; East Transglobal Manpower Consultants, Inc.; and Prime Manpower Agency – relayed their respective agency’s background and data on OFW deployment.

Mary Jane M. Tamala, an ex-OFW, also came to share her experiences from working abroad. “Patience and honesty,” said Tamala, are the top qualities that every overseas worker should possess to uphold good employer-employee relationship. As an OWWB-MOLE beneficiary, Tamala also expressed that the assistance she received under the Ministry’s repatriation program helped her start anew.

The BARAS is one of the Ministry’s programs under its Bureau of Employment, Promotion and Welfare. Concluding the summit, BEPW Director Sara Jane S. Sinsuat imparted the core of BARAS as an avenue of forging agency partnerships to protect the rights and welfare of the Bangsamoro through fair and legal recruitment enacted from BAA No. 09.