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Church, schools to work together to help children of OFWs

Catholic schools have called on a Church-based migrant workers’ group to closely work with them in the formation of minors whose parents are working abroad.

Father Edwin Corros, executive secretary of the Catholic Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant Peoples (ECMI), said they have received reports from Catholic schools about children of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) encountering difficulties in studies.

“It would be easier to form OFW support groups in various parts of the country because they would only do a simple survey to among elementary pupils and high school students who among have one or both parents abroad,” Corros was quoted in a report by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ CBCP News.

Corros added the school’s guidance counsellors have observed certain attitudinal problems from children of OFWs, including difficulties in comprehension and adjusting to regular school routines.

Corros said school teachers noted the below average scholastic performance which he attributed to lack of parental supervision.

“Ideally, parents have to be physically present to supervise their children but economic reasons made either or both parents leave for overseas employment,” Corros explained.

Some Filipinos are forced to work abroad away from their families due to financial reasons, particularly to better provide for children.

While the phenomenon of having one parent away to work abroad to work, there have been an increase of cases were both parents away to overseas jobs.

John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator of the overseas Filipino worker group, Migrante Middle East, said that due to dire situationin the country, parents are normally forced by dire circumstances to be employed abroad.

“Usually, it is the father or the mother leaves the country to work abroad. But if this is the case, the remaining parent will be forced to leave the country to work, too. This is no good as this obviously weakens family ties,” he said adding that while both parents are away, the burden of taking care of the children will be transferred to the aging grandparents.

By Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent

Visit: http://gulfnews.com/news/world/philippines/church-schools-to-work-together-to-help-children-of-ofws-1.638831

Filed under: Church, Education, Encouragement, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

POEA warns of fake Net job offers

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU/Manila Bulletin

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) advised Monday desperate job hunters hoping to work abroad to use their judgment and common sense when applying for a job on the Internet to avoid being scammed or fooled.

Hanz Cacdac, POEA deputy administrator, said many fake job offers posted on the Internet, particularly those for overseas employment come from sites in the United Kingdom, specifically London, and Canada and the United States.

“Meron tayong monitoring sa POEA on things posted on the Net. If you noticed doon sa mga violations, nag-i-issue tayo agad ng advisory para mapalinawagan agad ang publiko about these bogus job offers,’’ Cacdac said in an interview.

“Job seekers should really assert their selves before getting duped by scammers on the Net. They have to ask lots of questions or check the agency if it is licensed or accredited with us,’’ he said.

Cacdac said job offers sent via email seeking for addresses, personal numbers and money without any contract should be considered outright as a scam.

Asked if the phenomenon is alarming, the official said the agency will not take lightly the illegal work of recruitment agencies and will instead intensify its campaign against these bogus agencies.

He said this is also the reason why the POEA has partnered with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to track down violators.

“We have an ongoing briefing with the NBI on how to track sources of Internet post and e-mail. Traceable naman talaga siya and we do plan to have an operation lalo dun sa mga fraudsters na nandirito,’’ according to Cacdac.

As of last year, data received by the POEA from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in London showed than over 200 mails from job applicants and local recruitment agencies were recorded requesting for verification of the legality of the job offers they received through the Net.

Most jobs being offered on the Internet are those for professionals and skilled workers, including engineers, caregivers, hotel staff, store managers and salesperson.

Agencies usually showcase high salary offers and benefits to convince people to grab the opportunity.

Earlier, former labor secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas urged job seekers to always double check the job vacancies being offered and ensure that these are authenticated by the POLO or the embassy.

She reminded the public to be always cautious and to follow the proper process of applying for jobs as mandated in the POEA rules and regulation for overseas employment.

“Dalawa lamang ang tamang paraan ng pag-alis upang magtrabaho sa ibang bansa. Una ay sa pamamagitan ng regular recruitment system dito sa atin na siyang ginagawa ng mga licensed recruitment agencies for their accredited foreign principals o di kaya ay through a government-to-government arrangement,’’ she said.

“Ang ikalawa ay through a direct hiring arrangement kung saan ang foreign employer ay deretsahan hina-hire ang lokal na aplikante dito sa atin subalit ang pag-alis ng prospective OFW ay ayon pa rin sa documentation process ng POEA,’’ said Sto. Tomas.

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

Trafficking in humans hits worrisome level, says Ople

“The growing number of victims of human trafficking and contract substitution throughout the world pose a major challenge to the next administration. Increasing poverty has driven many Filipinos to clutch at empty promises of bogus recruiters and human traffickers,” said Susan Ople, president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center.

Ople, who recently received the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Achievement Award for advocacy, noted that the overwhelming support bestowed by overseas Filipino voters to president-elect Benigno Aquino Jr. comes with high hopes and expectations that the labor sector would receive the priority it deserves.

“The increasing trend towards contractual work has become a major push factor for migration as more Filipinos consider migration as the first option for economic advancement,” Ople said.

According to the Ople Center , the incoming administration should immediate embark on institutional and legislative reforms that would

1. Grant additional seats in the Board of Trustees to strengthen OFW representation in the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration while providing additional benefits to its members;

2. Allocate budgets for the immediate deployment of legal and social welfare attaches particularly to countries with a high incidence of human trafficking and other welfare cases, such as in destination points in the Middle East. Philippine Embassies and Consulates must be prepared to file cases against abusive foreign employers and agents, especially in cases involving contract substitution, rape and maltreatment of workers, rather than just repatriate the workers involved.

3. Establish one-stop inter-agency OFW assistance centers in provincial capitols to cut red tape and facilitate immediate services to OFW families particularly in the areas of repatriation, reintegration and legal assistance.

Ople noted that the early lead bestowed by overseas absentee voters to the soon-to-be-proclaimed president Noynoy Aquino has raised high expectations among leaders of various Filipino communities worldwide.

The youngest daughter of the late Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas F. Ople lost her first senatorial bid under the Nacionalista Party but vowed to continue her work as a labor advocate through the Blas F. Ople Policy Center.

“Even as we honor our modern-day heroes today, we all know that as their number rises, the more difficult it is for government to reach them at a time of personal or collective crisis. The solution remains here at home, where job creation is imperative and the quality of jobs must improve,” Ople said.

The OFW advocate also flagged increasing concern over rising tensions in the Korean peninsula where over 80,000 Filipino workers are based. “We need to keep an eye out and be more vocal about the need to defuse this ticking bomb in our backyard,” she stressed.

Source: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNation.htm?f=2010/june/8/nation3.isx&d=2010/june/8

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, OFW Scam, Illegal Recruiter, Overseas Jobs, ,

FilAmCCos annual celebration of Philippine independence

By: Filipino Star News

2010 Kalayaan Picnic

FilAmCCos annual celebration of Philippine independence. There were 30 plus Fil-Am organizations in Michigan that commemorated the event. Lots of food, fun and dancing!


2010 Kalayaan Picnic – University of Michigan Fil-Am Students dance number

Members of the Filipino American Students Association of University of Michign perform a dance number at the 2010 Kalayaan picnic held last June 5 at Halmich Park in Warren. There were some 30 plus FilAmCCo organizations that graced the annual celebration to commemorate Philippine independence from Spanish rule

2010 Kalayaan Picnic Square Dancing

Participants at the FilAmCCo’s 2010 Kalayaan Picnic dancing to Stevie Wonder’s “My Eyes Don’t Cry No More” held last June 5 at Halmich Park in Warren

Filed under: Family, Friends and Society, OFW Corner, Show your pride, Social Network, Sorsogon Expat's, Sorsogon News Updates, We will make you SHINE!, What's Happening Here?, Youth Community Service Groups, , ,

Next admin pressed on aid to OFWs

By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—As the country marked the 15th Migrant Workers Day on Monday, a former labor undersecretary called on the incoming administration to strengthen its delivery of effective and quicker assistance to distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), many of whom have become victims of human trafficking.

“The growing number of victims of human trafficking and contract substitution throughout the world poses a major challenge to the next administration. Increasing poverty has driven many Filipinos to clutch at empty promises of bogus recruiters and human traffickers,” said Susan Ople, president of the OFW advocacy group Blas F. Ople Policy Center.

Ople noted that the overwhelming support bestowed by overseas Filipino voters on apparent president-elect Benigno Aquino Jr. came with high hopes that the labor and OFW sector would receive the priority it deserved.

“Even as we honor our modern-day heroes today, we all know that as their number rises the more difficult it is for government to reach them at a time of personal or collective crisis. The solution remains here at home, where job creation is imperative and the quality of jobs must improve,” she said.

More than 8.2 million Filipinos live outside the country, including at least 4.25 million OFWs. They sent home P138 billion in remittances in 2009, accounting for about 10 percent of the gross national product.

High expectations

Ople said that Aquino’s lead in the overseas absentee voting had raised high expectations among leaders of various Filipino communities worldwide.

Due to the continuing global financial crisis and harder economic times, many Filipinos are seen to be considering the option, if not the necessity, of finding work abroad.

“The increasing trend toward contractual work has become a major push factor for migration as more Filipinos consider migration as the first option for economic advancement,” Ople said.

Ople, the youngest daughter of the late Foreign Secretary and Labor Secretary Blas F. Ople, lost her first senatorial bid under the Nacionalista Party but vowed to continue her work as a labor advocate through the center.

Migrant Workers Act

Migrant Workers Day is celebrated on the anniversary of the signing of Republic Act No. 8042, or the Migrant Workers Act of 1995.

While the Department of Labor and Employment and its attached agencies, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), were busy leading a program to honor OFWs at Rizal Park in Manila, some OFW groups were engaged in battles abroad to protect their sector.

The Quezon City-based Center for Migrant Advocacy is leading an Asia-initiated campaign at the ongoing International Labor Conference in Geneva to convince the governments to work for an international agreement that would set standards for domestic helpers.

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Migrante-Middle East issued a statement over the weekend calling on the Bureau of Internal Revenue to remind remittance firms that the OFWs need not pay documentary stamp tax when sending money home.

The Ople Center suggested several institutional and legislative reforms that the incoming administration should immediately embark on.

The center called for the granting of additional seats for OFW representatives on the OWWA board of trustees so that the agency could provide more benefits to its members.

One-stop assistance center

Ople said a one-stop interagency OFW assistance center should also be established in every province to cut red tape and facilitate the provision of services to OFW families, particularly in the areas of repatriation, reintegration and legal assistance.

She said the executive and legislative branches should also allocate budgets for the immediate deployment of legal and social welfare attachés to countries with a high incidence of human trafficking and other welfare cases, such as in destination points in the Middle East.

“Philippine embassies and consulates must be prepared to file cases against abusive foreign employers and agents, especially in cases involving contract substitution, rape and maltreatment of workers, rather than just repatriate the workers involved,” Ople said.

She said the Philippine government should be ready with its contingency plans for Filipino workers in countries facing crisis, such as South Korea, where there are over 80,000 OFWs.

“We need to keep an eye and be more vocal about the need to defuse this ticking bomb in our backyard,” she said, referring to escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula arising from the sinking of a South Korea naval boat by North Korea.

The number of overseas Filipinos is variously estimated at 8 million to 11 million, most of whom are OFWs.

Surveys on OFWs

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas estimates the number of Filipinos abroad as of December 2008 at around 8.2 million, of which 3.9 million were permanent residents, 3.6 million temporary (mostly workers) and about 650,000 irregular or undocumented.

The National Statistics Office’s survey of the 1.91 million OFWs who left the country in 2009 said most of the departing workers came from the Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon regions where job losses and factory closures were widespread at the height of the global financial crisis.

Of the OFWs who left in 2009, 52.1 percent were deployed to the Middle East, and 17.5 percent went to East Asian destinations such as Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.

Another NSO survey broke down the 1.91 million in terms of occupations, namely laborers and unskilled workers (32.3 percent), trades and related workers (14.9 percent), service workers and shop and market sales workers (14.8 percent), plant and machine operators and assemblers (13.9 percent) and professionals (10.1 percent).

The survey said 42.8 percent of the OFWs who left in 2009 were aged 25 to 34 years.

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, What's Happening Here?,

Business for OFW’s Returning to the Philippines

Identifying Small Business
Opportunities in the Philippines

Identify small business opportunities in the Philippines now and get started! Don’t wait until your contract abroad expires or until you retire before you start your own business.

You have the advantage of being gainfully employed as an Overseas Filipino.
Venture into a business using your specialized skill/knowledge, experience and capital that you gained from working and living abroad.

The process of identifying small business opportunities and choosing the number one opportunity should help you proceed.

Use these three simple steps to help you move forward.

Step 1: Create a list of potential small business opportunities in the Philippines and choose your top three options.

Write down ideas as they hit you – do not edit your thought. Make your list as ideas flow. Look for possibilities when reading the newspaper, or watching a talk show on TV, or browsing the Internet.

Take your time building this list, and then make a short list of three business opportunities. Choose the top three that you love the most. Get the three ideas that you are passionate about and that you think would appeal to customers.

Do not limit your choices to offline business ideas. The Web has provided a very good chance to set up a business and succeed online, so include online business ideas as well. Click here to find how you can take advantage of the way people use the internet for an online business.

Step 2: Assess and choose your number one from the list.
There is no magic formula in choosing the best small business opportunity that will succeed. Some guidelines can help, but use your own judgment in making a final decision.

  • Consider “profitability”. Demand and supply affects profitability. Demand is the desire of people to possess or make use of your product or service while supply is the amount of competition you face for your chosen business idea.
  • Reflect on your knowledge and passion. A business that you know best or are willing to learn and excites you the most would stand out. Malcolm Forbes once said, “The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy.”
  • Look for a business idea that has a “fair” return on investment. Decide what is “fair” to you. It is ok to have a business and not make money if you do it as a hobby. But why not earn from your hobby as well?
Step 3: Consider franchising.

Your number one choice may be among the small business opportunities in the Philippines under franchising.

Franchising is a good option. You will enjoy the popularity and support of the franchiser and other franchise holders. The franchiser will guide you in running the business as you start out.

Check several franchisers of the same product or service. Visit their offices and attend product or service presentations to help you decide which is the best franchise for your business. Some may have special offers for Overseas Filipinos.

Finding the right franchiser to work with is just a part of running a successful business. What matters is your passion and interest to what you will be doing. Go back to Step 1 as needed to find the right business for you.

Go through these steps in identifying small business opportunities in the Philippines. The right business opportunity may be just under your nose…

Some Ideas for Small Business Opportunities in the Philippines

Learning how to invest in real estate with these 4 techniques can provide Overseas Filipino Workers extra income. Borrow private money and tell lenders that this is one of the safest ways to invest money.

Setting up an Internet cafe business offers huge potential for Overseas Filipinos. Start making your internet cafe business plan now before coming home for good to the Philippines.

Internet cafe business has a huge potential in the Philippines. This internet cafe business plan and franchise sets up the business right for OFWs and Overseas Filipinos.




Filed under: Business Ideas for OFW Families, Invest in Sorsogon, Kwentong OFW, Livelihood, OFW Corner, OFW Livelihood Training,

National Migrants’ Day

In recognition of the great contributions of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to nation-building, National Migrants Day is celebrated on June 7 each year.

The theme for the 15th National Migrants Day, “Migranteng Pinoy: Tagumpay sa Hamon ng Panahon, Kaagapay sa Pagsulong (Filipino Migrants: Success over the Challenge of Time, Partner in Progress)” highlights the resolve of the OFWs not only to make their and their families’ life more productive, but also to make worthwhile contributions in development, including raising money for medical equipment to funding capacity-building and microfinance for farmers.

The number of OFWs is not just rising in numbers but also in impact on the economy of the country. OFWs leave their homes in search of better-paying jobs abroad and contribute in keeping the economy afloat through their remittances to their families.

But working abroad and away from one’s family is a sacrifice. Behind the rosy picture of Filipino families living in financial stability with one or two members holding good-paying jobs abroad, leaving home exposes the OFW to bouts of loneliness, discrimination, and in the course of their employment, they are subjected to contract violations, abuse, and exploitation.

Despite the negative aspects of being an OFW, thousands of Filipinos leave for employment abroad each day. Truly they are our modern-day heroes who have helped our country achieve economic progress in the face of international fiscal turmoil.

Philippine expertise in labor working abroad is the country’s niche in the globalized world and should be given full support as part of the country’s national development agenda.


Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/260829/national-migrants-day

Filed under: Inspiration, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

PhilHealth opens office in Riyadh

By RODOLFO ESTIMO JR. | ARAB NEWS

RIYADH: Philippine Health Insurance Corporation President and CEO Rey B. Aquino and representatives from Enjaz and Development Bank of Philippines (DBP) signed Friday night a manifesto during the launching of the first PhilHealth office in the Middle East at the Riyadh Palace Hotel.

Amanat Ali, Enjaz correspondent banks’ manager, represented Sami Al-Rajhi, head of Enjaz Network Group, while Abdullah “Johnny” P. Gacuan represented DBP.

“The manifesto is in support of PhilHealth’s campaign to serve Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom by looking after their health insurance needs as well as those of their beneficiaries,” Aquino said.

PhilHealth’s OFW members will exclusively remit their memberships dues to the Philippines through DBP-Enjaz. PhilHealth is the government corporation administering the national health program of the Philippines. Addressing the crowd during the event, Aquino said that recent reports showed that Saudi Arabia again topped the list of land-based OFW destinations, and the increase in the number of deployments in this country went up by 11.7 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.

“Almost a million OFWs were deployed in Saudi Arabia last year in the skilled category. With this trend in OFW deployment, it is imperative that we educate our OFWs about their health insurance benefits so that they will have peace of mind while they toil in this oil-rich Middle Eastern country,” Aquino said.

Aquino added that PhilHealth can assist on questions regarding membership amendments and  member data records.

He also said that PhilHealth  can also accept claims and will distribute fliers to drum up interest among OFWs in the Kingdom and neighboring countries regarding their health insurance needs.

“Eventually, our desk will receive premium payment amounting to SR81 per year. Note that OFW members are paying less compared to what other members in the other paying categories remit,” he said.

“We recognize the fact that OFW remittances made through banks for the first quarter of this year reached $4.3 billion, a major bulk of which came from the Middle East. This implies that there’s a strong demand for Filipino skills in almost every major industry in the Middle East and this demand translates to better opportunities for our skilled workers and to our economy as well.”

He thanked Ambassador Antonio P. Villamor, outgoing Labor Attache Rustico dela Fuente (to be cross-posted to Brussels, Belgium) and incoming Labor Attache Albert Valenciano for their help in the launching of PhilHealth’s office in Riyadh.

Earlier, PhilHealth offices were also established in Hong Kong and Macau. Another office will also be set up in Singapore soon.

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

Group to Noynoy: Reveal plan to save OFWs

By Dennis Carcamo (philstar.com)

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino migrant workers’ rights group has called on presidential frontrunner Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to reveal his plans to save Filipino laborers now languishing on death row in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Monterona said it would be better for Aquino to divulge his administration’s plans to at least give legal assistance to the more than 20 overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia jails.

Monterona made an appeal after a convicted Sudanese man was beheaded in Assir region, southwestern Saudi Arabia, last June 5 for murder.

“Aquino wouldn’t want to witness an OFW-on-death row execution or beheading under his term; then he must exert all efforts in saving OFWs on death row,” he said.

He said families and relatives of these OFWs have beeen complaining that the Department of Foreign Affairs seldom gives them an update on the condition or the status of the OFWs’ cases.

“Assuming that an OFW on death row has indeed committed the crime, he still deserves to be given legal assistance by hiring a local lawyer for his defense, and this is a basic and inalienable human right – the right to defend ones’ self in court, even in a shariah court,” Monterona said.

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

Pinoys warned vs direct hiring scam in Italy

By Jocelyn Ruiz, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

ROME – Filipinos looking for employment in Italy are warned against illegal recruitment agencies that are reportedly using the direct hiring system to entice OFWs to apply as seasonal workers in the country.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) said some agencies are charging OFWs exorbitant fees when they apply as direct hire seasonal workers.

“May reports na nakarating sa amin na may mga tao na nagha-hire sa Pilipinas at pinagbabayad ng P500,000 to P600,000 para pumupunta dito. Walang ganun dito at dini-discourage po natin at nagbigay na tayo ng advisory sa POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration),” said Labor Attache Chona Mantilla.

According to POLO, the Direct Hiring 2010 in Italy is only for domestic helpers and caregivers.

Earlier news reports said the Italian government will open an entry quota on direct hiring or decreto flussi 2010 for migrant workers in Italy. This is also the chance for many Filipinos to bring their families or relatives to work in Italy.

However, the Italian government has no open quota for direct hiring for seasonal workers or decreto flussi per lavoro stagionale 2010 for Filipino migrants.

“Ang Pilipinas ay hindi kasama sa mga countries na may bilateral agreement for seasonal workers. Totoo na may 80,000 na seasonal workers na ang Italian government ngayon na binibigyan ng flussi but sad to say hindi tayo kasama doon,” said Mantilla.

POLO estimates that around 140,000 Filipinos are living in Italy, compared to the 100,924 data from the Ministero Dell Interno last July 31, 2009. This number does not include undocumented workers.

Meanwhile, data gathered by the Isituto Nazionale Di Statistica (ISTAT) or Institute on National Statistics revealed that there are 113,686 documented Filipinos living in Italy in 2008, as compared to the 105, 675 data ISTAT estimated in 2007.

The data gathered makes Filipinos the 6th largest foreign population group in Italy, behind Romania (796,477); Albania (441, 396); Morocco (403, 592); China (170,265); and Ukraine (153,998).

The seasonal worker is a short-term contract employment like farm jobs or more on agriculture, and summer job vacancies like working in hotels, restaurants and resorts.

 

Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/06/05/10/pinoys-warned-vs-direct-hiring-scam-italy

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, OFW Scam, Illegal Recruiter, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

OFWs to be given tribute

THE nation will give tribute to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during the Migrant Workers’ Day on Monday.

The special event acknowledges the social and economic advancement of the OFW families and the country, said administrator Carmelita S. Dimzon of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.  Last year’s OFW remittances exceeded P17 billion.

The simultaneous festivities nationwide include entertainment, gift-giving, games for the enjoyment and convenience of OFWs and their family members. About 40,000 families of overseas Filipino workers in 17 regions will be involved in the festivities.

At the National Capital Region (NCR), Labor Secretary Marianito D. Roque will lead the events. Activities at the Ninoy Aquino Memorial Stadium include a parade of delegates, OFW Family Circle Olympics, a photo exhibit, induction of new officers of the OFW NCR Federation, audio-visual presentation, dance performance by the OFC Youth Movers, and musical numbers by the Bloomfields Band and the Bayang Barrios String Quartet.

Roque, Dimzon and a representative of sponsor Globe Telecoms will give awards to the outstanding land-based and sea-based OFWs, the financially/physically challenged OFW, and the most senior OFW attendee.

This year’s celebration focuses on the theme “OFWs: Tagumpay sa Hamon ng Panahon, Kaagapay sa Pagsulong.” The celebration revolves around the milestones and the Filipino workers’ accomplishments during the last 10 years in spite of major global and local crises. 

By: Recto O. Mercene

visit: http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=26086:ofws-to-be-given-tribute&catid=23:topnews&Itemid=58

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner

‘Araw ng Pasasalamat’ honors 40,000 OFWs’ families

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Friday announced that 40,000 families of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in 17 regions will be given tribute on Monday during the Migrant Worker…

Source:
‘Araw ng Pasasalamat’ honors 40,000 OFWs’ families

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

NO SURPRISE IN NEWS OF OFWS’ POVERTY

The story on our front page yesterday did not surprise anybody who has been watching the labor-export phenomenon in our country.    

     

Father Edwin Corros, the executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said 60 percent of the families of migrant Filipinos remain poor. These are relatives of unskilled Overseas Filipino Workers. They end up with nothing when the OFW breadwinners come home. They have no savings. They have not been able to put aside a portion of the monthly remittances from abroad to start and maintain a business.

They have no savings because the poor Filipinos, so used to their hand-to-mouth existence day-after-day, have not developed the savings habit that even the poor in China, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia have. The Philippines are only better than the Burmese and the Cambodians when it comes to the people’s savings rate.

The absence of social security, healthcare insurance and government or charity-institution subsidies for health care for the poor also contributes to the poverty and zero-savings of these OFW families. For even the families that do have the savings habit can only save ever so little. When serious illness strikes them, all their puny savings go to defray the cost of hospitalization and medicine. When the afflicted member of the family dies, burial expenses become the funding problem.


   A bit of good news from the ILO

 The International Labor Organization (ILO) has awarded P4 million to an insurance company—Pioneer Life Inc.—for its innovative project: the “Pamilyang OFW Savers and Wellness Club.” Pioneer Life Inc. was among 18 ILO grantees. There were 200 applicants.    

The Pamilyang OFW Savers and Wellness Club was organized under the auspices of Fr. Corro’s CBCP commission, the ECMI, short for the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI). The aim is to encourage workers and their families to wisely manage their finances.    

The program encourages each family to develop the habit of saving and build enough savings to allow for the early return of OFWs to their families.    

Launched in July 2009, the OFW Savers and Wellness Club is now in six dioceses and has 900 members.
They participate in financial literacy workshops. Their savings in the Club get higher interest rates than in ordinary banks. They have personal accident insurance and life insurance policies, get cash assistance for burial, and have privileges from corporations that have become partners of the club.   
 

The paucity of help from other sectors—including the government—makes projects like this between organs of the Catholic Church and the private sector an important preserver of stability and order in the Philippines. Without such projects, there would be more desperate poverty and discontent.    

The participation of dioceses of the Catholic Church and the ECMI commission of the CBCP in these projects provide the insurance companies a comforting assurance that things will go well.    

Reintegration of returned OFWs    

The OFW Savers and Wellness Club project, Fr. Corros explained, is part of the reintegration program the Catholic Church has been pursuing for OFWs. Fr. Corros, at the launching of the Pioneer Life project Monday, repeated an observation frequently aired by critics of the Department of Labor and Employment’s agencies tasked with looking after the so-called heroes whose remittances make up the most solid pillar of the Philippine economy.    

The priest said, “The government has not introduced a doable reintegration program.”    

Government action to help OFWs reintegrate themselves into the domestic workforce is mere lip service, people who know the situation—like the OFWs themselves and such concerned leaders as Susan Ople of the Blas Ople Policy Center—assert.    

The DOLE’s Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is supposed to have a bureau devoted to assisting returned OFWs to reintegrate. But the office has no proper head whose duty is to operate reintegration programs and be accountable for failure to do so.    

The OWWA has billions of pesos. But OFWs, who pay US$25 to become current OWWA members each time they have a new contract with an employer, complain that it does not adequately promote their welfare.    

Open letter from OFWs    

Last week, OFWs from various countries, wrote an open letter to future president Noynoy Aquino.    

They comprehensively reviewed the Philippine migration situation. They recounted how “Migration gains are mainly remittances by overseas Filipinos to their family members, which are now in the region of US$17 billion and are the primary source of livelihood for millions of Philippine households. At 10.8 percent of the country’s GDP, they are also the third biggest source of the country’s foreign currency reserves and act as primary driver for our economy, shielding us from bankruptcy during the financial crisis in 1997 and the current one.    

“The Filipino diaspora, estimated now at about 10 million working or residing in 239 countries and territories worldwide, send back donations to various humanitarian causes, such as disaster–relief, medical missions, schoolhouses, and other infrastructure.” In addition many OFWs have actually made investments in real estate and entrepreneurial ventures here.    

But the OFWs pointed out the social costs of the OFW phenomenon.    

Their main message to future president Aquino is something all rational Filipinos know: That the OFW program, the export of Filipino talent and warm bodies abroad, must not be a permanent development strategy of the government. It must only be seen as a stopgap measure. Mr. Aquino’s administration must, as he himself has promised, work to make the Philippines have the jobs in industries, agribusiness and agri-industry, and other areas so that Filipinos will no longer be forced to work abroad.    

Source: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/component/content/article/83-opinion-columnist/18765-no-surprise-in-news-of-ofws-poverty    

 

 

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, What's Happening Here?, ,

9 Tips and Guides to Succeed as Overseas Filipino Worker

By: Pinoy-OFW.com

When you leave the Philippines to work overseas, you probably have set your objectives already. Earn bigger wages, save most of them and return home may be one of them. But in reality, working overseas is more likely to be complicated than what we initially imagined. There are many distractions that dissuade us from pursuing our goals.

Many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) spent many years working abroad yet they found themselves almost empty handed and unable to figure out why they were unable to save by the time they decided to go back to the Philippines. Remember that a high paying job does not guarantee savings, if you are not diligent in doing so. Or if unfortunate things happen (you figure in an accident or get sick, you get duped, you get laid off from work, etc).

hk-filipinas
Filipina domestic helpers spend their day off at a Hong Kong street. Photo credit: Ian Riley

Successful Overseas Filipino Worker sounds very subjective. But for the sake of this article, let’s say successful OFW is one who is able to provide the needs of his/her family along with sustainable source of livelihood long after he/she decides to go back home for good.

Therefore, if you don’t want to take the same route as these ill-fated OFWs and instead be successful, the following tips may be helpful to you.

1. Apply the job without spending a fortune. It is not practical to spend a fortune to land an overseas job, no matter how high-paying it promises. Many Filipinos take the radical route of selling farming lands, houses and other family properties to pay for placement fee for a job that pays only a fraction of that amount. While you successfully get the job, your family’s livelihood or convenience is compromised, putting you in a bind to contribute a significant amount of your earnings on a regular basis. This becomes the main reason why OFWs are unable to save for themselves.

2. Save before you spend. The fact that you are receiving much higher salary abroad than what you did back in the Philippines is a big temptation to spend more. After all, you have the money to spend, right? You might say you deserve a new car or a fine piece of luxury jewelry after all the hard work. That’s not a problem only if you already managed to save a reasonable amount on a regular basis. That amount may be from 5% to 15% of your monthly income. Many Filipinos want a taste of luxury even for a short while, only to regret what they did. You can be like them, but make sure you put money into the piggy bank first.

3. Become a property investor. Investing in farmland, house for rent or lots is a wise investment with guaranteed yields better than passenger jeepneys or sari sari store because they require a bit less maintenance and whose value doesn’t depreciate as much as others.

4. Invest in retirement savings plan, educational plan or life insurance. Even when you’re working abroad, be diligent in contributions to SSS, Pag-Ibig Fund and educational fund for children or future children as well as health and life insurance to safeguard financial security during challenging times.

5. Educate your family members on spending your remittance. Don’t make your beneficiaries think making money abroad is an easy task. Instill in them the value of saving and less reliance on your money remittance (or balikbayan boxes). By doing so, family members are motivated to help stretch the budget and save whatever you send instead of immediately seeking help from you for financial assistance.

6. Don’t pretend to be a millionaire when you’re not. Sometimes, neighbors have this mentality that if you are on vacation, you are poised to give away stashes of money or bags of chocolates. And many OFWs oblige to avoid being maligned as too prudent and don’t know how to share. Sharing what you have is a good gesture but it does not need to be too extravagant that it’s like starting from scratch when you return to work abroad. What about if your company suddenly shut down or have to let go of people (you included) due to financial difficulties? Or you got sick and unable to go back to work?

7. Think of a good investment while you’re abroad. If you are business-minded you can think of ways to establish business in your home town. Internet cafe for computer-literate family members, eatery for cooking mothers and siblings or a business center offering photocopying, typing, and book binding near a school. Don’t invest on a business you have no idea how it’s run. You better save your money in a bank than get involved in a highly risky business venture.

8. Think of acquiring new skills. Acquiring new skill can be accomplished through short-term courses such as dressmaking or cooking courses. Or maybe enroll in a distance learning institute. Other skills are not necessarily for livelihood but are good to have, such as guitar or karate lessons. Being an OFW should not limit you to be part of working class only.

9. Set short-term, middle-term and long-term plans. By planning on a short- (within the year), medium- (2-4 years) and long-term (5 years or more) plans, we are more focused on what we can accomplish on a daily basis. Do I want to own a new house within two years? Do I want to go back home in five years? Can I establish my own business before I reach the age of 40? Draft your own plans first and you’ll be able to steer towards a clearer direction.

These are practical tips that are not hard to do. Even the lowest paid Filipino abroad can still be a candidate to succeed in life overseas. It just begins with forward thinking, a little self sacrifice and focus on achieving dreams.

Filed under: Business Ideas for OFW Families, Encouragement, Entrepreneurs, Financial Literacy, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

How to be become a successful OFW

How to succeed as an OFW:

There are many Overseas Filipino Workers who work abroad for many years but are not successful and no investments were acquired by the time that they have already retired.

The worst situation is that there are some OFWs who have been in an accident
overseas which prevented them from working again. Regardless of working in or outside the Philippines, Filipino worker should know how to value his labor and sacrifices while aiming for his dreams.

The following tips are worth reading that will serve as guides for typical
Overseas Filipino Workers. Information given is based on my own experiences and from the experiences of other fellow Overseas Filipino Workers.
  1. Do not spend too much of your income. Not because you are earning big now and you have extra money, you are going to spend too much for your vices and unnecessary things. Some Filipinos who are only on a temporary working visa are buying luxury and brand new cars which I think is not necessary. If your earnings are high, it should be okay but I know some Overseas Filipino Workers who buy expensive and brand new cars but do not have any investment on important properties yet. They could not even eat proper meals anymore as luxury is more important to them. They are not thinking that their job abroad is just temporary, anytime they can be sent back home if some unpleasant situation happened such as war, bankruptcy, slow economy or as I have mentioned above, when they become paralyzed and couldn’t work anymore after an accident.
  2. Always keep some income for savings. Save some of your income in Philippine banks as well as banks in the country where you work. And because you will stay abroad for about two years or more, it’s better that you’ll keep your money in a term of savings where you can earn more interest such as Time Deposit or Funds. Some Philippine banks offer special savings program for Overseas Filipino Workers and their beneficiaries.
  3. Obtain pension plans for retirement, savings fund, children’s educational plan, health insurance or life insurance. Get more if you can, although you already have the OWWA Benefits or Social Security Insurance (SSS) or Pag-Ibig, it is also better to get another one from private insurance company.  It is not always safe to work anywhere, you will never know if you can have an accident in the future that will prevent you to engage in any kind of jobs again. Having some insurance is always a big help.
  4. Once you start receiving your salary and suppose you have no debts to pay anymore, make sure you would invest in a property first. If you will buy some property, its’ value does not go down; it’s always accumulating or increasing every year. House and Lot or Lot is the best investment of all.
  5. If you want to build a house, unless you already got many houses, it is better to build an apartment first to have some additional income. Your wife/husband is in Philippines can take care of your property in case you want them to be a commercial or residential apartment for rent. If you are earning from the rental of your apartment, you may now save your income and with some additional money from the last few years of working abroad, you can build a new house again for your family.
  6. Do not give so much allowance to your beneficiaries that could only make them spend your remittance for unnecessary things as well. You should let them know how hard it is to work in a foreign land and earn that money that you are sending for them. You should let them know how to spend wisely as well.  Do not stay quiet or ashamed to tell and explain how hard it is to work as Overseas Filipino Workers abroad to your family. If they do not know about your real situation, they would just think that you are just “collecting” money while you’re walking on the road. So, they would just spend your remittance on things that are unnecessary.
  7. If you cannot bring your family while you are working abroad and your vacation is not yet due, why not try bringing them to your country of work. Sometimes, you need to spend a little to maintain the relationship and bonding of your family.
  8. If you are on vacation, do not spend all your savings thinking that you still have a job in abroad upon returning there. It is not always like that. I have someone that I knew, who had bought brand new car, spent most of his savings while on vacation but by the time that this fellow overseas Filipino worker is now going back to work abroad, his employer’s company suddenly closed. He did not know that the company was already failing and facing bankruptcy.
  9. Rather than spending too much of your savings on less important things, just improve your skills. You will never know that your current job will still be on demand after one or two years. You should try to be knowledgeable of other types of skills and profession.  If you are a carpenter, acquire some skills that could help you to become a contractor just in case you want to have your own business and would like to get your own carpenter to do the jobs.
  10. Do not start your own business if you do not have any idea about the business. Do not just listen with other people’s suggestions, think about it. It is not because having an Internet Cafe is one of the good businesses these days, you will engage yourself with that same business even you do not know anything about computers.If you have an experience in carpentry jobs, start business that is related to carpentry such as cabinet making, construction materials retail, painting etc. Do not engage in other kinds of business unless you have also experienced it before. This is not the proper way to do business. Put up a business that you  are familiar with and that you most love to do.
Tips and advice above are just guide and suggestions for Filipino Workers.
It’s still up to the person if he/she would like to follow other
people’s suggestions. Not anything that had happened to you is other
people’s responsibility it’s your own responsibility…
Source: PINOYROCK45

Filed under: Business Ideas for OFW Families, Encouragement, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

Lessons from thousands of miles away

By Chao Wai Yee /philstar.com

Being a child of a modern-day hero, also known as OFWs, taught me a lot of valuable lessons. My mother, being a single parent since I was three years old, worked abroad for eight years in order to raise me and my brother. At first, she worked in Taiwan as a sewer. After her contract in Taiwan ended, she transferred to Saudi where she almost got herself in prison because she fought for her rights. Fortunately, her employer gave her the option to just go back in the Philippines.

This incident did not stop her for striving hard. She went back to Taiwan and worked there as a caregiver. These things happened while me and my brother were in our adolescence — a stage crucial to most of the youth, a stage wherein most of us needs proper guidance from our parents. Despite my mother’s physical absence, she did not fail to guide us the best possible way that she can. Together with all her sacrifices, hardships, longings, sleepless nights and thousands liters of tears, she taught us values that we will treasure for the rest of our lives.

First, she taught us to always strengthen our faith in God no matter what happens. In telephone conversations and in her letters, she kept on telling us that our strong faith is the first thing that will keep our family together and will help us succeed in overcoming the obstacles we will face in our lives. Then, she taught us to be independent in a responsible way. During grade school, we learned to cook, wash our own clothes and be responsible for our own stuffs. This helped us to become more mature than other children we know. Third, it is the value of education, which I think is one of the things that most parents would want to teach to their children. My mother instilled in our minds on how important it is for us to study hard and finish our studies no matter what the obstacles are. That is why, I am proud to say that Kuya and I are both scholars and I graduated from a reputable school with flying colors. These are our gifts to our mother, which brought her so much happiness and seeing her happy is one of the greatest feelings I have ever felt and would always want to feel.

Last but definitely not the least is the value of contentment and appreciation. Because with contentment comes appreciation. She taught us to value whatever it is that we have especially the people surrounding us, loving us and acting as our second parents during Mama’s physical absence. We learned to appreciate our aunts, uncles and grandparents who never failed to fill our hearts with their loves so as to ease the sadness that we feel whenever we miss our mother. Because of them, it has been a lot easier for us to grow up righteously even without our parents. I will seriously not trade my family for even all the treasures in this universe. Also, we learned to appreciate and be thankful for even the smallest things that we get. Be it a piece of toy, clothes or anything for we know that each of this is the result of our mother’s hard work and sacrifices abroad. These are some of the lessons she taught us from thousands of miles away.

OFW’s around the world are sacrificing a lot for the sake of their loved ones, especially the parents who are forced to be physically far from their children just to support their financial needs. I hope that we, OFW children, don’t waste our parents’ efforts and sacrifices abroad. Let us not make the physical absence of our parents and loved ones as an excuse for us to be irresponsible be an additional burden to our society.

Filed under: Encouragement, Inspiration, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, Youth

236 distress OFW nurses, medical workers to troop inside the Philippine Consulate to demand action on their complaints against erring employer, OFW group throws support

after being neglected on their legitimate demands against their erring employer, 236 distress OFW Nurses and polyclinic workers in Jeddah, western capital of Saudi Arabia, will be trooping in today inside the Philippine Consulate General offices to demand immediate action on their legitimate complaints against their employer, a migrant rights group said.

Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said that Migrante officers are now in talk with OFW nurses and polyclinic workers working for Al Ansar Hospital located at Al Salama district, Jeddah, after the distress OFWs have sought their assistance.

“They are complaining of non-payment of their salary for 6 months now which they are pursuing to be released immediately amid the impending closure of the hospital, and are demanding that they all be given release papers so that they could look for possible employment,” Monterona quoting one of the OFW nurses, who requested her name to be withheld, during a telephonic conversation about their case.

There are 236 OFWs working in the hospital, but 50% of these are polyclinic workers, while 50% are nurses.


“The OFW nurses have told us that the Governor of Jeddah has already ordered Al Ansar management to release all its affected workers including the OFW nurses and polyclinic medical workers due to its impending closure, but the hospital’s management is not keen on following such order,” Monterona added.

Monterona said out of the 236 OFWs working at Al Ansar hospital and polyclinics, only 59 has been given released papers as of yesterday (1 June 2010) and are still awaiting for the release of their 6 months unpaid salaries.

“But here’s the rub, the Philippine Overseas Labor attaché seems to be paying only lip service on the complaints of the 236 distress OFW nurses and medical workers as until now it has never negotiated the release of the others and especially the unpaid salaries and other entitlement due them,” Monterona said.

Monterona added this forced the 236 OFW nurses and medical workers to decide to troop-in inside the Philippine Consulate General offices in Jeddah this afternoon (1:00pm, Saudi time) to bring their case to the attention of Consul General Ezzadin Tago and demand for its prompt action on their legitimate issues and concerns.

“We deplore the ineptness of Labor Attache Vicente Cabe in handling this case, that instead of giving support and providing guidance and proper representation for the 236 distress Nurses and medical workers who have been harassed by the hospital’s management, he had compromised the rightful demands of releasing the unpaid salaries of the OFW nurses and medical workers, and is slacked in getting the released papers of the OFW nurses and medical workers from their employer-sponsor,” Monterona added.

Migrante-Middle East calls on DoLE Sec. Marianito Roque to remind his labor attaché in Jeddah that he is there at the post to serve and properly represent troubled OFWs in relation to their legitimate labor demands against their erring employers, not to work at the latter’s mercy.

“We would like to convey to President-apparent Benigno Ninoy Aquino Jr. to order his own appointed Labor dept. secretary to replace all inept labor attaches from various labor overseas offices abroad especially in the Middle East,” Monterona ended. (Bulatlat.com)

Reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, , ,

Filipinos warned against looking for jobs in Macau

Filipino jobseekers, especially those with only tourist visas, were warned Tuesday against seeking work in Macau as the special administrative region is giving priority to local hires.

It is no longer easy to get jobs as walk-in applicants in the region, Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said, citing a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Macau.

In an article on the Labor Department website, Roque also warned Filipino jobseekers against falling for unscrupulous individuals or entities who may bring them to Macau as tourists with promises of jobs.

Instead of finding jobs, he said these jobseekers may find themselves in dire straits due to the new Macau restrictions against foreign workers.

Roque advised workers to verify first with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) the legality of jobs being offered in Macau.

In 2009, POEA deployed 6,729 OFWs to Macau, most of whom were employed in the tourism sector.

But the Macau government passed the Law for the Employment of Non-residential Workers, or the Law on Imported Labor, to safeguard the employment of local workers and restrict the hiring of migrant workers there.

The new law took effect last April 26.

In its report, the POLO in Macau said the draft administrative regulations complementing the new law have already been submitted to the Macau government’s Executive Council.

In view of the new law, the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (FAOM) presented 10 demands to the Macau Department of Transportation and Public Works to protect local workers and prevent the illegal employment of foreign workers.

The union asked the Macau government to, among others, prevent the hiring of foreign workers in occupations such as drivers and floor supervisors in casinos, and in the industrial and construction sectors as well.

As this developed, the POLO-Macau has consulted the Macau Labor Affairs Bureau for a symposium aimed at orienting the OFWs in Macau on the new law.

Macau, a former Portuguese colony, is one of the two special administrative regions in China, the other one being Hong Kong.

Its economy is based largely on tourism, gaming, and hospitality industry which contribute more than 50 percent of its gross domestic product.

Other chief economic activities in this administrative region are export-geared textile and garment manufacturing, banking and other financial services. -

By : JMA, RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, POEA-Advisory,

Gay ban in Saudi hit

By Wheng Hidalgo/abs-cbnNEWS

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino lesbian worker hit a memorandum banning members of the third sex from working in Saudi Arabia.

“Dubz” (not her real name) felt bad that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) will not be allowed to gain employment in the Kingdom.

Dubz was supposed to return to Saudi Arabia as a caregiver.

“Masakit sa amin. Discrimination iyon. Kapag kailangan magbuhat kami ang tinatawag, di na inoobliga ang mga lalaki. Trabahong babae kaya namin, trabahong lalaki kaya din namin,” Dubz said.

She, however, still appealed to the Saudi government not to ban LGBT workers in the Kingdom.

It can be recalled that the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Manila issued a memorandum to all its accredited recruitment agencies from accepting gays and lesbian applicants.

The embassy stated that “officials of recruitment agencies who are responsible in conducting interviews of job applicants to Saudi Arabia are strongly advised to screen them thoroughly so that those belonging to the third sex are exhausted.”

Accreditation of agencies with the embassy will be in jeopardy if they fail to strictly implement the memorandum.

“The accreditation of recruitment agencies found to have failed to observe this advisory will be permanently terminated,” the embassy further stated.

For Migrante International, the said order will greatly affect LGBT migrant workers who are working hard in Saud Arabia.

“Sana tignan ng Saudi government kung ano ang contribution ng lesbian at gay sa lipunan nila,” said Migrante International Chairperson, Garry Martinez.

Roland Blanco of ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau reported that Filipinos working in the Kingdom were saddened by the memorandum.

In June 2009, 67 suspected gays were arrested in Riyadh for dressing up in women’s clothes. They were forced to resign for fear of being slapped with charges.

Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) pinned the blame on those responsible for organizing a gay pageant last March in Riyadh.

“We were told they had one. They were deported,” said OWWA officer-in-charge Vivian Tornea.

OWWA advised LGBT members to be careful and act discreetly.

“They should act in accordance with the culture of the country,” she said.

For those like Dubz who are affected by the ban, OWWA said they could still look for employment in other countries or just set up a business in the Philippines. Report from Wheng Hidalgo, TV Patrol World

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs,

Noynoy asked to stop ‘forced migration’ of Pinoys

by KBK, GMANews.TV

Overseas Filipinos have asked President-apparent Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to work toward self-sufficiency and the creation of local jobs so that migration would no longer be a “forced option.”

In an open letter circulating on the Internet, the group Overseas Filipinos Worldwide said the advent of a new administration is a good time to examine where the country is heading regarding its migration policies.

“Shall we continue to send out our people and rely on remittances without any development objectives in sight?” wrote the letter’s signatories, which included organizations like Habagat Foundation and Damayang Pilipino in The Netherlands; the Social Enterprise Development Partnerships, Inc.; and the Wimler Partnership for Social Progress in Hongkong.

Individual signatories include Filipinos from the US, Germany, Luxembourg and Saudi Arabia.

The group said government-managed deployment of Filipino workers abroad has resulted in dire social costs, such as the continued loss of talents to overseas work and dysfunctional families.

They urged the next government to set up long-term migration goals, even as they encouraged that urgent migration and deployment issues be addressed in the meantime.

The group posed six suggestions to the incoming administration:

1. Migration and remittances should be only temporary measures in preparation for self-sufficiency, where Filipinos will no longer take migration as a “forced option.” The group said this must be integrated in the government’s Medium-Term Development Plans formulated by the National Economic Development Authority;

2. A Special Presidential Adviser on Migration and Development should be created to work with a technical working group, to come up with updated situationers and policy recommendations so that remittances and migrant resources can be tapped to develop local economies. The social costs of migration should likewise be addressed by facilitating return migration, and providing incentives for OFW investments various fields;

3. The performance of government agencies in charge of migrant workers, such as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), and the Department of Foreign Affairs;

4. The disposition and administration of the $25-fee for OWWA membership, which forms a trust fund estimated to be around P10 billion, should be more transparent following accusations of mismanagement. The group thus called on OWWA to impose more strict criteria in the process of selecting people who will sit in the Board of Trustees. OWWA proceedings should likewise be made transparent and open to public scrutiny, particularly the investment of the trust funds;

5. The work of the CFO and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs should be looked into, and the appropriate level of funds and support should be given to the two agencies; and

6. A nationwide program on financial literacy should be institutionalized so that OFWs may be able to use their incomes productively.

The group promised their continued support to Aquino as they noted that his campaign on good governance—better access to health, education, employment and livelihood, and business opportunities for all—seemed to be on the right track. -

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

OFWs to Aquino: Create more local jobs

By Edith Regalado/Philstar

HONG KONG – If there is one thing that overseas Filipino workers here ask of president-apparent Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, it is for his administration to create more jobs and opportunities in the country so they would not have to leave and seek greener pastures abroad.

“Our hope is for the new government to create more jobs in the country so that there would be no more Filipinos would have to go out and work abroad,” said Milagros Ladra, a 44-year old native of Davao City who started working as a domestic helper since 1992.

Ladra has been working here since starting out in Singapore for her first two years as an OFW.

“We all love to go home,” she said.

She said it could be a long shot but that she also shares the same fervent wish that if there are jobs back home, the pay should also be equal if not higher than what they are receiving as OFWs.

Ladra likewise said OFWs here also pin their hope on Aquino that his administration would address the woes of their sector particularly on the matter of the unscrupulous practices of the recruitment agencies.

Delfa Tacuban, another Filipina worker here, said the recruitment fees have been so exorbitant to the extent that OFWs sell all their properties and even borrow money with high interests and yet they end up receiving meager salaries.

“What is worst is when the OFWs arrive here in Hong Kong and they happen to be immediately fired by their employers and their contracts terminated within five days. And now, what would happen to the replacement fee paid?” Tacuban said.

Ladra said the new government should also help in ensuring that there would be a better working condition for the OFWs as a number of them have been subjected to maltreatment, harassment and abuse.

“We hope the new government would help to make sure that all the provisions in the OFW contract shall be followed and complied with by the employers in providing a conducive environment for the OFWs to work,” Ladra said.

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, OFW Livelihood Training, Overseas Jobs,

Bringing Home Our OFWs

By JORGE OSIT/Manila Bulletin

The Social Weather Station (SWS) exit poll conducted shortly after the last elections showed that more Filipinos are optimistic that their quality of life will improve in the coming 12 months; a sentiment reflective of their collective trust in President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III who ran on a reformist platform of waging war on corruption.

Forty nine percent expressed optimism that economic growth will favorably affect their lives. As for economic outlook covering the remainder of this year, 52 percent are optimistic while two percent are pessimistic.

The aforesaid exit poll went beyond more than cold demographics and statistics, it fleshed out the last presidential elections with a human dimension and, to a great extent, it revealed an electorate buoyed by a renewed sense of optimism for the future.

Aside from being the torch-bearer in his vow to weed out corruption, Aquino also made a promise in his campaign platform that if he got elected, he would “create jobs at home so that working abroad will be out of choice, not necessity.”

We must bear in mind that from the pronouncements made by the May 2010 presidentiables, this was so far the closest we could get to the economic agenda of bringing home our overseas Filipino workers.

Admittedly, the incoming Aquino administration will be facing tough challenges ahead—and as the helmsman of the ship of state, Aquino will need all the wisdom, fortitude and persistence to navigate the perilous shoals in the midst of stormy economic times to bring all of us to a safe haven or desired destination.

Looking ahead, it is hoped that our desired destination will translate to reality once the Aquino presidency comes to a close six years from today. It is my dream that bringing home our OFWs will be one of the Aquino legacies and consistent with this dream, I hope and pray that in the farewell State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the future President Benigno Aquino III, his speech will be highlighted with an epic breakthrough in turning back the tide of OFWs.

I have a soft spot for our OFWs, particularly our women migrant workers deployed overseas as domestic helpers (DHs) or, to put it bluntly, maids who are often abused in so many despicable and inhumane ways.

It is a bitter truth that we have to confront; it is a blot on our conscience that will only deepen as we grow calcified in our shamelessness in offering our women OFWs on the altar of Mammon.

It is a sad commentary that, more often than not, our government turns a blind eye to abuses and discrimination suffered by our OFWs in exchange for a steady stream of the much-needed remittances. Undoubtedly, the Filipino diaspora over the years has given rise to a rich trove of foreign currencies that have kept our national economy afloat through difficult times.

Starting as a stop-gap measure during the early Marcos years, the deployment of Filipino migrant laborers grew exponentially and today, about 10 percent of our total national population are spread out across the globe, braving all odds and hardships just to eke out a living for their loved ones and relatives.

Viewed against this backdrop, it can be said—although our government will never officially acknowledge it—that our overseas Filipino workers constitute our country’s no.1 export.


Consider this: Despite the global recession, last year, our OFWs sent home US$17.3 billion which accounted for 10.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Interestingly, our OFW remittances have managed to keep increasing despite the economic downturn.

Why? The answer lies in the sheer number of our overseas workers. What started as a trickle is now a rampaging tide of warm bodies aspiring to realize a common dream—to work abroad. Ironically, this “aspiration” of our people is an indictment of our national leaders and economic managers.
They have all failed, on a grand scale, to provide employment opportunities for our people right here in our own homeland. This is one challenge where I hope our brand-new President would make a big difference and, for him to succeed, all hands must be on deck as he steers the ship of state to our desired destination.

Media practitioner and book author Jorge B. Osit began Business Agenda Report four years ago. He looks forward to compiling select pieces for a forthcoming book. For feedback, please e-mail businessagenda_report@yahoo.com.ph

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

Filipino nurses much in demand

By Syeda Amtul/Saudi Gazette

Saudi Arabia is one of the main destinations for registered Filipino nurses. The Saudi Ministry of Health is the top employer of Filipino nurses here.

The Philippines and the Kingdom have agreed to provide training programs for Filipino nursing graduates intending to work in Saudi Arabia, according to an announcement made by Labor Undersecretary Carmelita M. Pineda during a farewell reception for Ambassador Antonio P. Villamor.

The new initiative was agreed after talks with Ministry of Health (MOH) officials led by Deputy Health Minister Ali Al-Qahtani.

Filipino nursing graduates who go through the training program will be assured of work at MoH hospitals and primary health care centers in Saudi Arabia. Vicente M.Cabe, Labor Attaché at the Consulate General of Philippines in Jeddah, explained that the training program would be equivalent to a six-month work experience in a hospital. Filipino nursing graduate who undergoes the training will need only one-and-a-half years of work experience, because the Kingdom usually requires two years work experience when hiring nurses.

“We have many inexperienced nurses or their experience is not matching the required skill. These nurses can take advantage of this new program,” said M. Cabe.

According to the Labor Undersecretary Pineda, nurses will also be assured of higher salaries compared to the current wages by hospitals and primary health care centers in the Kingdom.
Financial constraints is the main reason for these Filipino nurses to leave their home and hearth to move to Saudi Arabia.

“The main reason for me to choose this country was my financial status. Like many other nurses, I am satisfied with my salary and working atmosphere,” said Bellia Gasecia, a 37-year-old nurse working in a Ministry of Health hospital.

She, however, says that salary structure and work atmosphere varies according to a nurse’s work experience and the employer.

Filipino nurses in Saudi Arabia got a salary raise ranging from 20 percent to 60 percent of their current salary in March 2008, depending on the area of specialization, according to POEA (Philippine Overseas Employ Administration).

The current salary of nurses in Saudi hospitals ranges from SR2,500 to SR4,500 a month, based on their experience and the hospital they are employed in. There are nearly 130,000 nurses are currently working in Saudi Arabia. – SG

The following are the main reasons for Filipino nurses to opt for employment in the Kingdom:

• Tax free salaries
• Free furnished accommodation
• Generous annual leave of up to 54 days
• Low cost of living which saving easier
• Yearly round trip ticket
• Free medical coverage
• Suitable multinational environment
• Opportunity to travel
• World class tertiary referral centers.

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs,

OFWs hurt by soaring prices of education, commodities

Soaring costs of commodities and education are making overseas Filipino workers ache, a militant migrant group said Saturday.

Migrante Middle East said OFWs’ salary rates are not even enough for the cost of daily living in Metro Manila at P917 ($19.84).

“Tuition increases in both private and public colleges and universities are adding to our already heavy burden as prices of food, fuel, water and electricity continue to rise while value of the US dollars continue to decrease thus making it more difficult for us to make ends meet,” Migrante Middle East coordinator John Leonard Monterona said in an article on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news site.

Migrante supports the call of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) to impose a moratorium on tuition hike.

He said domestic helpers and construction workers in the Middle East countries only get $250 (P11,550) to $450 (P20,790) a month.

“If we will compute the current salary rate of an overseas Filipino worker parent vis-à-vis the cost of daily living in Manila, it is P6,720 ($145.55) short. And what makes us wearier is the news that there are around 300 schools or universities that will pump up their tuition fee rates by seven to 15 percent. This means that many OFW parents will not be able to send their children to school, or if they want to, they will need to have an extra job to augment their meager salaries. However, this will make [a] toll to their health and well-being,” Monterona said.

Worse, he said the situation may force both parents to leave the country to work abroad, adding that such a scenario weakens family ties, with the burden of taking care of children transferred to the aging grandparents.

The group urged president-apparent Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to come up with concrete solutions to the economic problems of the country as well as to create jobs here that can sustain the Filipino salary.

“If he can do this, then there will be no parents that will be forced leave their children to work abroad just to feed them, clothe them and send them to school,” Monterona said. — LBG, GMANews.TV

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, ,

HINDI MAYAMAN ANG MGA OFW’s

By: Jeremiah Javier

23493_1444806441026_1259091918_31261755_4646300_a.jpg

MGA KABABAYAN PLS READ, LALO SA MGA OFW…

Sa may asawa, kapatid, anak, kaibigan, at kamag-anak na OFW. At lalo na sa mga gustong mangibang-bansa. Nais ko rin ibahagi sa inyo, ang natanggap kong email na ito. Maaaring makatulong ito upang lalong maintindihan ng bawa’t isa ang tunay na ibig sabihin ng pagiging isang OFW. Tiyak na may mapupulot tayong aral dito.

Hindi mayaman ang OFW – We have this notion na ‘pag OFW o nasa abroad ay mayaman na. Hindi totoo yun. A regular OFW might earn from P20K-P30K per month depende sa lokasyon. Yung mga taga-Saudi or US siguro ay mas malaki ang sweldo, but to say that they’re rich is a fallacy (Amen!).

Malaki ang pangangailangan kaya karamihan sa amin ay nag-a-abroad. Maraming bunganga ang kailangang pakainin kaya umaalis kami sa Pinas. Madalas, 3/4 o kalahati ng sweldo ay napupunta sa tuition ng anak at gastusin ng pamilya.

Mahirap maging OFW – Kailangan namin magtipid hangga’t kaya. Oo, masarap ang pagkain sa abroad pero madalas na paksiw o adobo (hindi kc agad nasisira ito) at itlog lang tinitira para makaipon. Pagdating ng kinsenas o katapusan, ang unang tinitingnan eh ang conversion ng peso sa dollar o rial o euro. Mas okay na kami na lang ang magutom kaysa gutumin ang pamilya.

Kapag umuuwi kami, kailangan may baon/pasalubong kahit konti, kasi maraming kamag-anak ang sumusundo sa airport o naghihintay sa probinsya. Alam nyo naman ‘pag Pinoy, yung tsismis na OFW ka eh surely attracts a lot of kin. Kapag hindi mo nabigyan ng pasalubong eh magtatampo na yun at sisiraan ka na.

Well, hindi naman lahat pero I’m sure sa mga OFW dito eh may mga pangyayaring ganun.

Magtatrabaho ka sa bansang iba o mababa ang tingin at trato sa gaya nating mga Pinoy, kahit na masipag at mas may utak tayo kaysa sa kanila. Malamang marami ang naka-experience na nang pang-gugulang o discrimination to their various workplaces. Sige lang, tiis lang, iiiyak na lang namin kasi kawawa naman pamilya ‘pag umuwi kami sa pinas.

Besides, wala ka naman talagang maasahang trabaho sa Philippines ngayon. Mahal ang bigas, ang gatas, ang sardinas, ang upa sa apartment. Tiis lang kahit maraming pasaway sa trabaho, kahit may sakit at walang nag-aalaga, kahit hindi masarap ang tsibog, kahit pangit ang working conditions, kahit delikado, kahit mahirap. Kapag nakapag-padala na kami, okay na yun, tawag lang, “hello! kumusta na kayo?”.

Hindi bato kaming mga OFW – Tao rin ang OFW, hindi kami money o cash machine. Napapagod rin, nalulungkot (madalas), nagkakasakit , nag-iisip (nakapag-adjust na) at nagugutom (palagi). Kailangan din ang suporta, kundi man physically, emotionally o spiritually (especially ito) man lang.

Tumatanda rin kaming mga OFW – Sa mga nakausap at nakita ko, marami ang panot at kalbo na. Most of them have signs and symptoms of hypertension, coronary artery disease and arthritis. Yet, they continue to work thinking about the family they left behind.

Marami ang nasa abroad, 20-30 years na, pero wala pa ring ipon. Kahit anong pagpapakahirap, sablay pa rin. Masakit pa kung olats rin ang sinusuportahang pamilya sa Pinas – ang anak adik o nabuntis/nakabuntis ; ang asawa/gf/bf may kinakasamang iba; ang kapatid nakuntento na lang na umasa at tumambay. Naalala ko tuloy ang sikat na kanta dati, “NAPAKASAKIT KUYA EDDIE!”

Bayani kaming mga OFW – Totoo yun! Ngayon ko lang na-realize na bayani ang OFW sa maraming bagay. Hindi bayani na tulad ni Nora Aunor o Flor Contemplacion. Bayani in the truest sense of the word. Hindi katulad ni Rizal o Bonifacio na kalayaan ang ipinaglaban. Mas higit pa dun, mas maraming giyera at gulo ang pinapasok ng OFW para lang mabuhay.

Mas maraming pulitika ang kailangang suungin para lang tumagal sa trabaho lalo na’t parang mga ahas at parang mga amag ang mga kasama sa trabaho. Mas mahaba ang pasensya namin kaysa sa mga ordinaryong kongresista o senador sa Philippines dahil sa takot namin na mawalan ng trabaho at sweldo.

Matindi kaming mga OFW – Matindi ang pinoy. Matindi pa sa daga, o cockroaches which survived the cataclysmic evolution.

Maraming sakripisyo pero walang makitang tangible solutions or consequences.

Malas naming mga OFW, swerte ng mga buwayang pulitiko – Hindi umuupo ang OFW para magbigay ng autograph o interbyuhin ng media (unless nakidnap o na-maltrato) . Madalas nasa sidelines lang ang OFW.

Kapag lilisan ng bansa, malungkot and on the verge of tears; Kapag dumadating, swerte ‘pag may sundo (madalas naman meron); Kapag naubos na ang ipon at wala nang maibigay, wala na rin ang kamag-anak. Sana sikat kaming mga OFW para may boses kami sa Kamara.

Ang swerte ng mga buwayang pulitiko nakaupo lang sila at ginagastusan ng pera ng Filipino. Hindi nga sila naiinitan ng matinding araw o napapaso ng langis; napagagalitan at nasasampal ng amo; kumakain ng paksiw para makatipid; nakatira sa compound with conditions less than favorable; nakikisama sa ibang lahi para mabuhay. Ang swerte ninyong mga buwayang pulitiko kayo, sobrang swerte ninyo.

Matatag kaming mga OFW – Matatag ang OFW, mas matatag pa sa sundalo o kung ano pang grupo na alam nyo. Magaling sa reverse psychology, negotiations at counter-attacks.

Tatagal ba ang OFW? – Tatagal at dadami pa kami hangga’t hindi pa natin alam kung kailan magbabago ang Philippines , kailan nga kaya?… o may tsansa pa ba?

Masarap isipin na kasama mo ang pamilya mo araw-araw. Nakikita mo mga anak mong lumalaki at naaalagaan ng maayos na kasama ka.

Masarap kumain ng sitaw, ng bagoong, lechon, inihaw na isda, taba ng talangka.

Masarap manood ng pelikulang Pinoy, luma man o bago.

Iba pa rin ang pakiramdam kung kilala mo at nakakakuwenttuhan mo ang kapitbahay mo. Iba pa rin sa Philippines; iba pa rin kapag Pinoy ang kasama mo except (‘pag hambog at utak-talangka) ; Iba pa rin ‘pag nagkukwento ka at naiintindihan ng iba ang sinasabi mo; Iba pa rin ang tunog ng “mahal kita!”, “day, ginahigugma tika”,” “Mingaw na ko nimo ba, kalagot!”, ” Inday, diin ka na subong haw? ganahan guid ko simo ba”.

Iba pa rin talaga.

Sige lang, tiis lang, saan ba’t darating din ang pag-asa.

Kung may kamag-anak kang OFW mapalad ka at wala ka d2 sa kinalalagyan namin at anjan ka kasama mo ang mga mahal mo sa buhay.

Kung OFW ka at binabasa mo ito, mabuhay ka dahil ikaw ang tunay na BAYANI ng lahing PILIPINO!!!

From the author:

27348_1259091918_5384_q.jpg Jeremiah Javier: HINDI MAYAMAN ANG MGA OFWs

PLEASE SHARE IT TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS!!!

Filed under: Encouragement, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, What's Happening Here?,

15 Filipinos in Jeddah to compete in singing competition

Source: GMANews.TV

JEDDAH — Fifteen Filipinos will vie on the finals of the Philippine Independence Himig ng Kalayaan 2010 singing competition finals night, organizers said.

The 15 — eight males and seven females, some of whom coming from as far as Abha and Shaiba — passed the month-long audition held in La Parilla. A total of 38 Filipinos participated in the audition.

Edgar Mendoza, chairperson of the group Pinoy Expatriates for Social Organization and Sports (PESOS) thath organized the event, said the competition in Jeddah is in line with this year’s 112th commemoration of the Philippine Independence Day.

Mendoza said those who would compete in the finals on June 18 are Vincent Valiente, Sheryl Hipolito, Ronnel Pacanan, Princess Valmonte, Patria Sirajam, Nerie Hipolito Ostonal, Myra Colina, Marchie Roxas, Jovann Ibanez, Imee Aragones, Cris Manalo, Christopher Garcia, April Faye Bautista and Andrei Laxamana

Marchie Roxas, one of the contestants who flew in from Abha, said he does not mind that he is 500 kilometers away from Jeddah. He said the more important reason why he joined the competition is for him to show his talent and meet new friends.

Mendoza said the competition would be an exciting one especially because the contenders have previously participated in various singing competitions. “It will be a tough fight so watch it,” he said.

Those who want to watch the event may get in touch with Mendoza (0502346231) and John Lagrimas (0554590912). — Ronaldo Concha and Jerrie Abella/KBK/RSJ, GMANews.TV

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Social Network,

New system to slash OFW remittance fees, says BSP

Source: GMANews.TV

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) stand to save P100 to P500 when sending money to the Philippines once the new Philippine Payments and Settlements System Remit System starts operating before the fourth quarter of the year.

Also known as the Philpass Remit System, the new settlement system for money transfers would eliminate third party courier services between commercial banks in remittances involving bank credits, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Monday.
“This will reduce the cost of remitting money from the OFW remitter to the beneficiary,” the BSP said.

“Under the existing system, beneficiaries pay from P150 to P550 as back-end processing fee. With the migration to the new system, the fee will be reduced to P50 for each remittance transaction as the BSP will be charging banks a minimal amount for the settlement of transactions,” the BSP explained.

With the Philpass Remit System, families of OFWs would be able to save from P92 million to P922 million a year in remittance fees, the central bank said.

The central bank said the Philpass Remit System is a “safer, faster, and cheaper means of remittance transactions,” as it uses the BSP-Philpass clearinghouse in moving remittances from a local bank to another bank where the OFW beneficiary maintains an account.

The system is an initiative of the BSP and the Association of Bank Remittance Officers Inc. (ABROI), under a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed in December.

The Philpass Remit System was originally scheduled to start in the first quarter, but only one bank was able to migrate to the new system since the MOA was signed. The BSP did not name the bank.

“Only this bank therefore will be able to service the processing of incoming and outgoing remittances at P50 per transaction as back-end processing fee charged to the OFW beneficiary, while the rest of the ABROI member banks might still charge the old rate,” the central bank said.

According to the BSP, other member banks would come on stream once the remaining issues on hardware and system connectivity have been resolved.

Other ABROI members expect to migrate to the new system this month at the end of June, while two banks would be able to comply with the new system at the end of September.
Remittances by OFWs grew by 7 percent to $4.339 billion in the first quarter of the year from $4.057 billion a year earlier.

Last year, the money transferred by OFWs to relatives in the Philippines went up by 5.4 percent to a record $17.348 billion from $16.426 billion

The BSP expects OFW remittances to grow by 8 percent this year.

About 81 percent of total remittances reported by local banks in the first quarter came from the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, UK, Japan, Singapore, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates. —VS, GMANews.TV

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, ,

Cash lesson for Pinoys cited in crisis-hit Japan

By Jeremaiah M. Opiniano, OFW Journalism Consortium

PASIG CITY – A real-time crash course in cash management still grips Filipinos in Japan as the world’s second-largest economy attempts to clamber out of recession.

“They [Filipinos] have to start saving or investing rather than just spending” in these times of crisis, sociologist Ma. Rosario Piquero-Ballescas of Toyo University in Bunkyo-ku district said.

Piquero-Ballescas’s advice is based on her observation that the drop in Japan’s gross domestic product last year to -5% hit hard Filipinos there and some lessons should be culled for future similar occurrence.

Some Filipinos in Japan landed on lower-paying jobs after getting laid off in some companies, she said sans citing exact figures.

It has led many of them to rethink their lifestyles in Japan, Piquero-Ballescas added.

The crises made many Filipinos in Japan reflect that “the yen does not last forever,” Ballescas told the OFW Journalism Consortium via email, on a day that Y100 in the Philippine dealing system is worth P48.61, higher than the P45.05-US$1 exchange rate.

The yen continued to weaken against the peso, from an average P50.99-Y100 last year to P48.61 a day after the May 10 national elections.

The yen-peso exchange rate “was tremendously more favorable for many months” last year, so “a lot of Filipinos in Japan took advantage of this,” Ballescas said, explaining the increase in remittance.

Last year, Filipinos in Japan sent home US$773.561 million in remittances or 34.49% more than the US$575.181 million in 2008.

“They may find themselves without jobs or income soon, so they are now doing their best to save whatever they can and send money home as investments, in the event of [an] early return to the Philippines,” Ballescas said in her reply to questions sent by email.

But while the crisis may have prompted an increase in remittance, it was one of the factors that dampened the flow of foreign workers, according to Junichi Akashi of the University of Tsukuba.

Akashi told fellow academics at a policy forum recently that the global economic crisis has affected migrant workers in Japan “unevenly”.

Citing data from Japan’s Immigration Control Bureau, Akashi said there was a noticeable drop in the number of foreigners who entered the country under 2 types of working visas —foreign trainees and technical interns.

The same downward trend was seen for Filipinos who entered in 2009 as foreign trainees and technical interns.

A total of 50,064 foreign trainees entered Japan in 2009, a drop from the 68,150 who entered a year ago. Filipinos as foreign trainees numbered to 2,661 in 2009, lower than the 3,213 in 2008.

Meanwhile, from April 2009 to February this year, 52,133 foreigners shifted to Japan’s technical internship program, lower than the 63,747 the program accepted in 2008.

Filipinos make up 4,004 of the technical interns, but the number is lower than the 5,134 Filipinos who were registered as technical interns in 2008.

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) also registered a lower number of Filipinos who went to Japan as permanent residents or emigrants in 2009, with 5,278.

The number was lower than the 7,682 registered emigrants to Japan in 2008 and the 8,806 registered in 2007.

Meanwhile, the number of Filipinos who married spouses from Japan also dropped in 2009 with 4,142 in 2008 versus the 6,114 in 2007.

The decline was noticeable since the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) took effect last year.

The JPEPA opened Japan to nurses and caregivers from the Philippines, with the first batch included in the total 6,418 deployed last year.

On May 9, the Philippines sent its second batch of 116 nurses and caregivers under the agreement.

Akashi observes that the crisis that hit Japan led to a decreasing number of foreign trainees, especially those in the construction and machinery/metallurgical industries.

Male foreign trainees were affected “to a greater degree,” Akashi said.

Another factor that contributed to the decline of deployment of Filipinos to Japan is the set of immigration rules promulgated in 2005.

From 42,633 that year, the number of OFWs going to Japan dropped to 8,867 in 2007 and 6,555 a year later.

Piquero-Ballescas can only recommend that compatriots take stock of their future in the land of the rising sun. OFW Journalism Consortium

Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/05/22/10/cash-lesson-pinoys-cited-crisis-hit-japan

Filed under: Business Ideas for OFW Families, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, OFW Livelihood Training,

Next gov’t challenged to harness OFWs’ economic potential

By Jeremaiah M. Opiniano, OFW Journalism Consortium


IS Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III his mother’s son when it comes to labor export?

Mr. Aquino, set to become the 15th Philippine president, may opt to follow-through with his mother’s institutionalization of the economy’s resilient force: overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

Under his mother, the late President Corazon C. Aquino, government regulation over the deployment of OFWs was subsumed under one agency, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Overseeing Filipinos’ lot in host countries, on the other hand, was cauterized from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and appended to another unit, the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Mr. Aquino, like his mother, should have a direct hand in labor migration, said Tomas Achacoso, POEA administrator under Mrs. Aquino.

Mr. Achacoso said having a “direct hand” involves not only improving the system of informing prospective overseas Filipinos of migration’s risks but also in shaping policy focused on labor migration and national development.

“The success of labor migration [in the Philippines] has distracted policy makers from the original temporary role of the program,” the former POEA chief told the OFW Journalism Consortium.

The program of sending out Filipinos to work overseas under POEA predecessors Overseas Employment Development Board and National Seamen’s Board was used by then-President Ferdinand E. Marcos to beef up the country’s dollar reserves amid runaway unemployment.

With foreign investors cashing out of the Philippines under Mrs. Aquino’s time and with a huge foreign debt, money from OFWs propped up a cash-strapped People Power-born government beginning 1986.

Economists also credited money from OFWs, now nearly 10% of the country’s population, for having arrested the downward spiral of the economy during the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the collapse of the global financial system a decade later.

Fungible

Economist Alvin Ang noted that for a long time, overseas work and remittances mitigated economic problems such as a feeble fiscal position and lack of jobs.

But since the word mitigation is “fungible,” which in economics means something can be substituted into a resource; remittances from Filipinos abroad “should not just be band aid.”

Mr. Ang agreed with Mr. Achacoso that the six years under the Aquino administration beginning June is crucial for OFWs.

Mr. Ang said the country should pursue the “diasporic dividend” — the “net of net” benefit from the migration phenomenon. Now is the time for the Philippine government to explicitly encourage overseas Filipinos to invest in their hometowns, he said.

By sending clear signals to local governments, this could happen, he said. “The national government may set the policy environment about luring remittances for development, but many local governments are not minding this potential resource, thus the policy disconnect,” Mr. Ang told the OFW Journalism Consortium.

Remittances are sterilized and merely circulate in the financial system, ending in consumption, especially since these are money of individual migrant workers and their families, he noted.

Thus, while the impact of remittances on Philippine development is of a macro nature, the vehicle to lure these for development is micro, Mr. Ang said.

“That way, and if the local government is involved, then you can target development,” Mr. Ang added.

The policy should be explicit and leave no room for doubt in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan.

Mr. Ang said that government should actively instill a consciousness among prospective Filipino workers that their migration is only temporary, and that they do not merely return here to retire after a long overseas stint but “to work” and remain productive for themselves and for the economy.

Mr. Aquino’s campaign platform is to boost foreign investment, pour more resources to education, and generate more jobs locally through agriculture, business process outsourcing, infrastructure, manufacturing, logistics, mining, and tourism.

“If there is no production here, the Philippines will not have any productivity,” Mr. Ang said.

“Or else, this country will remain consumption-driven, a situation that not even a thousand Noynoys can remedy.”

Steps

Mr. Ang proposed an overhaul of government’s information campaign on migration as a first step.

The government’s current pre-employment orientation seminar should be made optional while information should be specific to separately cater to high-skilled and low-skilled workers.

There should be “complete information disclosure of a destination country’s conditions, not just the pay. That way, information on the country where the worker will migrate to would be clearly disseminated.”

Mr. Achacoso, for his part, said the government should address the concerns of labor migration from a “holistic standpoint” by explaining “how labor migration affects national development.”

Given the Philippines’ respectable global stature as regards labor migration, Mr. Achacoso said the DFA “should be taught about the principles and mechanics of labor migration, so that they can better argue with host countries about adjustments to make the life of migrants much easier.”

Moreover, the Philippines should request host countries for some compensation for skilled workers lost here and hired abroad, such as nurses and doctors.

Mr. Achacoso hopes that no less than the President sustains “a continuing interest in policy issues that affect labor migration, and intervenes every so often to shape and direct policies and programs.”

Again, though, these policies should not be merely about “consolidating the Philippines’ share of the [overseas job] market over which it has little real control.”

Another essential task for the incoming president, Mr. Achacoso said, is a better approach to creating jobs domestically.
“Labor migration as the solution to the Philippines’ economic problem is erroneous, and addresses only one aspect of the [domestic employment] problem,” he said.

Mr. Ang said the incoming Aquino administration should be able to reap the diasporic dividend. “He [Aquino] can help turn remittances into concrete investments.”

Preventing overseas movement of workers is unacceptable, yet the Philippine government should not rely on demand-driven job markets abroad to sustain the economy, Messrs. Achacoso and Ang said. – Jeremaiah M. Opiniano, OFW Journalism Consortium

Source: http://www.bworldonline.com/main/content.php?id=11342

Filed under: OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs,

Ban on foreign illegal recruiter sought

By JUN RAMIREZ

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recently recommended to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to ban a foreigner allegedly engaged in illegal recruitment and deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to Hong Kong without the necessary clearance from the government, it was learned Wednesday.

In his letter to BI Commissioner Marcelino Libanan, DFA Assistant Secretary Jaime Ledda sought the bureau’s assistance in putting the foreigner’s name in the blacklist after receiving reports from the Philippine embassy in Guangzhou, China.

Libanan immediately issued an order placing the foreigner in its blacklist, thus preventing the alien from entering the Philippines and from victimizing prospective OFWs.

The BI chief also ordered immigration supervisors and officers in all international airports to strictly enforce the blacklist order to put a stop on the illegal activities of the foreigner.

Quoting a report from the DFA, Libanan said the foreigner has been illegally recruiting Filipinos to work in Hong Kong without the proper documentation.

The recruits, who are all women, are allegedly sent to the former British colony without the required processing and permits from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

According to the DFA, the foreiner’s activities were discovered by Chinese authorities when members of the Fujian police raided his recruitment agency.

Filed under: OFW Corner, OFW Scam, Illegal Recruiter, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

PhilHealth to open regional office in Riyadh

By RODOLFO ESTIMO JR. | ARAB NEWS

RIYADH: The first Middle East office of the Philippine health insurance agency PhilHealth is to be opened at the Philippine Embassy on June 4.

According to Philippine Ambassador Antonio P. Villamor, the opening of the office will coincide with the celebration of the country’s 112th Independence Day celebration.

Philippine Independence Day is on June 12 but celebrated by the Filipino community in the Kingdom for weeks.

“Riyadh is where the largest number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can be found in the Kingdom. It is just right that they be given,” PhilHealth President and CEO Rey B. Aquino told Arab News. In an earlier interview, Villamor said there were some 600,000 OFWs working in the capital alone.

PhilHealth’s service desk will address members’ needs and provide forms and information about the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).

It will also accept benefit claims, applications for member data amendment and annual premium contributions from OFW members of up to 900 pesos. “If they pay their premium contributions regularly and on time, our OFW members will not encounter any problems in claiming PhilHealth benefits,” Aquino said.

PhilHealth also covers costs arising from hospital room and board, operating room fees, the provision of drugs and medicines, X-ray and laboratory tests, examinations and doctors’ fees.
These should be automatically deducted from the hospital bill before the beneficiary is discharged.

PhilHealth will also reimburse medical costs for members who need to be treated abroad.
Aquino said this is one of the reasons why PhilHealth provided more collecting agents for OFWs to pay their premiums regularly so they do not lose out.

Presently, PhilHealth has collection agreements with iRemit, Development Bank of the Philippines and Philippine Veterans Bank, among others.

“I will also authorize the assigned PhilHealth marketing officer in Riyadh to attend and participate in the meetings and dialogue of OFW organizations to provide free reintegration seminars for our compatriots in the region,” Aquino added.

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

OFWs in Marianas seek approval for US citizenship

From: RJAB Jr./ GMANews.TV

SAIPAN, CNMI – Overseas Filipino workers and their families led Sunday’s motorcade and assembly in the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), to ask the US Congress to quickly approve a recommendation to grant long-term immigration status to foreign workers who have been legally staying in the CNMI for at least five years.

The Obama White House, through the US Department of the Interior, recommended conferring US citizenship or permanent residency leading to US citizenship, along with three other options, to foreign workers who have been legally in the CNMI for at least five years.

The CNMI is a US territory in the Western Pacific some three hours away from Manila.

It is home to some 20,000 OFWs and their relatives. The OFWs here work in almost every profession in the private sector as nurses, engineers, architects, teachers, journalists, accountants, clerks, house maids, hotel employees, waiters, and farmers.

There are more than 15,816 foreign workers, mostly OFWs, who have been in the CNMI for five years or more, and another 2,221 who have been here for three to five years.

OFWs at the motorcade and assembly called on the US Congress to act immediately on the Interior recommendation, saying they would like to be given permanent residency or US citizenship, and remain in the CNMI.

But CNMI Governor Benigno R. Fitial, who is on his way to Washington, DC, said he would ask the US Congress not to act on the Interior recommendation until his government is consulted, especially on the proposed improved status of foreign workers.

US Public Law 110-229, the same law that placed CNMI immigration under US control on Nov. 28, 2009, required Interior to come up with a recommendation on the status of long-term workers in the CNMI.

Allan Miones, 47, has been an OFW in the CNMI capital of Saipan for 19 years and now has three children, two of them US citizens. He was one of the thousands of foreign workers who took part in Sunday’s motorcade and assembly.

“My family will be able to stay together if I get improved status. I won’t be sent home and separated from my children if I get permanent residency or become a US citizen,” Miones told GMANews.TV in an interview Sunday.

Should Miones, who hails from Ozamis City in Mindanao, lose his legal immigration status in the CNMI by 2014 or earlier, he would be forced to exit the CNMI.

He could either bring with him his two US citizen children — Kaile Christine, 9, and Alani Rue, 5 — or leave them in the CNMI which is their only known home.

Nenita Orosco, 45, from Capiz in Western Visayas, said she does not want to be separated from her two US citizen children if she loses her job and is forced to exit the CNMI. She said she also does not want to uproot the children from the CNMI where they are studying.

Supporters of foreign workers in the CNMI have been saying that foreign workers who spent five years, even decades of their lives helping build the CNMI economy deserve an immigration status not tied to a yearly contract.

Dr. Gene Sylvester Eagle-Oden, one of the speakers at the assembly, said long-term foreign workers are asking for a “right,” not a privilege.

At the assembly, event organizers distributed copies of statements from Bandila and US-based Filipino-American community leader and lawyer Rodel Rodis, expressing support for the CNMI nonresident workers’ quest for green card or US citizenship.

Those who organized the motorcade and assembly estimated the crowd at 2,000 and 5,000, most of them OFWs. They also estimated 300 to 700 vehicles.

Of the 29,700 work and entry permits that the CNMI issued in 2008 to foreign workers, 18,500 went to OFWs. - RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV

Filed under: Family, Friends and Society, OFW Corner, Pinoy Migration,

Filipinos eyeing jobs in Guam face long wait

 By SHIANEE MAMANGLU

 It could take a year for Filipino construction workers to determine whether or not they can still be deployed to work in Guam, a recruitment official said Saturday.

Guam earlier announced its plan to hire at least 25,000 foreign workers, including Filipinos over the next five years starting in 2010 in view of some $15 billion worth of new investments and the transfer of the US bases in Okinawa, wherein 8,000 marines and its 9,000 dependents are based.

The relocation plan of the Marine base to a safer place in the US island territory was part of a 2006 treaty between Tokyo and Washington.

In September last year, however, newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama immediately halted the planned transfer of the marine base and called for a review of the 2006 pact, thus straining ties with the US.

He also formed a committee to look at all possible alternative locations for Futenma’s operations.

The Japan prime minister had acknowledged that at least part of Futenma Marine airfield would remain in Okinawa, which hosts more than half of the 47,000 American troops based in Japan.

Emmanuel Geslani said the decision of Hatoyama was not good news to some 20,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were supposed to be deployed this year based on the initial agreement between the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Guam legislators and businessmen.

“This means there will be no deployment this year or until such time the rift between Tokyo and Washington is patched up soon,’’ Geslani told the Bulletin.

“This will also certainly scuttle any plans of recruitment agencies to deploy Filipino construction workers to Guam by 2010,’’ he added.

Geslani claimed that following initial talks between the POEA and Guam legislators and businessmen, recruitment agencies have already been pooling manpower for the various construction activities.

Aside from construction workers, he said that healthcare professionals such as nurses and therapists would have been deployed as well to man new hospitals for the marines and their dependents.

The migration expert said that higher wages and benefits with US and Japanese constructors were the main reasons why OFWs want to work in Guam.

Geslani, however, warned OFWs that there are no large job orders for Guam except for a few selected agencies who have existing employers in that island for new projects designed to accommodate the incoming new residents

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, Sorsogon News Updates, ,

Singapore job seekers warned

Filipino women intending to work as domestic helpers in Singapore were warned Saturday against dubious travel agency operators moonlighting as employment agents.

An advisory issued by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) based on the report of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Singapore said 99 percent of Filipino domestic helpers who escaped from their employers had been deployed by travel agents without valid overseas employment documents issued by the POEA.

“Applicants should really be wary of these travel agencies sending domestic helpers to Singapore,’’ said POEA administrator Jennifer Manalili.

“They should use the legal process of overseas employment and not rely on the services of travel agency operators who are moonlighting as employment agents,’’ she added.

Citing Philippine labor attaché to Singapore, Rodolfo Subalao, Manalili said a syndicate composed of certain travel agencies in the Philippines is behind the illegal recruitment scheme in connivance with placement agencies in Singapore that are not accredited by the Philippine embassy.

According to her, the scammers usually ask applicants to initially sign a one-page contract indicating their salaries ranging from $250 to $350 per month with no day off.

Once the papers are processed and workers are already in the jobsite, Manalili said the workers are only paid $20 per month as subsistence allowance since the Singapore agency has to deduct from their salary the placement fee equivalent to seven months salary.


Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, OFW Scam, Illegal Recruiter, Overseas Jobs,

Hard-fought victory for OFWs in new anti-OFW legislation

THE DOCUMENTARY STAMP TAX (DST) on OFW remittances has been scrapped with the passage of Republic Act 10022, which amended RA 8042 (the Migrant workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995). To be sure, this will provide some relief for low-income OFWs, especially for construction workers and domestic helpers who constitute this sector’s majority.

On this, we congratulate ourselves and all our fellow OFWs. Migrante International and its chapters in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Europe and America, along with various Filipino organizations and individual OFWs around the world, were in the heart of the intensified campaign and mass actions initiated to scrap the DST. If not for our efforts, the law would not have been passed. Because of our efforts, many members of Congress realized that the DST was an additional burden on OFWs.

However, although it removed the DST, RA 10022 is really anti-OFW. It has many provisions that go against the interests, rights and welfare of OFWs and their dependents.

Like RA 8042, the new law is anchored on government’s bias for exporting cheap Filipino labor. It allows government to further institutionalize and intensify its labor export program without guarantees that the OFWs’ interests, rights and welfare will be protected by the governments of host countries. RA 10022 also allows government to impose additional fees that will bleed OFWs dry of their earnings. It also absolves employers and recruiters from responsibility for the OFWs’ well-being, rights and welfare—a responsibility government had passed on to them through RA 8042. With RA 10022, government has totally abandoned its primary duty to protect the interests, rights and welfare of OFWs from exploitative recruitment agencies.

In short, RA 10022 is essentially not for migrant workers. Anchored on the neo-liberal policies of globalization, liberalization, privatization and deregulation, it prioritizes the interest of private businesses over that of the working people.

President Macapagal-Arroyo played safe by not signing the bill, opting instead to allow it to lapse into law, so that she would not be blamed. But many of the pro-Arroyo lawmakers voted for the passage of RA 10022.


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:04:00 05/05/2010

JOHN LEONARD MONTERONA,

migranteme@gmail.com


Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

New law scraps DST, travel tax, airport fee for migrant workers

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are now exempted from paying documentary stamp tax (DST) on their remittances as well as travel tax and airport fee.
This is contained in the amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act.

The law exempts migrant workers from the payment of travel tax, DST, and airport fee upon showing of proof of entitlement from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

“The remittances of all OFWs, upon showing the same proof of entitlement by the OFW beneficiary or recipient, shall be exempted from the payment of documentary stamp tax,’’ Section 22 of Republic Act 10022, stated.

Former labor undersecretary and now Nacionalista Party (NP) senatorial bet Susan Ople immediately urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the Department of Finance (DoF) to immediately issue the new law’s implementing guidelines.

“The DoLE and the DoF should promptly issue the new law’s implementing rules and regulations so that OFWs would immediately benefit from reduced remittance charges,’’ Ople said in a statement.

She said that the scrapping of the DST is very timely because it could help the OFW beneficiaries here recover some of the buying power they lost due to the peso’s surge against the dollar.

“OFWs can now count on some P1.3 billion in extra savings with the abolition of the DST on all their remittances,’’ Ople said, as she cited DoF’s projection at $19 billion worth of remittances this year.

“The removal of the DST on all funds wired home by OFWs would help drive down money transfer charges, and put more cash in the pockets of those receiving remittance,’’ she added.

Prior to the passage of RA 10022, all money transfers from abroad and payable in the Philippines, including those wired home by OFWs were subject to the DST at a rate of P0.30 for every P200.

Ople said that local banks and non-bank money transfer agents such as The Western Union Co. and Moneygram International, Inc. collect the DST before the funds sent home by OFWs are actually paid out to their beneficiaries here.

This means that OFWs pay a DST of P33.27 for every $500 or P22,180 (at $1:P44.36) they send home. The amount is on top of foreign and local bank fees, plus the P0.50 to a dollar margin domestic banks that are allowed when paying out remittances in pesos.

Various OFWs and labor groups and even an administration senatoriable had called for the scrapping of the tax imposed on remittances, saying it will severely burden the overseas workers and their families.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) had said the government has been raking in money from OFW remittances through the DST, reaching to over P1.3 billion.

Migrante International believes the government has had enough from the billions of dollars of OFW remittances it received yearly.

“OFWs have been the country’s economic saviors for over three decades already; it is therefore high time for the government to do the saving,’’ the group said.

Given the contribution of OFWs in helping keep the economy afloat, Lakas-Kampi-CMD senatorial bet Atty. Raul Lambino also said it is not wise fiscal policy to require DST payment for OFW remittances.

An estimated 10 million Filipinos, migrants and contract workers are working abroad. OFWs remit around $17 billion annually, it was learned

New law scraps DST, travel tax, airport fee for migrant workers
By:SHIANEE MAMANGLU
April 17, 2010, 7:54pm

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, POEA-Advisory, , , , , ,

Covenant Forged to Protect Filipino Migrant Workers

Migrante International, the largest Filipino migrants group, has always been at the forefront of advocating and struggling for migrants’ rights. On Thursday April 15, the overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) group launched another milestone in their struggle for migrants’ rights. 

In a press conference, Migrante, along with OFW-victims of abuse and kin of migrant workers launched the Migrants Seven-point Covenant addressed to candidates to the May 2010 elections.  Candidates who sign the covenant commit to review and work for the repeal of existing laws that exploit OFWs and to propose new policies that will further protect the rights and welfare of OFWs. 

Martinez said, “It is significant that several of the candidates for senator have committed themselves to work for the realization of the demands (of OFWs).  These demands have fallen on deaf ears under the Arroyo administration.” 

Nacionalista Party senatorial bets Gilbert Remulla, Gwen Pimentel, Liza Maza, Tito Sotto and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino candidate Apolinario Lozada forged the agreement with Migrante, OFWs and their relatives. 

“In the 35 years that the Labor Export Policy of the government has been implemented, six to ten dead OFWs return home on a daily basis and 60 others have been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia alone,” Martinez said, saying that this is what they get in exchange for keeping the economy afloat with their remittances, especially in the face of the financial crisis. 

The Covenant 

The covenant is a list of seven demands that Migrante has consolidated. First in the list of demands is to hold President Gloria Arroyo accountable for crimes of corruption, plunder and violations of human rights. 


Senatoriables Vicente Sotto III, Liza Maza, and Apolinario Lozada sign the Migrants Seven-point Covenant. (Photo courtesy of Migrante International / bulatlat.com)

Second is the repeal of the “unfair and abusive” Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Omnibus Policies, which was passed and implemented under Arroyo administration. The OWWA Omnibus Policies, according Martinez, have made OFWs virtual milking cows.

The covenant also seeks to review the bilateral agreements, which are contrary to laws that protect the rights of migrants, workers, and women, that were entered into by the Arroyo government with receiving countries.  

It seeks improvements in on-site services and protection for OFWs, and an increase in benefits that accrue to them and their families. It demands for immediate legal assistance for OFWs in jail and in death row abroad, as well as urgent assistance for stranded OFWs who have escaped from exploitative working conditions. 

The covenant also asks the signatories to author more laws that will prosecute illegal recruiters, human traffickers and exploiters of migrant workers. Migrante asked candidates to support and carry this covenant in their respective platforms should they be elected for public office in May 10. 

Senatoriables 

In the said press conference, Makabayan senatorial bet and Nacionalista Party guest candidate Liza Maza talked about the government’s lack of action in dealing with cases of OFWs abroad, as well as those who have returned. “We are practically living by the sweat of OFWs and they deserve government protection for their working and living conditions abroad. The Macapagal-Arroyo administration is remiss in its duty to protect the rights and welfare of OFWs.”

By:  CIELO FLORES
Bulatlat.com - Published on April 16, 2010

 

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, OWWA,

Pinay Nurse topped an examination in Japan

Pinay tops Japan test for nurse

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Philippines Nurses Association (PNA) lauded a nurse from Abra who topped an examination in Japan last February.

Ever Gammed Lalin, 34, topped the Japanese test, the first to do so since the POEA and the Japan International Corporation of Welfare Services (JICWELS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in January last year for the deployment and acceptance of nurses and caregivers to that country.

More than 200 nurses, including 93 from the Philippines took the test, it was learned.

“She’s fortunate enough to pass the exam considering that no one had done that in the past. We already sent her a congratulatory letter,’’ Lina de Luna of the POEA client services division said in an interview.

“Right now, we are trying to get in touch with her to get some tips para naman sa kapakanan ng susunod na batch. But she is yet to reply,’’ she added.

De Luna said that Lalin possibly took the examination seriously although she was not among those who were given exemption for the training.

Maristella Abenojar, executive director of the PNA also expressed amazement at how Lalin got the record.

“Historically, walang pumapasa na foreign nurses sa Japan due to language barrier. This is a development but we have to consider ano yung factor,’’ Abenojar said.

She noted that the six-month training given the nurses to learn Nihonggo is not enough.

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU
http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/251592/pinay-tops-japan-test-nurse
April 7, 2010, 5:50pm

Filed under: Encouragement, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, People who inspired Us, POEA-Advisory,

Filipino au pairs wanted in Switzerland

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has lifted the ban on deploying au pairs to Switzerland, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said Monday.

In a phone interview, POEA Administrator Jennifer Manalili said the ban, which has been effective since the late 1990s following reports of abuses, has been lifted after the Swiss government passed laws that protect the rights and welfare of au pairs.

Au pairs are usually young foreign visitors who take care of children and do light house chores in exchange for room and board.

Manalili said the POEA governing board approved the resolution in February, with the guidelines becoming effective March 24.

“The lifting was done upon consultation and recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs,” she said.

Swiss delegates were in the country last week to finalize the lifting.

Asked how many au pairs may now be deployed, Manalili said, “It depends on the demands.”

To protect Filipino au pairs who wish to work in Switzerland, the POEA has a standard au pair contract and a verification process, she said.

Manalili said there are similar requests for au pair deployments to Norway and Denmark.

 

By:Veronica Uy
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 08:42:00 03/29/2010

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory

Philippines Resumes Registration for EPS Language Test

MANILA ― The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will resume registering Filipino workers who want to work in South Korea under the Employment Permit System (EPS).

POEA Administrator Jennifer Jardin-Manalili announced that the agency will register applicants for the sixth EPS-Korean Language Test (KLT) from April 6 to 8 in Cebu, Metro Manila, Davao, Pampanga and Baguio.

The language test was originally scheduled to be held in the Philippines by the Human Resource Development Service of Korea (HRD Korea) last January but it was postponed due to implementation issues.

Manalili said the POEA and HRD Korea have ironed out the issues regarding the implementation of the EPS and that the examination dates will be announced on March 29.

HRD Korea is the new agency accredited by the Korean government to conduct the language test.

Passing the language test is required for Filipinos to be included on the roster of jobseekers from which Korean employers can choose from.

POEA said jobs in South Korea’s manufacturing industry are only available for qualified applicants for now.

Filipino workers with active status in the POEA online manpower registry as of March 31 this year are qualified to register for the KLT. The application fee for the test was also reduced to $17 from $30.

“Applicants must be able to meet the minimum qualification requirements before being allowed to take the KLT,” the POEA said in its announcement.

Each applicant has to meet the following requirements: must be younger than 38-years-old, have at least one year of work experience and have valid documents such as a passport.

The HRD Korea has also reduced the passing score on the language test to 80 from 120 points.

Applicants who have scored 80 points out of the 50 items on reading and listening, and whose scores are in the top 3,000 will be included on the roster of jobseekers.

Manalili, however, said, “Being on the roster of pre-qualified applicants, however, is not a guarantee for employment as employers will have specific job requirements in hiring their workers.”

POEA said more than 21,000 Filipino workers have worked in South Korea under the EPS since August 2004. The basic monthly salary for a foreign EPS worker in South Korea is about $904, the agency said.

By Jonathan M. Hicap
Korea Times Correspondent

jhicap@yahoo.com

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, OFW Livelihood Training, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

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