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3:05 am Monday, June 19, 2017

By: Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho

In some instances, seafarers are made to pay the expenses for the Pre -Employment Medical
Examination (PEME) once he failed the exam or his deployment did not push through.

POEA rules states that seafarer applicant shall be required to undergo medical/health
examination with a DOH-accredited medical clinic only (a) after the licensed manning agency
has interviewed the seafarer, and (b) and that there is a reasonable certainty that the seafarer
shall be hired and deployed to a ship of its principal/employer. (Section 68 of the 2016 Revised
POEA Rules and Regulations governing the recruitment and employment of Filipino seafarers)
Seafarers are not required to pay for the PEME expenses since these are considered
as processing fees required for deployment chargeable to principal/employer. However, in
case of seafarer’s failure or unjustified refusal to join ship after all processing fees have been
incurred by the principal/employer, the said fees shall be refunded by the seafarer within thirty
(30) days from demand.

Under pertinent rules and laws, some of the recruitment offenses related to PEME include:

1. charging or accepting directly or indirectly any amount of money, goods or services, or any
fee or bond for any purpose from an applicant seafarer;
2. collecting any amount as payment for processing, or documentation costs not prescribed by
the rules, or an amount greater than the actual documentation costs, as covered by official
receipts issued by entities where payments were made;
3. Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the seafarer in connection with his documentation
and processing for purposes of deployment, where deployment does not take place without
the seafarer’s fault; and
4. withholding or denying travel or other pertinent documents from an applicant seafarer for
monetary or financial considerations, or for any other reasons, other than those authorized.
For offenses (a) and (b), the penalty includes cancellation of License plus refund of fee or
bond collected. On the other hand, penalties for the less serious offenses in letter (c) and
(d) may vary based on the frequency of violations:

1st Offense — Suspension of License (2 to 6 Months)

2nd Offense — Suspension of License (6 Months and 1 day to 1 year)

3rd Offense — Suspension of License (1 year and 1 day to 2 years)

4th Offense — Cancellation of License

Money claims arising from recruitment violation may be awarded in addition to the
administrative penalties imposed. In lieu of the penalty of suspension of license, the POEA
may impose the penalty of fine which shall be computed at Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,
000.00) for every month of suspension.

The penalty of cancellation of license shall be imposed by the POEA upon a respondent found
liable for committing an offense, regardless of the number or nature of charges, against five
(5) or more workers in a single case. This provision shall not apply to consolidated cases
unless there are five (5) or more complainants in any of the consolidated cases.

Prescription: All cases shall be barred if not commenced or filed within three (3) years after
such cause of action accrued.

The revised rules was passed in accordance with the POEA’s policy, among others, to
uphold the dignity and fundamental human rights of Filipino seafarers navigating foreign seas,
and promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all