Bishop urges stronger fight against illegal recruitment

Job seekers attend a job fair at a mall in Manila.

MANILA, June 22, 2016— A Catholic bishop called on the government to do more in putting an end to the exploitative practices of the fly-by-night recruitment agencies.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the CBCP Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, said authorities must exert all efforts to end the problem.

“Those illegal recruitment agencies should be closed, properties sequestered and money should be returned as reparations to the victims,” Santos said.

And instead of reinstating capital punishment, the bishop wants lifelong detention for convicts of illegal recruitment.

The church official said efforts must be made to stop illegal recruitment but death penalty should never be an option.

“Illegal recruitment is a heinous crime which deserve nothing but serious prosecution and severe punishment. This entails life imprisonment, to the utmost of reclusion perpetua,” Santos said.

The bishop said illegal recruitment is the “most cruel and brutal act a man can do to his fellow man” because “it violates human dignity and exploits human rights.”

“One’s life is in danger of death and destruction,” said Santos. “Also his family suffers separation and agonizes for the uncertainty of its illegally recruited family member.”

He also lamented that victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking are taken not as human beings but as “a tool for profit” or considered as “commodities.”

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has clarified reports that she is pushing for the inclusion of illegal recruitment among crimes punishable by death.

“I am pro-life and I remain so. I am not pushing for the death penalty because I firmly believe even the most-hardened criminal should be given a chance to change his ways and get back to his family and community to lead a transformed life,” she said.

But Baldoz believes “strong remedial measures” must be implemented to complement preventive efforts against the problem.(CBCPNews)

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