If a policy can be called the "undead", I think ban of direct hiring can qualify as such. It just keeps on rearing its ugly head every time you think it is dead.
Around this time last year, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued Memorandum Circular No. 04 that prohibited direct hiring or sometimes called name hiring of Filipino migrants. Direct hiring is processing without going through recruitment agencies, thus exempting the applicant from paying placement fees that run up to more than P100,000 for DHs even though the legal limit is only the equivalence of a month's salary. This policy also carried the ridiculous employment bond brouhaha.
Due to the uproar MC-04 created, it was withdrawn after one month.
Now, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued a memorandum, (again!), banning direct hiring. But this time only targeting domestic helpers while for white-collars, direct hiring is limited to up to 10 employees per company. Like a broken record player, DOLE justified the rule to (again!) "protect OFWs."
Such a reason and such a rule are not new. In 1994, POEA issued MC-41 that basically said the same thing and also aimed for the same protection mantra. For years OFWs, especially in Hong Kong, campaigned against MC-41 and in 2001, DOLE issued Department Order No. 11 that revoked MC-41.
Now, DO-11 said: "In line with the State policy to afford adequate protection to Overseas Filipino Workers, POEA Memorandum Circular No. 41, Series of 1994, is hereby revoked".
What kind of a convoluted mind can use the same reason to justify two opposing sides – banning direct hiring and allowing direct hiring?
What is tricky about the new DOLE order is that it now focuses mainly, as I said, on DHs. This is probably because they were shaken by the reaction of the white-collar workers on the MC-04 and thought that professionals will now be more accepting of the ban.
But targeting only DHs should not make the ban more acceptable. In fact, it makes it more condemnable for it withdraws government responsibility to protect DHs who are very vulnerable during this time of crisis. It transfers such responsibility to recruitment agencies who we all know are mainly a blood-sucking bunch concerned only on how they can make the most from the migration process.
Agencies that provide a semblance of protection to OFWs and services to those in need are as rare as an honest word from GMA. But on second thought, honest and GMA don't really mix. So just think of Edward Cullen's family in Twilight.
But like in the same story, even "immortals" can die. They just need to get chopped into little pieces and burned to ashes.
This is probably what the ban also deserves.