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Department of Foreign Affairs-16Nov2009-updates

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki Arrives Tomorrow for Two-Day Official Visit

Posted: 16 Nov 2009 09:57 PM PST

17 November 2009 – Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will arrive in Manila tomorrow, November 18, for a two-day official visit, upon the invitation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo.

Upon his arrival, Minister Mottaki will pay a courtesy call on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and will meet with his counterpart, Secretary Romulo.

The two Ministers will hold a bilateral meeting where they will reaffirm their respective country’s commitment and determination to strengthen and enhance relations.

The meeting will also provide an opportunity for both sides to strengthen the mechanism for review of bilateral relations and identification of new areas for cooperation.

Minister Mottaki will be joined by his spouse, Madam Tahereh Mottaki, who sits as Iran’s Director General for Women’s International Affairs and Human Rights; Members of the Iranian Parliament; and other senior Iranian government officials. END

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President Arroyo Attends Historic ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meet, RP to Take Lead in Drafting Future ASEAN-US Cooperation Agenda

Posted: 16 Nov 2009 09:07 PM PST

17 November 2009 – President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo attended the ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting in Singapore last November 15, the first time that Leaders of all 10 ASEAN members met with the President of the United States after 32 years of dialogue partnership..

Sitting beside U.S. President Barack Obama, President Arroyo welcomed America’s renewed engagement in Asia. She also said that positive developments in US policy towards Myanmar and North Korea, and on the issue of nuclear disarmament, augur well for ASEAN-U.S. Relations and for global peace and security.

“It is against the backdrop of these very positive developments that the Philippines gladly assumes the role of Country Coordinator for the ASEAN-U.S. partnership,” the President said.

The first ever ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting is taking place under the country coordinatorship of the Philippines.

The Leaders requested the Philippines to take the lead in drafting the successor ASEAN-U.S. Plan of Action on Enhanced Partnership (2011-2016). The current five-year Plan of Action will expire in 2010.

President Arroyo highlighted several priority areas which should be included in the new Plan of Action including cooperation in climate change, disaster management, trade and investments facilitation, energy security, and counter terrorism.

The President also sought the support of ASEAN and the U.S. as the country assumes the Presidency of the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Ambassador Libran Cabactulan will preside over the Review Conference, to be held in New York in May 2010, on behalf of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Leaders adopted a Joint Statement identifying mutually agreed areas of cooperation.

Two ASEAN and U.S. senior officials meetings, chaired by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enrique Manalo, were held in Manila and Singapore this November to draft the joint statement.

ASEAN and U.S. Leaders also agreed to hold their next Meeting in 2010. END

1st ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting
Singapore, 15 November 2009

JOINT STATEMENT

Enhanced Partnership for Enduring Peace and Prosperity

1. We, the Heads of State/Government of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the United States (U.S.), held our first ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting on 15 November 2009 in Singapore. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, in his capacity as Chairman of ASEAN, and the Honourable Barack Obama, President of the United States. The Secretary-General of ASEAN was also in attendance. We agreed to hold a second Leaders’ meeting in 2010.

2. We noted with satisfaction that over the last 32 years of Dialogue relations, ASEAN and the United States have developed mutually beneficial cooperation in many areas, reflecting our broad shared interests guided by the Joint Vision Statement on the ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership of 17 November 2005, the 2006 Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership, and Revised Priorities for Cooperation under the ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership 2009. We welcomed the role of the Philippines as the Country Coordinator for ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue Relations from July 2009 to July 2012, and requested the Philippines to lead the drafting of the next five-year Plan of Action.

3. The United States welcomed ASEAN’s plans to achieve an ASEAN Community by 2015 based on the ASEAN Charter, and reaffirmed its commitment to support those plans. We have agreed to increase our collaboration and will establish an ASEAN-U.S. Eminent Persons Group in support of enhanced ASEAN-U.S. cooperation in addressing regional and global issues.

4. We agreed on the need for a broader and deeper ASEAN-U.S. cooperation to promote educational exchanges, including in science and technology and in people-to-people interactions. We pledged to increase opportunities for English language learning and those studying overseas in the United States and ASEAN. We also agreed to explore future areas of cooperation such as people/labour mobility, interfaith dialogue and development cooperation.

5. The President of the United States pronounced the U.S. policy of enhancing engagement with ASEAN which it regards as a key partner in the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. The Leaders of ASEAN welcomed the accession of the United States to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia, the naming of an Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs, the intent to open a U.S. Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta, and its ASEAN Development Vision to Advance National Cooperation and Economic Integration (ADVANCE) program.

6. We shared a vision of a regional architecture that is inclusive, promotes shared values and norms, and respects the diversity within the region. We agreed to work closely together in building this regional architecture, and were ready to study initiatives of this nature. We reaffirmed the importance of ASEAN centrality in this process.

7. The President of the United States also expressed U.S.. support for the establishment of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, which demonstrates the commitment of the ASEAN Member States in the promotion and protection of human rights. The United States invited the members of the Commission to visit the United States in 2010 to consult with international experts in this field. The United States also supported the Human Rights Resource Centre for ASEAN, a track 2 initiative, with a university in Jakarta as the hub of the Centre and including a network of universities throughout ASEAN.

8. The United States welcomed the ASEAN Leaders Statement on ASEAN Connectivity adopted at the 15th ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin, Thailand.

9. The Leaders of ASEAN welcomed the continued active support of the United States in the other regional fora, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which is a critically important regional political and security forum. ASEAN noted the interest of the United States in the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) and welcomed the intention of the U.S. Secretary of Defence to undertake consultations with his ASEAN counterparts concerning the ADMM-Plus.

10. The Leaders of ASEAN welcomed the high level dialogue and the policy of the United States to engage with the Government of Myanmar, as indicated by the recent visit of U.S. officials to Myanmar. We expressed our hope that this effort, as well as ASEAN’s, would contribute to broad political and economic reforms and the process will be further enhanced in the future. We also underscored the importance of achieving national reconciliation and that the general elections to be held in Myanmar in 2010 must be conducted in a free, fair, inclusive and transparent manner in order to be credible to the international community. We called on the Government of Myanmar to help create the conditions for credible elections including by initiating a dialogue with all stakeholders to ensure that the process is fully inclusive. We also reiterated our continued support to the good offices of the United Nations Secretary-General in the democratization process in Myanmar. We also noted the Joint Communiqué of the 42nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phuket, 20 July 2009.

11. Drawing on valuable lessons from the crises of 1997 and 2008, we resolved to contribute to reforming the global economic and financial architecture to safeguard the global economy from future crises, and to promote regional and global economic growth and recovery.

12. We discussed ASEAN’s growing capacity and role in global issues. The United States will support ASEAN’s continuing role in multilateral efforts where ASEAN has a growing ability to make contributions. The President of the United States also supported regional efforts initiated by ASEAN and ASEAN-led fora, to address the impact of the global financial and economic crisis in the region and looked forward to continued close coordination between such regional efforts and the global efforts undertaken by the G-20. The Leaders of ASEAN will endeavour to do their part to implement policies in support of the G-20 principles laid out in the Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth.

13. We were pleased to note that economic relations between ASEAN and the United States continue to be strong and dynamic. We applauded the sizeable increase in trade and investment between ASEAN and the United States over the past several years. Two-way goods trade reached $178 billion in 2008, and, ASEAN is host to U.S. foreign direct investment of $153 billion, making it the favoured U.S. investment destination in Asia. We stressed the need to further enhance economic cooperation and partnership through new initiatives under the ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (ASEAN-U.S. TIFA), to be agreed upon by the ASEAN Trade Ministers and the United States Trade Representative. We tasked the officials to initially focus on trade and customs facilitation. We also welcomed the meeting of ASEAN Finance Ministers and the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury on 12 November 2009 in Singapore as another element of broader engagement of ASEAN and the United States.

14. Recognizing the importance of trade and investment liberalization to our future economic growth and prosperity, we welcomed the results of the 2009 APEC Leaders’ meeting, and reaffirmed our commitment to accelerating regional economic integration in the Asia-Pacific by promoting greater convergence among APEC economies in key trade and investment policy areas, and the importance of bringing the Doha Round to a successful conclusion in 2010. We also supported the G-20 statement in fighting protectionism.

15. We resolved to deepen cooperation against international terrorism under the framework of the ASEAN-U.S. Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism. We requested our concerned officials to identify and implement actions towards this goal.

16. We also agreed to strengthen efforts to prevent and combat other transnational crimes, such as illicit drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, money laundering, arms smuggling, sea piracy, international economic crime and cyber crime, in accordance with national laws and regulations.

17. We agreed to intensify ASEAN-U.S. development cooperation in support of ASEAN efforts in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), narrowing development gap among ASEAN Member States, and enhancing regional integration and realising an ASEAN Community by 2015.

18. We welcomed the U.S.-Lower Mekong Initiative to promote cooperation in the areas of environment, health, education and infrastructure development and the U.S. commitment to discuss specific activities for cooperation and follow-up. We supported the convening of ministerial meetings between the United States and Lower Mekong Basin countries on an annual basis. We also welcomed cooperation in the other sub-regional frameworks..

19. We reaffirmed our commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The Leaders of ASEAN also welcomed the efforts of the President of the United States in promoting international peace and security including the vision of a nuclear weapons free world through efforts such as the agreement between the United States and Russia to reduce their respective nuclear arsenals through the START Follow-on Treaty negotiations.

20. We are convinced that the establishment of a South-East Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (SEANWFZ) will contribute towards global nuclear disarmament and nuclear non proliferation and peace and security in the region. We encouraged nuclear weapon states and States parties to the SEANWFZ to conduct consultations, in accordance with the objectives and principles of the Treaty, to resolve comprehensively outstanding issues with the view to ensuring the early accession of the nuclear weapon states including the United States to the Protocol of the Treaty.

21. We will increase consultation and cooperation on the challenges affecting the international community, including non-proliferation, disarmament and regional peace and security. We agreed to work towards preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and work together to build a world without nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. We reaffirmed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We agreed to support the Philippines as it assumes the presidency of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which provides an important opportunity for the international community to act in a concerted manner towards these ends. We also declared our support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and welcomed the declared intention of the United States to ratify the treaty. We urged all states to ratify the treaty and facilitate its early entry into force. We welcomed the establishment in the ARF of an Inter-sessional Meeting on Non-proliferation and Disarmament as a venue to further explore dialogue and cooperation on these issues.

22. We urged the DPRK to return to the Six-Party Talks process and to fully implement its commitments made in the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the NPT and to IAEA safeguards. We also urged the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, including those related to denuclearization and resuming its missile launch moratorium.

23. We agreed to work closely to ensure the success of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and that the agreed outcome should incorporate long-term cooperative actions to address climate change. We also recognized the critical importance of adapting to the increasingly severe effects of climate change in the region. We agreed to strengthen our collaboration in both research on climate impacts and development and implementation of appropriate policies and measures.

24. We stressed that access to diverse, reliable, affordable, and clean energy is critical for sustainable economic growth, and agreed that accelerated deployment of clean energy technology and energy efficiency measures would diversify our energy supplies and strengthen our energy security. The United States proposed that the U.S. Secretary of Energy and the ASEAN Ministers on Energy meet in 2010 to advance energy security and clean energy and to explore cooperation in renewable and alternative energy, such as hydro power and biofuels in order to supplement the region’s traditional fossil fuel energy sources. We agreed to study the possibility of establishing of public/private working groups to make policy recommendations to develop clean energy.

25. We agreed to strengthen cooperation on food security, in particular to promote investment, capacity building, sharing of experience and best practices, research and development as well as infrastructure development in the agricultural sector.

26. We also agreed to further strengthen cooperation on disaster management by building on initiatives such as the ARF Voluntary Demonstration of Response on Disaster Relief (ARF-VDR). The Leaders of ASEAN expressed their appreciation for the recent contribution of the United States to disaster relief efforts in the region. The United States also supported ASEAN efforts to enhance its capacity building in disaster management and emergency response. The Leaders of ASEAN welcomed the U.S. support for the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) and its offer of assistance to establish an ASEAN multi-hazard early warning system.

27. We welcomed the cooperation initiated by the ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting and the U.S. Centre for Disease Control in May 2009 to address the threat of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus. We recognized that multisectoral pandemic preparedness and response efforts need to be strengthened to fight future outbreaks of diseases with pandemic potential. In this regard, we asked relevant officials to further enhance consultation, including on stockpiling of antiviral and other essential medicines and medical equipment to jointly prevent and control the Influenza A(H1N1) and other pandemic diseases. We agreed to study the possibility of establishing public/private working groups to make policy recommendations to develop health initiatives.

28. With a view to sustaining the momentum of the ASEAN-U.S.. dialogue partnership after the Inaugural Leaders’ Meeting, we stressed the importance of continuing dialogue at the highest level between the two sides.

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RP Embassy in Tokyo Receives ¥317,382 Donation from Staff of Nerima City Office for Typhoon Ondoy Disaster Relief Efforts

Posted: 16 Nov 2009 08:52 PM PST

17 November 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo received a JPY317,382 (approximately P158,000) voluntary cash donation from the Staff of Nerima City Office last November 13 as humanitarian assistance for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy.

The donation was officially handed over to Ambassador Domingo L. Siazon, Jr. by Mr. Sho Nishimura, Section Chief of the Internal Affairs Section of Nerima City Office.

Ambassador Siazon expressed appreciation for the generosity of the Staff of Nerima City Office.

Nerima City is located in the northwestern part of Tokyo, and the fifth largest of Tokyo’s 23 special wards. It is known as the birthplace of Japanese animation, with living culture and rich natural greenery. END

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RP Consulate in LA held Consular Outreach in Chula Vista

Posted: 16 Nov 2009 08:05 PM PST

17 November 2009 – Deputy Consul General Daniel R. Espiritu led a team from the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles and conducted a consular outreach program,

The consular outreach program, which took place at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Chula Vista, California last November 14, was undertaken in cooperation with the Council of the Philippine American Organizations of San Diego County, Inc. (COPAO) led by its president, Ms. Merly Ferrer.

A total of 227 consular services were rendered during the one-day consular outreach program, breakdown of which are as follows: dual citizenship (32), passport renewal (165), passport amendment (4), lost passport (5), civil registry (7), issuance of travel document (2), legalization of document (11), and certification (1).

Deputy Consul General Espiritu was accompanied by Misses Lyn Cabral and Rowena Namay, and Messrs. Bernardino Concepcion and Amor Ibañez.

The consular outreach program is a regular activity of the Consulate to bring its various services closer to its constituents residing in areas within its jurisdiction. END

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RP Hilot Massage Center Opens in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Donates income to Typhoon Victims

Posted: 16 Nov 2009 08:00 PM PST

17 November 2009 – An exclusive Philippine Hilot Massage Center opened in Ljubljana, Slovenia, probably the first of its kind in Europe, according to a report from the Philippine Honorary Consul General in Slovenia Jože Kastelic to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The center, called the Sense Wellness Center, is located at the Austria Trend Hotel in said city.

The opening was well attended and covered by Slovenian television and newspapers. This is part of a trend of positive news about the Philippines which has become a popular country in Slovenia.

The story of the Filipino massage center started half a year ago, when Sense Wellness Club’s owners – Andreja and Natasa Medvedič – brought Philippine Hilot therapeutic massage to Slovenia, with six Filipino massage therapists.

Since then, it has become a best-seller and has become the most popular and best spa in Ljubljana. Among its famous guests have been the international pop star, Pink; and the famous writer Paulo Coelho; among others.

As part of its assistance to Philippine typhoon victims, the owner of the Center held an event last October 1 to raise funds. The owner donated 3.5 percent of the Center’s income for the month of October to Filipino typhoon victims. END

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RP Embassy Team in Riyadh Remains Undeafeated at the Asean Missions’ Bowling Tournament

Posted: 16 Nov 2009 07:05 PM PST

17 November 2009 – The Philippine Embassy team was the runaway winner in the recently concluded ASEAN Missions’ Bowling Tournament held at the Al-Khozama Bowling Centre, Riyadh, KSA on November 19.

The Embassy bagged this year’s championship trophy and maintained its spotless record for being undefeated since 2002.

The team was energized by the presence of the high-ranking officials of the Embassy headed by Ambassador Antonio P. Villamor. They consistently displayed excellent performances like professional athletes until the very end. Their early lead against the other participating countries proved to be insurmountable.

Attaché Princesa V. Tabago of the Philippine Team was awarded the Best Female Player for garnering the highest total pin falls among the women competitors, while Mr. Abdurrahman Burhani of Indonesia clinched the Best Male Player award.

The Philippine Bowling Team was composed of Attachés Abdul Hamid Alawi, Alberto V. Rodillo, Princesa V. Tabago and Messrs. Nasrodin M. Usudan and Jonathan C. Tabago. Cultural Attaché Rosario G. Malicse served as Team Captain and Philippine ARSSC Coordinator.

Other team winners were the Embassy of Indonesia, which placed first runner-up, while the second runner-up trophy went to the Embassy of Thailand.

The teams from the Embassies of Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam did not make it to the magic three but played as good sports and displayed the true ASEAN spirit of camaraderie throughout the event.

This year’s host of the bowling tournament was the Embassy of Singapore, which provided a sumptuous lunch for ASEAN diplomats and their families at the Riyadh Chinese Restaurant after the awarding ceremony at the Al-Khozama Bowling Center. END

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Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates

Use empowering words when you talk to yourself

(whether you are speaking out loud or silently)

How do you talk to yourself?

Do you use the words “can’t”, “won’t”, “don’t need to”, “why try”?
Many people do.

Do you find that what you say to yourself turns out to be true?

Why is this?

You see your brain is like a computer that you feed each day. It doesn’t know always know what’s real or not unless you tell it.

Example: If someone you love has hurt you, you may tell yourself that all people who love you will probably hurt you too.

Your brain just files this information for reference, it’s data, little zeroes and ones and no column that asks “true or not true?” Now your brain thinks, based on what you told it, that everyone you’ll ever love will hurt you.

How do you think you will respond the next time you get hurt?

Right!!

Now, what if we instead told our brain:

“Okay this person ripped my heart out – but that’s only one person. I’m lovable and have many loving people in my life who are not out to hurt me. I know that the right people are coming into my life all the time. If someone hurts me, I will forgive them and bless them on their way.”

Words can be empowering.

I can
I love to
I want to
I will
I must
I am

We can reach a new level of living, if we feed ourselves empowering words and practice saying them until they become a habit.

I know first hand that it takes time.

And I also know that it’s worth it.

Try it for a week.

Catch yourself saying, “I can’t”, when you don’t really mean it and instead try, “I can”, and see how you think and feel about yourself.

Remember, the words you use to empower yourself will have a lasting effect, only if you practice them and they become a habit (an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary).

They say it takes at least 28 days to develop a habit. After a week, you will see that it becomes easier. It’s a mindset and you can control your thoughts. Be proactive and not reactive – give yourself some good words.

Dream big and empower yourself! Believe you can and you will.

Filed under: Encouragement, Inspiration

High-school graduate from Sorsogon gets a take-home pay above the minimum

A Nation of Casuals

 

Written by Clarence Pascual
ImageContractual or nonstandard work is on the rise among wage earners, diminishing the gains from the gradual shift from self-employment to higher quality jobs

 

Gene is a “rider,” or delivery guy, for Burger King. Like the rest of the store’s crew, he is an agency-hired worker. The restaurant business is known for employing young workers on nonstandard terms—contractual, part-time, hourly paid, hired by an employment agency, and so on—eschewing the regular and formal employee-employer relationship that used to be standard in large corporations.

Gene’s employment terms with the world’s second largest restaurant chain slightly stretches the envelope. The minimum wage worker also owns the motorbike he uses to deliver orders, which he paid for in installments. Gene and other retail employees featured in this article did not give their full names; they are not allowed by their companies to talk to the media without permission from management.

For the use of his bike, Burger King pays him about P200 a day. Not much, he says, since this covers the cost of gas and repairs. Recently he had to cough up P6,000 for repairs, an amount he borrowed from management.

When there are no major repairs, the high-school graduate from Sorsogon gets a take-home pay above the minimum. This arrangement gives him a sense of security and incentive to stay, probably more of the latter. He has been on the job for 10 years.

Nonstandard employment or employment other than permanent salaried employment, according to the “World of Work Report 2008” of the International Labor Organization (ILO), has risen in the last 20 years or so. A key aspect is the undermining of the traditional employment relationship: reducing its duration, increasing its uncertainty, or eroding the claims that workers and employers can make on one another.

“Precarious” or “contingent” are used to describe the uncertainty of such employment, including part-time or temporary work and self-employment. But these may also denote the everyday life of nonstandard workers. Marked by low pay and earnings, nonstandard employment has been blamed for the growing ranks of the working poor, rising uncertainty, and widening inequality.

WAGE WORK

The picture is mixed in terms of long-term trends in the Philippines. The good news is that self-employment has declined in the last 10 years or so, according to a study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The paper, “Quality of Jobs in the Philippines: Comparing Self-Employment with Wage Employment,” reveals that the share of self-employed workers fell from 53 percent of total employment in 1994 to 47 percent in 2006. The shift from selfemployment to wage employment is not only due to a shrinking agricultural sector. It cuts across sectors, including manufacturing, trading, and other services.

Nevertheless, self-employment remains a major challenge. Agriculture and wholesale and retail trade remain predominantly informal, with self-employed workers accounting for 72 percent and 63 percent of employment, respectively. Overall, the self-employed outnumber either permanent or casual workers.

The bad news is that the shift towards wage work is accompanied by a rise in nonstandard employment or casual work in the terminology of the ADB study. Dividing wage workers between permanent and casual workers, it reveals that the share of casual work rose by 2 percentage points to 28 percent between 1994 and 2006.

The rise in casual employment is more evident in manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade, where one-third of all workers are found. Thus, in manufacturing, the share of casual employees rose by 7 percentage points to 24 percent, and in wholesale and retail trade, by 4 percentage points to 24 percent over the same period.

The rise in nonstandard work affects mostly young workers (21-30 years old) whose share of casual workers went up. By contrast, the share of older workers (30 and over) shrank. Being the fastest growing jobs, the share of casual work is likely to grow in the next decade.

‘CONTRACTUALIZATION’

Statistics pertaining to the formal sector—establishments with 20 or more workers—confirm the widespread use of nonstandard workers, including contractual, casual, and agency employees.

One out of three rank-and-file employees engaged by firms is a non-regular or agency-hired worker, according to the “2003/2004 BLES Integrated Survey.” Of 2.3 million workers, 855,000 or 37 percent were nonstandard workers, including 628,000 or 27 percent non-regular workers and 214,000 or 9 percent agency-hired workers.

Nonstandard work is more prevalent in some sectors than in others. In terms of incidence, non-regular employment is highest in construction, where two out of three workers are non-regulars, compared with one out of two in the hotels and restaurant industry. In absolute numbers, manufacturing and wholesale and retail employ the biggest number of non-regulars, 316,000 and 132,000, respectively.

The growth in nonstandard employment is not inherently bad if these jobs are just as good as standard, regular employment. But there is plenty of evidence to show that nonstandard workers are disadvantaged in more ways than one.

The “World of Work Report 2008” published by the ILO states that nonstandard jobs pay less than standard ones. It blames the rising global inequality in pay and earnings to the rise of nonstandard jobs in the sense that these jobs pay lower than standard jobs.

Differences in pay generally can be traced to a number of factors: the level of development in the area where the job is found, the industry, seniority of the worker, and skill intensity of the job. But these factors cannot fully explain the pay gap between standard and nonstandard workers. Part of the difference is simply due to the status of the job.

The ADB study likewise reports a significant gap in earnings between permanent and casual workers after taking into account worker and job characteristics. The gap is higher in the upper half of the earnings distribution compared with those in the bottom half. For example, for the top 50 percent, permanent workers earn 89 percent more than casual workers; for the bottom 50 percent, the earnings differential is narrower at 23 percent.

IRREGULAR WORK

ImageUnderemployment combined with irregular work creates uncertainty in the daily lives of nonstandard workers. The variability of work hours and earnings is most pronounced for contractual, casual, or piece-rate workers.

Casual workers are therefore more likely to be underemployed than permanent workers, which explains part of the earnings gap between the two groups. The average casual worker, for example, worked 53 days in a quarter while permanent workers worked 71 days out of a possible 91 days, according to the ADB study.

Because of lower pay, nonstandard workers have to compensate for the difference and reduce the impact on their families. Where work is available, they work longer hours, more days in a week, engage in multiple jobs, or send more household members to work.

Part of the attraction of nonstandard employment to employers is the ability to shift the cost of temporary or periodic shutdowns to workers through a no-work-no-pay policy. Firms are more likely to pay regular rank-and-file workers on a monthly basis than other bases of payment, such as weekly, daily, or hourly.

According to the BLES survey, 54 percent of companies pay regular workers on a monthly basis. By contrast, only 32 percent of companies pay non-regular workers on a monthly basis. Six out of 10 firms pay non-regular workers on a daily (48 percent), hourly (11 percent), and output or piece-rate (4 percent) basis.

NO WAGE BARGAINING

Yet another reason for the lower pay of non-regular workers is the absence of unions and collective bargaining for wages and benefits. The determination of wages of non-regular workers becomes highly dependent on the minimum wage law.

Again, the BLES data show that 72 percent of establishments rely on the minimum wage to fix or revise wages of nonregular workers, while 59 percent do so for regular workers, and another 6 percent rely on collective bargaining agreements.

With no bargaining power to raise wages, the minimum wage serves as a ceiling rather than a floor for non-regular workers, often regardless of years of service.

A major advantage of workers in establishments with unions over those without unions is in the range of fringe benefits accessible to them. The BLES survey enumerates 16 types of paid leave benefits, nine social security schemes, and 10 health care benefits, or a total of 35 fringe benefits possibly provided by firms.

The survey reveals that the proportion of firms providing regular rank and file workers fringe benefits is consistently higher for those with unions than without unions in each of the 35 possible benefits.

The only exception is the service incentive leave, which the law mandates in the absence of a paid vacation leave. Adding the service incentive leave to vacation leave maintains the result: unionized firms provide wider fringe benefits than non-unionized firms. Establishments with unions represented 12 percent of the survey sample.

Regardless of union status, the average establishment provides regular rank-and-file employees four types of paid leave benefits (vacation, sick, maternity, and paternity leave), two types of social security schemes (compulsory SSS and separation pay), and three types of health care benefits (first aid treatment, medical care, and annual physical check-up).

The most common fringe benefits accessible to non-regular workers are compulsory SSS and PhilHealth membership, medical assistance for work-related illness or accident, and a five-day service incentive leave required by law.

Avoiding severance or termination pay for regular workers is one of the reasons behind the rise in contractual and agency-hired workers. To retain workers with good performance, a common practice is to hire those workers through an employment agency to allow continuous hiring without incurring financial obligations to the worker in case of termination.

PRECARIOUS WORK

ImageAn ILO study by Peter Dorman, “The Economics of Safety, Health, and Well-Being at Work,” examines the causes and consequences of occupational health and safety risks. It shows that the proliferation of various forms of nonstandard employment have been linked to increased health and safety risks.

There are several reasons for this. Outsourced and contract workers receive less training and have less awareness of their rights. In some instances they do not even know who their employer actually is.

To maximize output and minimize time, which is the attraction of nonstandard workers, employers tend to cut corners and take greater risks. Safety and health problems often go unrecognized. Nonstandard workers are on average less educated and also at greater risk.

Nonstandard workers have little input into their work conditions. They have less knowledge about their work environment and feel constrained by their status from complaining about or refusing poor and hazardous working conditions. They feel their voices are not heard and are less likely to be represented on health and safety committees. They do not have the freedom to choose when to take personal leave. All these are important for overall health.

FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT—ABROAD

Jeff and Anthony are “disers,” Pinoy slang for mechandisers, in Handyman, the hardware store of Robinson’s mall. The two buddies sell competing brands of power tools.

Jeff, a college undergraduate, is a regular employee of NKD International Trading Corp., a distributor of brands like Black & Decker and De Walt. Anthony, a computer technician, is an agency-hired worker for the company distributing Bosch power tools.

In their mid-20s, both are in a hurry to get an overseas job. It is their best hope for a better future. They have been working in their present jobs for the last four years, getting no more than Metro Manila’s daily minimum wage of less than P400.

Jeff has a job waiting for him with the Saudi Company Hardware as a “diser.” With a mother and one sibling to support, he has not been able to raise the P2,500 needed to pay for medical exams.

Anthony has found a potential employer in Canada through the Internet and is awaiting processing of his application also to work as a “diser.” It is easier to get a job abroad when one is still young and without a family, he explains. He does not like the idea of getting stuck in his present position.

Gene had earlier tried his luck looking for work overseas. He was hired as a rider for Pizza Hut in Brunei, but backed out after he was asked to pay P45,000 in recruitment fees. With a monthly salary of $300, he calculated it was not worth it. He stayed at his job with Burger King, a job he has held for 10 years. For his labor, he gets paid the minimum wage.

The ADB study on job quality in the Philippines sums up the situation of workers like Jeff, Anthony, and Gene: “What we can say with more confidence is that while a shift from self-employment to wage employment is underway, perhaps the fundamental weakness in the Philippine labor market is the slow growth in earnings.”

In terms of wage growth, there is little difference between rank and file permanent and casual workers. Real wage rates rose 1.2 percent and 1.0 percent annually for permanent and casual workers, respectively, over the period 1994-2006.

The stampede for overseas jobs has had the perverse effect of keeping wages low in specific labor markets—salespeople, nurses, hotel and restaurant workers, to name a few. This is because these positions require work experience with credible employers. The result is competition among potential overseas workers for limited local positions, reducing the need for employers to hire regular workers. It is not uncommon for young nurses and hotel workers to pay employers for a chance to be “trainees” or to render free labor in exchange for a certificate of work experience.

For Gene who is not lucky enough to leave his job, there is no choice but to put up, especially as the second of his two kids is about to enter primary school. Gene does not want to think too much about the future. “My head will just spin,” he quips—a dangerous thought for somebody who weaves through Manila’s crazy traffic for a living.

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Department of Foreign Affairs-16Nov2009-updates

Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo to Visit Manila

Posted: 16 Nov 2009 12:02 AM PST

16 November 2009 – Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo will be in Manila for an official visit on November 19-22 upon the invitation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo.

Minister Yeo will make a courtesy call on President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, as well as meet Secretary Romulo, with the view of enhancing bilateral relations and cooperation at the regional and multilateral levels.

His visit to the Philippines is auspicious as the Philippines and Singapore are commemorating the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.

The Philippines enjoys cordial diplomatic relations with Singapore, cultivated through frequent exchanges of visits by high-ranking officials. Both countries share a common vision of the importance of ASEAN and work closely together at ASEAN meetings and other international fora.

In the economic front, Singapore is one of the Philippines’ top trading partners. Bilateral meetings have been held at the sidelines of annual meetings such as the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the ASEAN Summit, the United Nations General Assembly and APEC, among others.

While in Manila, Minister Yeo will attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Park and officiate the formal opening of the Singapore Embassy at the Bonifacio Global City.

He will likewise grace the concert performance of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and two Singaporean soloists at the RCBC Plaza on November 21. The concert is part of the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Philippines-Singapore diplomatic relations.

Moreover, Minister Yeo will speak at the 10th World Chinese Entrepreneur’s Convention (WCEC) at the SMX Convention Center on November 19-23 in Pasay City.

The WCEC is a biennial event for Chinese entrepreneurs around the globe aimed at providing a platform for the economic cooperation and exchanges, as well as establishing an economic network linking Chinese entrepreneurs worldwide. Minister Yeo will receive the chairmanship of the WCEC, as it is Singapore’s turn to host the 11th WCEC in 2011.

Minister Yeo has visited the Philippines on a number of occasions. He undertook an official visit on 15 February 2006 and was with the official delegation of Singapore President S. R.. Nathan during the latter’s visit on 13-16 February 2007. The Minister was also in Manila in July 2007 for the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and received from Secretary Romulo the chairmanship of the ASEAN Standing Committee. END

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Secretary Romulo meets with Canadian Foreign Minister Cannon

Posted: 15 Nov 2009 09:41 PM PST

16 November 2009 – Secretary Alberto G. Romulo met with Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon last November 14 on the sidelines of the APEC meetings in Singapore.

During the meeting, the two Ministers reaffirmed the 60 years of strong relations between the Philippines and Canada and discussed ways to further strengthen existing cooperation.

Minister Cannon praised the contributions of almost half a million Filipino-Canadians residing in Canada to the development of his country.

Secretary Romulo also took the opportunity to thank the Canadian Government for the timely and generous assistance it extended to the Philippines in the aftermath of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. END

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RP laments lack of progress on Security Council Reforms, calls on UN Member States to take more concrete action

Posted: 15 Nov 2009 09:29 PM PST

16 November 2009 – Exasperated by what it described as the lack of progress in implementing major changes in the work of the Security Council, the Philippines on Thursday called on Member States to finally take concrete action on proposed reforms in the most powerful organ of the United Nations.

“What is needed now is action. Action. Action. There should be no turning back,” Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Hilario G. Davide, Jr. said in his statement during the joint debate of the 64th Session of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 9 on the report of the Security Council and on Agenda Item 119 on Security Council reforms.

In his statement, Ambassador Davide reminded Member States of their resolve during the 63rd Session of the General Assembly, to be more dynamic and bold and to exercise some political will to pursue the mandate of General Assembly Decision 62/557 to commence intergovernmental negotiations.

“After two decades of embarrassing sojourn within the confines of the Open-Ended Working Group and repeating the same old arguments day-in and day-out, the gates are now open for negotiations that will hopefully bring harvest of agreements on Security Council reform,” the former Chief Justice said in what is perhaps the strongest statement the Philippines delivered on Security Council reforms.

Ambassador Davide noted the difficulty of cutting the umbilical cord of the Open-Ended Working Group, created by the General Assembly to discuss Security Council reforms, as paragraph 17 (c) of its report still states that the General Assembly can convene it if Member States so decide.

“The Philippines hopes that the General Assembly should not so decide; otherwise it will sadly be brought back to where it started,” he said. “With vim, vigor and vitality and with political will, the General Assembly must concentrate on intergovernmental negotiations.

“We have already crossed the Rubicon, so to speak. When Member States began intergovernmental negotiations, they have, for all intents and purposes, put an end to the Open-Ended Working Group,” Ambassador Davide said. “The general membership now has no other choice but to go forward and, with good and abiding good faith, work on Security Council reform.”

Ambassador Davide said the Philippines has submitted its own specific Security Council reform proposals and has reiterated, amplified and supplemented these during the long discussions in various rounds and exchanges.

The Philippine proposals included amending the UN Charter and expanding the membership of the Security Council from the present 15 member-states to 31 as well as mechanisms that would not only curtail the use of the veto power but also allow Member States to overturn or override a veto by any of the council’s five Permanent Members.

“The Philippines respectfully submits that delegations should now work on some draft document or paper so that discussions could be more focused,” he said, adding that the draft can come from the Chairman or can be the product of the general membership itself.

What is of paramount importance, according to him, is for all the proposals on the key issues to be reflected in the draft. He said that at this juncture, the Philippines maintains its position that what can be adopted now must be approved now.

“The Philippines cannot subscribe to the concept of nothing is agreed unless everything is agreed as such a concept is undemocratic, divisive, irrational, unjust and oppressive. Yielding to it would spell disaster to all efforts at reform in the UN,” Ambassador Davide said.

The Filipino envoy said the Security Council itself should now act on reforms in its working methods to make it truly democratic, transparent, accountable and genuinely observant of the requirements of the Rule of Law and due process.

“It should not place itself in an embarrassing situation where it would be prodded again, for instance, to simply delete the word Provisional in the title of its Provisional Rules of Procedure,” he said. END

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RP Peacekeepers in Darfur Honored

Posted: 15 Nov 2009 09:19 PM PST

16 November 2009 – The United Nations awarded peacekeeping medals to 91 officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) serving as police advisers with the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

Photo shows UNAMID Joint Special Representative Henry Anyidoho reviewing the Philippine police contingent during ceremonies in El Fasher, Sudan, where he commended the Filipino peacekeepers for their disciplined approach to their duties, selflessness and substantial contribution to the peace process in Darfur.

The Philippines has a total of 163 police officers, including nine women, serving in UNAMID. (Photo by Nektarios Markogiannis) END

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RP Consulate In Honolulu hosts reception to thank Filcom and Volunteers; Lea Salonga as Special Guest

Posted: 15 Nov 2009 09:08 PM PST

16 November 2009 – Philippine Consul General to Honolulu Leoncio R. Cardenas hosted a reception to thank all Filipino community leaders and volunteers for their initiatives and generous efforts in rallying the Filipino community in Hawaii, and raising an estimated US$200,000 for the victims of the recent typhoons in the Philippines.

In a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Consul General Cardenas stated that the special guest for the evening was internationally-acclaimed Filipino singer, Lea Salonga, who donated a portion of the ticket sales of her sold-out concert at Blaisdell Arena on November 10.

Shown at photo are State of Hawaii Officials Councilman Romeo Cachola, Vice Speaker Michael Magaoay and Senator Robert Bunda who gave their respective Certificates of Appreciation to Ms. Salonga for her valuable contributions in enhancing the prestige and image of Filipinos through her significant artistic achievements and for her humanitarian contribution to the typhoon relief drive. END

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Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates

Sorsogon oil players assure enough fuel supply

Sorsogon oil players assure enough fuel supply
Philippine Information Agency
by BA Recebido Sorsogon Province (16 November) — Supply of fuel and petroleum products remain stable in this province unlike in other areas in Luzon
See all stories on this topic

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates

DOTC fast-tracks construction of SLIA in Albay

DOTC fast-tracks construction of SLIA in Albay
Philippine Information Agency – Philippines
is accessible to other provinces of Bicol such as, Sorsogon, Masbate, and Catanduanes including the Visayan provinces through Matnog port in Sorsogon.

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates

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