The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) has called on law enforcement agencies to act against a Philippine-based agency that has been allegedly charging fees to Filipino students participating in a scholarship program in Taiwan.
MECO chairman Silvestre Bello III also called on the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to blacklist the agency, which he did not identify.
The said agency allegedly collected P45,000 from each of the 32 students who recently arrived in Taipei on Nov. 2.
The funds were supposedly meant for airfare, visa fees, the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS), and the overseas employment certificate (OEC).
Bello said while the scholars were personally responsible for their student visa fee and plane ticket expenses, the OEC and PDOS requirements were extraneous and unnecessary.
The cost of a one-way plane ticket to Taipei is approximately P10,000, while the processing fee for a student visa is around P2,400. Only Filipino workers leaving to work abroad are required to obtain an OEC and undergo a PDOS, Bello said.
“Not only is the collection of OEC and PDOS fees excessive, but it is also clearly illegal.
This agency must be held accountable for their unethical actions. We need to protect these young individuals who have been given the opportunity to pursue their dreams through the scholarship program and prevent them from falling victim to such deceitful practices,” Bello said.
The scholarship is part of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy’s Academe-Industry Collaboration Program, which offers Filipino students a work-study opportunity.
The program is a three-year Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering majoring in Management (IEM), specially designed to integrate studies and internships over eight semesters.