POEA boss sees writing on wall, starts packing

December 30, 2011

POEA boss sees writing on wall, starts packing
By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:30 am | Friday, December 30th, 2011

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz declined to comment on Carlos Cao’s departure from the POEA. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/NIÑO JESUS ORBETA
While there has been no official word from Malacañang, the head of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Carlos Cao Jr., said his bosses at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) had told him to prepare to vacate his post.

Cao said Thursday, “I was informed verbally a few days ago by higher-ups at DOLE that they want to replace me … but I have not received anything from the Office of the President.”

“Whether I’m finally replaced or not, I continue to believe in and support this administration. I have no rancor. I’m not angry. I continue to pray for this government to succeed,” he said in an interview.

Sources at DOLE last week hinted that Cao was on his way out, with Labor Undersecretary Hans Cacdac expected to replace him on Monday.

Cacdac and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz declined to comment Thursday on Cao’s departure from the POEA.

“I serve at the pleasure of the President,” Cao said. “I’ve already been here for nearly a year and I’m thankful for the opportunity given to me to serve our overseas Filipino workers.”

Cao said he was not aware of the reason for his impending removal.

“It’s beyond me. By the grace of God and the cooperation of our stakeholders, we have been able to improve the processing of our OFWs here at the POEA,” Cao said.

“When I arrived here, they would still be here up to 7 p.m. I’m now looking at our Balik Manggagawa (kiosks) and it’s only 3 p.m. but there are now only a few remaining people in the lines,” he said.

Cao said that there was also an improvement in the deployment of OFWs this year compared to 2010.

“There’s no issue against me but whatever is the decision of the higher-ups, I will comply. This has been a most cheerful time for me because I find joy in serving the people,” he said.

Cacdac, Cao’s expected replacement, is an old hand at the POEA, having served as deputy administrator in charge of licensing and adjudication from 2006 to 2010.

President Aquino appointed him undersecretary for labor relations in September 2010. Among the cases he handled was the labor row at Philippine Airlines, which remains turbulent to this day.

Cacdac has also occupied various positions at DOLE, among them, as director of the Bureau of Labor Relations and executive director of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.

A lawyer and multiawarded writer, Cacdac once served as coordinator for the Urban Poor Unity of the Ateneo University-based Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal.

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POEA gets new old boss

December 28, 2011

POEA gets new old boss
28-Dec-11, 12:19 PM | Veronica Uy, InterAksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines — There’s a minor shakeup at the Department of Labor and Employment as Undersecretary for Labor Relations Hans Cacdac is moved back to head the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), where he was deputy administrator before his appointment as labor undersecretary.

Cacdac replaces Carlos Cao for still unclear reasons, although sources said the long lines for getting the overseas employment certificates — a subject of many complaints from leaving migrant Filipino workers as well as their recruiters and employers — may have been one of the reasons for his replacement. Cao’s lackluster performance at the height of the repatriation of OFWs during the Arab Spring may have also been a factor.

Cacdac took his oath a week ago, and will assume the post on Monday, Jan. 2, at least two independent sources confirmed to InterAksyon.com. The sources asked not to be identified as they are not authorized to speak in behalf of the appointing authority.

Cacdac, a labor lawyer before joining government service, successfully advocated for the adoption of the International Convention on Domestic Workers in Geneva, among other achievements.

The POEA, together with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), is involved in helping regulate overseas employment. The POEA issues licenses to recruitment agencies.

He will be replaced by Rebecca Chato, a career official who was recently director of the Bureau of Labor Relations

Meanwhile, the Federation of Free Workers lauded the appointment of Chato, saying her “vast experience in social dialogue and her ability to relate to both employers and workers in a just and fair manner will be of great contribution to the DOLE’s effort of promoting industrial peace.”

“Chato deserves this new promotion, She is not afraid of tackling contentious labor relations issues,” said lawyer Sonny Matula, FFW national president.

FFW sees her as a labor advocate who knows the details in the complaints by different Philippine trade union groups at the International Labor Organization against the Philippine government over extra-judicial killings of labor leaders in 2009 and violations to freedom of association and right to collective bargaining.

Matula said Chato is helping craft “more out-of-the-box solutions” in these areas.