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Bicol politiko leads House probe on P530-M fraud targeting OFWs

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The House of Representatives will soon conduct an inquiry on the alleged fraudulent scheme preying upon poor applicants seeking employment in Kuwait.

Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda on Monday filed a resolution directing the appropriate committee in the Lower House to conduct an inquiry into the alleged P530-million fraud targeting applicants for jobs in Kuwait using a company known as Winston Q8 Certification Solutions, Inc. tapped by the Embassy of Kuwait.

“Those aspiring to work in Kuwait cut across all regions, and represent workers seeking a better life. We should not allow WINSTON Q8 to earn from the backs of these prospective overseas workers, especially not at the instigation of a foreign embassy. The House inquiry will help establish culpability in relation to this embassy-sponsored fraud and remedial legislation to further protect our OFWs,” Salceda said.

Salceda questioned the said “intrusive” policy of foreign embassies, particularly that of Kuwait. According to the Bicolano solon, the government must protect the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) against “questionable and highly irregular” medical screening and certification process being imposed by the said entity.

WINSTON Q8 describes itself as a company that represents the Ministry of Health of Kuwait here in the Philippines.

Salceda revealed that officers of accredited agencies sending OFWs to Kuwait, in a meeting with the Embassy of Kuwait, were informed that application will be acted upon if they do not conform with new certification and medical screening procedures thru WINSTON Q8 Certification Solutions.

“WINSTON Q8 charges P8,400.00 for every job applicant aspiring to work in Kuwait. Upon payment of said fee, the applicant can then register online using an activation code to be provided by WINSTON Q8.

After uploading the deposit slip as proof of payment and a scanned copy of his or her passport and photos, the applicant shall be made to choose from only seven (7) clinics for medical tests, with all the clinics based in Metro Manila.

Job applicants would have to go through WINSTON because the Embassy of Kuwait will not entertain any requests for visa stamping unless endorsed by the said company,” Salceda explained.