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Department of Foreign Affairs-19October2009-updates

DFA Celebrates UN WeekPosted: 19 Oct 2009 12:20 AM PDT

PH-187-09, 19 October 2009 – DFA Secretary Dr. Alberto G. Romulo and UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative Dr. Jacqueline Badcock pose with UN and DFA officials after the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the UN Exhibit on the Millennium Development Goals-3. (Photo: Tony Bosa, Jr. DFA-PISU.)

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DFA Secretary Alberto G. Romulo cuts ribbon on UN exhibit at DFA lobbyPosted: 19 Oct 2009 12:11 AM PDT

PH-186-09, 19 October 2009—DFA Secretary Dr.. Alberto G. Romulo and UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative Dr. Jacqueline Badcock at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the UN Exhibit on the Millennium Development Goals-3 at the DFA Main Lobby. (Photo: Benjamin E. Remo. DFA-PISU)

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DFA Celebrates United Nations Week with Focus on WomenPosted: 18 Oct 2009 11:49 PM PDT

PR-874-09, 19 October 2009 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) commenced this year’s United Nations Week with an exhibit focused on the third Millennium Development Goal (MDG) – the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo led the flag ceremony and the opening of exhibit with the theme, “Making the MDGs Work for All, Making the MDGs Work for Women.”

The eight MDGs form a blueprint agreed to by the world’s leaders and all the world’s development institutions at the September 2000 UN Millennium Summit. The Goals range from halving extreme poverty to providing universal primary education, and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS by the target date of 2015.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to the Philippines Dr. Jacqueline Badcock, UN Millennium Campaign Director Salil Shetty, and members of the diplomatic corps graced the event.

In his remarks, Secretary Romulo underscored the Philippines’ commitment to meet MDG-3 goal by 2015.

“The Philippines remains firmly committed to attaining the MDG-3 goal. The last decade had seen an increase in women’s participation in the labor force, with 49 percent of all women now working,” he said. In comparison, 79 percent of all men are working.

Secretary Romulo added that the Philippines ranked 6th among 130 countries featured in the Global Gender Gap Report for 2008 and that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivered a special address on gender at the World Economic Forum in January 2008 in recognition of the Philippines’ leadership in this vital area.

In the Philippine bureaucracy, the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women reported that women comprise the majority, particularly at the technical level. As of 2004, data from the Civil Service Commission showed that women accounted for 57.6 percent of the 1.31 million employed by government.

Secretary Romulo further disclosed that in the foreign service, women comprise 48.7 percent (or 1,119 individuals) of all human resources in the Home Office, foreign service posts, and regional consular offices.

Meanwhile, Secretary Romulo said that the Philippines will overcome the recent weather occurrences that have affected millions of Filipinos with the support and assistance of its developments partners and the international community.

He expressed the Philippine Government’s appreciation to the United Nations and other partners overseas for their rapid response to President Arroyo’s requests for emergency assistance, as well as for sustained cooperation as the country prepares for longer-term rehabilitation and reconstruction.

“We wish to thank, in particular, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Sir John Holmes, for taking the lead in launching the UN Flash Appeal for the Philippines and for his visit to the Philippines last week. We trust the international community will continue to respond generously to the UN’s Appeal,” he said. (Photo: Tony Bosa, Jr. DFA-PISU) END.

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Philippine Embassy Forum with Brunei Manpower AgenciesPosted: 18 Oct 2009 11:49 PM PDT

PR-873-09, 19 October 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Brunei Darussalam, through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), recently conducted a Forum on Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Policies.

Held last October 15, the activity was attended by Brunei Manpower Agencies (BMAs) at the Chancery.

The objectives of the Forum are to update BMAs on the latest POEA rules on the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), thresh out issues and concerns affecting recruitment and placement of Filipino workers, promote/enhance cooperation and understanding between the Philippine Embassy and BMAs for the welfare of OFWs, and promote further employment opportunities in Brunei for interested OFWs.

Philippine Ambassador Alexander B. Yano thanked the agency representatives for actively participating in the Forum and assured them of the Embassy’s support for their efforts to find employment opportunities for Filipino workers in Brunei Darussalam and in promoting the OFWs’ welfare.

He emphasized that the POEA policies are adopted by all PE-POLOs around the globe, cognizant of the host government’s laws and policies. He also welcomed any suggestion of BMAs to further improve POLO services not only to OFWs, but also to its other stakeholders like BMAs and employers.

Ambassador Yano likewise thanked Brunei Labor Department representatives HJ Rambli Bin Triokie, Dyg. Mahani Bte Hj. Lamudin, and Junainan Bte Hj Mohd. Tahir for gracing the Forum, providing inputs, and addressing some of the questions of the BMAs. During the Forum, the Labor Department’s representatives informed the body of the approval of the new Brunei labor laws to be issued soon.

Labor Attaché Elizabeth Recio updated the BMAs on the POEA policies on the deployment of OFWs. She cited that POEA is the Philippine government agency tasked to manage the migration of more than eight million Filipino workers overseas through its core functions namely, manpower industry regulation, employment facilitation, workers’ protection, and general administration, and support services.

She explained the system of accreditation of foreign principal or employer to recruit and hire Filipino workers through a licensed agency for overseas employment; the allowable conditions when an employer can go through name hire or direct hire system; the minimum requirements in contracts; the responsibility of agencies for the repatriation of workers in case problems occur; the requirements of POEA for the submission of visas of household service workers and low/semi-skilled workers including verification of employment documents by the POLO before processing; and just causes for termination of employment contract by the employer, as well as the open registration/accreditation of principals/employers to a maximum of five agencies under certain conditions.

The issues and concerns of POEA-Brunei desk among manpower agencies were discussed with the view to facilitating the processing of workers bound for Brunei Darussalam.

The BMAs prequalified by Philippine Embassy – POLO include: Hazly Employment Agency, Kuan Ling Employment Agency, Homtec Recruitment Agency, Min-Ishana Manpower Services, B-Square Employment Agency, Kosh Employment Agency, L & Y Enterprise, MJ & MK Employment Agency, H-Hans Employment Agency, KAMA Employment Agency, T.S. King Manpower Services, Makaseil Emloyment Agency, Narita Employment Agency, Tabah Ali & Mat Employment Agency, Multi Star Employment Agency, Blia Future Employment Agency, L.C. Mei Employment Agency, SYJ Employment Agency, Felimic Employment Agency, Bobtech Employment Agency, Linda and Lydia Employment Agency, Nur Berjaya Employment Agency, Winzel Employment Agency, Green Hill Enterprise, M-Pro Employment Agency, Intercity Manpower Services, Sonoor Recruitment Agency, Ivyan Link Agencies, Shec Employment Agency, A.S.H.J. Employment Agency, R’zzak Manpower, Annie Surya Employment Agency, Shuko Enterprise, Amerlee Manpower Enterprise Company, Nemia Emlployment Agency, Mas Kelana Employment Agency, Sakinah Employment Agency, Xyla Employment Agency, Emelle Setia Employment Agency and CK Liew Employment Agency. END

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RP Consulate General in Honolulu Receives Boxes of Donations from HPU’s “Kababayan Filipino American Student Association”Posted: 18 Oct 2009 11:48 PM PDT

PH-185-09, 19 October 2009 – Consul Paul Raymund P. Cortes of the Philippine Consul General in Honolulu accepted the donations of canned goods and used clothing from Mr. Niccolo Gruta, President of the Kababayan Filipino American Student Association at the Hawaii Pacific University.

The consulate has been designated as a drop-off point for donations in-kind in the on-going relief operations for the victims of the recent typhoons in the Philippines.

“Donations came from students of HPU. We did not even have to advertise our relief drive, they just came with their donations. Many have families and relatives in the Philippines and they wanted to share what they have here in Hawaii. I am very grateful to all of them,” Mr. Gruta said.

Consul Cortes, who is also the Consulate’s community relations officer, is coordinating with Rep. Joey Manahan (District 29) for the immediate shipment of all donated goods to the Philippines. END

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Outpouring of Humanitarian Assistance from Ireland for Typhoon Victims ContinuesPosted: 18 Oct 2009 11:47 PM PDT

PR-872-09, 19 October 2009 – Humanitarian assistance from Ireland for typhoon victims in the Philippines continued to pour in.

Philippine Ambassador to Ireland Ariel Abadilla expressed appreciation to the Irish government, as well as to the Filipino community, for their continued efforts to support the relief and rehabilitation of affected communities in the Philippines.

He expressed gratitude to the Irish government for allocating €350,000 ($507,500) recently as Irish aid to the typhoon victims. The amount of €200,000 was coursed through “Plan Ireland,” an NGO with a long history of working with children in the Philippines; while the amount of €150,000 will be coursed through the United Nations Children’s Fund.

In announcing the relief assistance, Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power said that he is directing the Irish Government’s support to those agencies/organizations working closely with children as they are the most severely affected by these types of disasters.

Plan Ireland is targeting 20,000 children and young people in Rizal Province as beneficiaries. The funds will be used to provide water and sanitation, counselling and education support, in addition to basic social infrastructure.

Various Filipino community groups and individuals have also been actively organizing fund-raising activities such as the following:

“Pinoy Idol – Sagip Kapamilya Charity Gig”

A one-night fundraising party event held last October 11 which raised a total of €2,400 ($3,480).

Relief Goods Collection

The Filipino Community Network (FCN) has been working with various groups in the collection of relief goods. Additional shipment to Manila of assorted clothes/shoes/toys, canned goods and noodles is being arranged by Gawad Kalinga (GK) – Ireland chapter for distribution in the Philippines by GK Philippines & Couples for Christ (CFC) Manila as Pamaskong Handog to typhoon victims.

Street Collection in County Cork, Ireland

A “Filipino Emergency Appeal” street collection is being organized by the United Filipino Ireland Association on 20 October 2009 in the streets of Cork City, south of Ireland. Street collections are common Irish grassroot communities’ response to international disasters.

Remittance Centers

Established remittance centers in Dublin catering to Filipino clients decided to waive processing fees for remittances intended as donations to the typhoon victims. END

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Malaysia Sends Humanitarian Assistance to Victims of Typhoons Ondoy and PepengPosted: 18 Oct 2009 11:46 PM PDT

PR-871-09, 19 October 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo that the Malaysian Government has sent four planeloads of relief goods for the victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

The Malaysian humanitarian assistance, worth US$141,491 (or approximately P6,821,376) consisting of rice, canned goods, instant noodles, biscuits, milk powder, blankets, adult and children’s clothing, was flown to Villamor Airforce Base in Manila aboard four flights of C-130 aircraft. The planes arrived in pairs on October 16 and 18.

The send-off ceremony for the first two flights of Malaysia’s humanitarian assistance was held on October 16 at Kuala Lumpur’s Subang Airforce Base with Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Victoriano M. Lecaros, Secretary of the National Security Council of Malaysia Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab, and Undersecretary for Southeast Asia Division of the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dato’ Adnan bin Othman in attendance.

Upon arrival at Villamor Airbase, the Malaysian relief goods were turned over to Assistant Secretary Vilma B. Cabrera of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) by Madam Vimala Murugan, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Malaysia.

Also on hand to witness the turnover were officials from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), the DSWD, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and a team of Malaysian government officials.

Malaysia previously sent humanitarian assistance to the Philippines during the Mount Mayon eruption in 2000 and the landslide tragedies in Leyte and Guinsaugon in 2006. END

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RP Embassy in Tel Aviv Visits RP Contingent to the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) at the Golan HeightsPosted: 18 Oct 2009 11:30 PM PDT

PR-870-09, 19 October 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, headed by Ambassador Petronila P. Garcia, traveled to Camp Zouani (Israel side) in the Golan Heights to meet the Philippine Contingent composed of military personnel from the different branches of service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines..

Vice Consul Greg Marie Mariño and Mr. Alvin L. Conchas III accompanied the Ambassador during the visit.

Lt. Col. Milfredo Melegrito (GSC-PA), the commanding officer of the Philippine Batallion, received the Ambassador at Camp Zouani. Military Honors/courtesies were also extended to the Ambassador.

The Commanding Officer, together with the military staff officers, also provided a short briefing. The Polish and Indian military staff officers joined the session.

Lt. Col. Melegrito provided an initial assessment on the Philippine “area of responsibility” and, at the same time, identified the possible (future) challenges to the Philippine contingent.

In turn, the Ambassador welcomed the military contingent and conveyed that such deployment is a milestone for the Philippines. She personally thanked the Polish and Indian battalions for the warm welcome, personal and official assistance they have extended to the Filipino soldiers.

In a separate briefing with the Philippine Contingent, the Ambassador provided a brief overview of Israel and emphasized the dos and don’ts, and more importantly, the distinct cultural and religious orientation of the host country.

Lt. Col. Melegrito also accompanied the Philippine Embassy officials to Mt. Bental. From there, he showed the panoramic view of the border between Syria and Israel and showed the extent of the area of responsibility of the Philippine contingent.

The Philippine Batallion will officially replace the Polish Batallion on October 22. A turn-over ceremony is scheduled at Camp Zouani, Golan Heights.

It will be recalled that the advance party, composed of 12 officers, was deployed on September 29 while the second batch, composed of 161 military personnel, arrived in early October 2009. The last batch of contingent is expected to arrive by late October to complement the battalion strength of 336 military personnel.

The deployment of Philippine troops in the Golan Heights is part of the Philippine Government’s commitment to the United Nations, particularly to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

UNDOF has been operating in the Golan Heights for the past 35 years and Poland has provided military personnel for UNDOF since its formation in 1974. Force Commander Maj. Gen. Wolfgang Jilke (Austrian) currently heads the UNDOF. END

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Filipino a Top Ten Finalist on CNN’s “Hero of the Year”Posted: 18 Oct 2009 11:28 PM PDT

PR-869-09, 19 October 2009 – Twenty-eight-year-old Efren Penaflorida, Jr. made it to the top ten finalists of Cable News Network’s (CNN) “Hero of the Year” for championing impoverished children in the Philippines and inspiring them to transform into dynamic and proactive members of the society through education.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa lauded Penaflorida’s noble work saying, “Efren has proved that one person, with his determination and selflessness, can touch the lives of many and make a difference in the world.”

Born to a poor family in Cavite City, Penaflorida witnessed the growth of teenage gangs in the Philippines, which according to him, can be attributed to poverty. Feeling a great need to persuade his fellow youth to change and cease their delinquent ways, he and a group of friends in high school established the “Dynamic Teen Company” (DTC) to divert their attention to education.

Today, DTC has grown to become a 10,000-member volunteer group teaching basic reading, writing, arithmetic and English every Saturdays to marginalized children in the slums of Cavite City. Using a roaming “pushcart” filled with books, pens, tables and chairs, they are able to transform places such as cemeteries and dump sites into classrooms.

In a span of 12 years, Penaflorida and his group has changed the lives of over 1,500 children.

Penaflorida’s heroism has caught the attention of an international audience in this year’s “Hero of the Year” contest sponsored by CNN. Out of a pool of nearly 9,000 applicants, Penaflorida successfully made it to the top ten finalists.

The winner, which will be chosen through an online public voting, will be awarded with a $100,000.00 cash prize.

“Efren serves as a champion to the marginalized Filipino youth. He has gone a long way with his pushcart and we know that he can go even further if chosen as this year’s ‘Hero of the Year.’ It is in this note that I exhort the Filipino community in the United States to aid in furthering Efren’s cause by casting your votes online in support of him,” Ambassador Gaa said.

Voting period will run until 19 November 2009. A link to the voting page can be accessed at http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/vote/. END

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Project Handang TumulongPosted: 18 Oct 2009 10:45 PM PDT

PH-184-09, (left photo) Philippine Consul General in New York Cecilia B. Rebong (3rd from left) receives the medicine donations of Fil-Ams from Long Island. Right photo: Deputy Consul General Millie Thomeczek and consulate staff officers receive donations from the Yale Filipino Students club, represented by Mrs. Macline Labitigan,(right.)

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The boxes at the Philippine Center were picked up by Johnny Air Cargo for air shipment to the Philippines, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

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