Adelup is hopeful that they've reached an understanding with the Philippine government regarding the temporary exemption from the food and accommodation requirement for Guam contractors who recruit overseas Filipino workers.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration policies and employment standards already require overseas contractors to provide “food and accommodation or the monetary equivalent which shall be commensurate to the cost of living in the host country, or off-setting benefits” for overseas workers. However, the POEA allows for exemptions if the host country can demonstrate the ability to provide other benefits that will, at a minimum, offset costs of living. While there is no formal stipulation or agreement in place between Guam and the Philippines, the POEA has consistently approved Guam contractor applications for H-2B labor. Adelup added that this understanding has lasted for about 30 years.
In March, Philippine Consulate Office on Guam started enforcing the food and accommodation requirement, which meant requests sent to the office weren't sent, as previously practiced, to the Philippines, said Adelup spokeswoman Janela Carrera. The consulate office's actions raised concerns among local contractors who raised the issue to Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell’Isola and the governor. Dell'Isola and former Gov. Carl Gutierrez, who works for the Leon Guerrero administration, flew to the Philippines to discuss the issue with labor officials there.
The discussions were held with Philippines’ Secretary of Labor Silvestre H. Bello III, POEA Administrator Bernard P. Olalia, POEA Licensing and Regulation Office Director IV Ria Corazon S. Land, and POEA Chief Legal Counsel Harvey A. Dumbab. Dell’Isola and Olalia agreed to work together before the next POEA council meeting to develop a formal agreement that would give Guam a permanent country exemption to the food and accommodation requirement.