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Dry spell boosts red tide in Sorsogon Bay, 3 areas

MANILA, Philippines – The El Niño phenomenon is causing the proliferation of red tide toxins in four coastal areas including Sorsogon Bay in Sorsogon, Bislig Bay in Surigao del Sur, Dumangquilas Bay in Zamboanga del Sur and Murcielagos Bay in Misamis Occidental.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said it has detected red tide contamination in the first three areas for several years now, with Murcielagos Bay added last January.

BFAR Director Malcolm Sarmiento said lack of rain due to the El Niño phenomenon could cause high red tide incidence because the bacteria proliferates more when the water is stagnant.

Sarmiento said the bureau has already installed checkpoints in the four areas to prevent the transport of shellfish to markets.

The BFAR official warned that all types of shellfish gathered from these areas are not safe for human consumption. He added, however, that fish, squids, shrimps, and crabs harvested from these areas are safe for human consumption provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly, and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking.

Symptoms of red tide poisoning are nausea, dizzyness, a tingling sensation in the mouth or face, paralysis of limbs and inability to breathe, which can lead to death.

 

from: abs-cbnNEWS.com | 02/24/2010 6:39 PM

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Filed under: Food and Drinks, Health Tips, Healthy Living,

Spain donates P20 million to Sorsogon

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Spanish government has donated P20 million to the Philippines to support its pilot project dubbed the Sorsogon Initiative aimed at eradicating insurgency.

The “Sorsogon Initiative” will allow the people in the community to implement by themselves infrastructure projects as part of the government’s peace-building effort to achieve peace in the region.

Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Luis Arias-Romero said Spain is fully committed to the peaceful resolution of the long-drawn armed conflict in the Philippines.

“You can count on Spain,” Romero said after signing the memorandum of agreement for the Sorsogon Initiative with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the primary government agency tasked to coordinate the national peace agenda of the government, and the Local Government Academy (LGA), the training arm of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) held at Oakwood Premier in Ortigas, Pasig City.

He said the implementation of the project was a “result of hard work this past few months through frank and open dialogue between OPAPP, the local government academy and the embassy of Spain.”

“In this way, a comprehensive intervention is achieved of importance to both the Philippine and Spanish governments which is none other than the resolution of conflicts and the peace-building in the Philippines,” Romero said.

Romero stressed the importance of peace, saying that “without peace and stability there are no possibilities for development in any region.”

Aside from Romero, those who signed the MOA includes Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Annabelle Abaya and DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno, who was represented by DILF Undersecretary Melchor Rosales, former Labor Secretary Nieves Confesor, chairperson of the government peace panel negotiating with the communist rebels; Marivel Sacendoncillo, LGA executive director; Sorsogon Gov. Sally Lee; Loida Nicolas-Lewis, of the Sorsogon Alliance for Peace and Development; Sorsogon Archbishop Arturo Bastes; Jesus Molina, coordinator general of the La Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion International para el Desarrollo (AECID); and Danilo Encinas, head, technical committee of the GRP negotiating panel for talks with the communist rebels. 

Pilot areas for the project are Barangay Sta. Ana in the municipality of Gubat and in the whole town of Barcelona, all in Sorsogon.

Abaya said the “Sorsogon Initiative” is part of the national peace agenda of the government, specifically in moving forward the peace process with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF).

The project was funded by the Spanish government through its Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Interncional para el Desarrollo (AECID) under the third phase of its Program on Strengthening the Local Governments in the Philippines with the Local Government Academy (LGA)-DILG.

Under the MOA, the OPAPP was tasked to supervise the implementation of “Sorsogon Initiative.”

The OPAPP will also monitor and evaluate the project as well as provide administrative support for its successful and efficient implementation.

But the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on Sunday assailed the “brute force” and “cheap psy-war tactics” that the Philippine government is allegedly employing to supposedly cover up the Arroyo administration’s continuing human rights violations in its counter-insurgency efforts against the communists.

Fidel Agcaoili, chairman of the NDFP Human Rights Committee, scored the OPAPP and Armed Forces of the Philippines Civil Relations Office for issuing statements on the alleged successes of the GRP in its counter-insurgency program purportedly named, Oplan Bantay Laya, saying such posturing of the government is only rendering “serious” peace talks with the revolutionary movement impossible.

Agcaoili specifically criticized the OPAPP for continuously “harping” about its pseudo-peace talks on the community level as part of its so-called Social Integration Program (SIP). –

By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) Updated February 23, 2010 12:00 AM 

 With: Katherine Adraneda

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates,

Sorsogon-Gov’t cites peace efforts in provinces

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Annabelle T. Abaya said that peace initiatives emanating from the community level are those that work best in eradicating insurgency, citing the success of Bohol as a good example.

Abaya made the remark after the recent signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) on the implementation of the Sorsogon Initiatives to bring about sanctuaries of peace and development in the province held at the Oakwood Premier in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

The MoA signatories were Abaya in behalf of OPAPP, DILG Secretary Ronaldo V. Puno who was represented by DILG Undersecretary Melchor Rosales; Spanish Ambassador Luis Arias-Romero on behalf of the Spanish government; Sorsogon Gov. Sally Lee; Bishop Arturo Bastes of the Archdiocese of Sorsogon; and Atty. Loida Nicolas-Lewis, co-convenor of the Sorsogon Alliance for Peace and Development.

The province of Sorsogon is one of the few remaining areas in the country where communist insurgency is active but which the government is dealing with through peace talks initiated by the local people themselves.

The Spanish government has allocated P20 million to finance various peace projects to support the Sorsogon Initiative.

“I would like to express my great thanks to the Spanish Government for the assistance they are giving us, not just now in this big project but also the smaller projects that led to this,” Abaya said.

She also cited the efforts by the local stakeholder group in Sorsogon for working together with the OPAPP.

from: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/244586/gov-t-cites-peace-efforts-provinces

by: By FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates,

William Dechavez – Sterling Heights TV show spotlights diversity

Sterling Heights — City officials are using a new public access television show to showcase the city’s diversity.

“What we’re looking for is educating people about who we are,” said William Dechavez, a Filipino resident who moved to the city 28 years ago and is a member of the Ethnic Community Committee, which sponsors the show. “We have several ethnic groups in Sterling Heights.”

Sterling Heights Mayor Richard Notte said the show fits in well with the city’s mission to embrace a diverse community.

“We are like the melting pot of the world,” he said. “The city welcomes all cultures and likes to work with everybody and try to learn from each other.”

According to the American Community Survey posted on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Web site, from 2006-08 the three-year estimated average population included 112,407 whites, 5,133 African-Americans, 539 American Indians, 8,804 Asians and 2,879 Hispanics.

“Getting to Know Your Neighbor” features interviews with immigrants who have settled in Sterling Heights.

The show also wants to feature war veterans, Holocaust survivors and others involved in historic events such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Show host Dennis Burin, 50, interviews residents. A Sterling Heights resident, Burin is a program curriculum coordinator for the Hazel Park Schools and a Wayne State University adjunct professor of world regional geography.

“I think this is such an important topic,” he said. “We run across people of various backgrounds in our daily lives and don’t talk.”

The first episode of the show, which aired last month, featured Iqbal Singh, chairman of the Ethnic Community Committee, who was born in India. In the second episode, Dechavez talked about how he came from the Philippines to the United States for more opportunities. He works as a special education resource room teacher for Detroit Public Schools.

“It was really relaxed and an informal conversation,” he said. He encourages other immigrants to participate.

By: Candice Williams / The Detroit News
From The Detroit News:  http://detnews.com/article/20100218/METRO03/2180399/Sterling-Heights-TV-show-spotlights-diversity

Filed under: Inspiration, Natatanging Sorsoganon, People who inspired Us, Show your pride, Sorsogon Outstanding Achievers, We will make you SHINE!,

US cultural exchange program open to RP youth

The United States has opened its doors to Filipino students ages 18-28 years old (2nd or 3rd year college), to avail the Cultural Exchange Visa via the “Work & Travel Program.’’ This was revealed by California-based Ideal Corporation, headed by Shirley R. Villanueva, who will conduct the students screening and interview from February 16-26, 2010 at Riley International Employment Services & Training Center, Inc. (POEA License: POEA-053-LB-090109-PL-e) conference room, Unit 202 Pierre in Paul Bldg., 1131 A. Mabini Street corner A. Flores Street, Ermita, Manila.

“Around 300 college students who will become beneficiaries of the said program, and will get the rare chance to work at McDonald’s, Burger King, Shell and Sonic in Lousiana, USA, whereby duties include: Fast food restaurant worker (cooking, cleaning & customer service) and cashier (for either gas station or fast-food restaurant facility),” Villanueva said. The students must personally bring together with their parents and bring one set of the following: Detailed resumê’ and 1 pc (2×2) colored picture.

She also stressed that graduating students (those who have taken courses in hospitality, HRM, science and technology, human resources – except healthcare) are welcome to apply for a paid training program from 6-18 months.Details may be obtained at e-mail: rileyinternational_employment@yahoo.com

source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/244055/us-cultural-exchange-program-open-rp-youth

Filed under: Campus Talk, Education, Youth, Youth Community Service Groups, ,

DFA warns vs illegal recruitment scam in Spain

Manila (17 February) — THE Philippine Embassy in Spain reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs an illegal recruitment operation that is currently being perpetrated by a syndicate using Spain as a destination for Filipino workers.

The embassy named the company allegedly recruiting Filipino workers under this scheme as Previsto Ferrocariel Guiscoanagin, with address at Calle Placentinos 18B, 32005, Barcelona, Spain.

The syndicate is using the email address espanolconsulate@europe.com to communicate with Filipino workers and lead them to believe that this is the email address of the Philippine Embassy in Madrid.

The Philippine Consulate-General in Barcelona has verified that there is no such address in Barcelona. There is a Calle de los Placentinos in the province of Salamanca, while the zip code 32005 corresponds to the province of Ourense, not Catalonia.

The public is advised to be wary of job offers from this company and to first check the veracity of any job offer and company with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the country concerned, the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), or the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

 

Courtesy: PIA-BOHOL

 

 

Filed under: DFA-advisory, OFW Corner, OFW Scam, Illegal Recruiter, POEA-Advisory,

Labour official attacks plan to ban Filipina maids

ABU DHABI // The Philippine government should resist the call to protect maids from maltreatment by preventing them from seeking work in the Middle East, a Filipino labour official in Abu Dhabi said.

Instead, the government should provide domestic workers with information they can use at mandatory pre-departure briefings, said Nasser Munder, the labour attaché in Abu Dhabi.

“Many of them are attending the seminar just to comply with the requirements for overseas employment.

“What if we conduct an exam to check their level of preparedness?” he said.

He also proposed a “massive information drive” in the Philippines to ensure that Filipinos are sent abroad by licensed agencies accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), an agency of the department of labour and employment, which promotes and monitors overseas employment.

Late last year, three politicians from the Philippines called on their government to stop sending household workers to the Middle East after witnessing first-hand the plight of domestic workers in some cities within the region.


Luz Ilagan, who represents the women’s group Gabriela in Congress, and congressmen Carlos Padilla and Rufus Rodriguez, investigated cases of illegal recruitment and visited Filipinas in shelters in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in November.

Their fact-finding trip also included visits to women who sought refuge in embassies and consulates in Amman, Jeddah and Riyadh. They interviewed at least 400 women who fled their employers’ homes after complaining of lack of food and sleep, maltreatment, overwork and not being paid.

In Dubai, they were confronted with three cases of sex trafficking. The women told them that they were supposed to be domestic helpers but ended up in a brothel.

“Filipinas are generally vulnerable to abuse and are willing to gamble when recruited to work overseas,” Mrs Ilagan told The National in November. “We have to educate women to be more careful.”

The three politicians are members of the committee on overseas workers affairs and the regional ban on domestic workers is one of the recommendations cited in their committee report which will be submitted to Congress. They also called for the Philippine government to ban employers cited for abuse and for the POEA to punish agencies involved in illegal recruitment.

But Mr Munder said employers were not to blame for about 60 to 70 per cent of maids’ complaints at the labour-office shelter in Abu Dhabi. At the moment, there are about 170 women in the shelter, after 23 were sent home recently, he said.

“Allegations of maltreatment such as physical abuse are isolated,” Mr Munder said.

“The majority are not prepared to work in the Middle East. They find it hard to deal with homesickness, the language barrier and culture shock.”

On maids’ allegations of lack of food or sleep and unpaid salaries, he said most of these could be resolved with the employers. “But the housemaids are usually adamant to go home,” he said. “Some quarrel with their co-workers and later decide to leave their employers.”

Ellene Sana, the executive director of the Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) in Quezon City in the Philippines, said a ban did not guarantee that Filipina migrants would stay away from the Middle East.

“What will stop migrants from coming up with other job categories or contracts for jobs other than domestic work?” she said.

“Some of them already do this in order to circumvent the new policies for household service workers.

“The CMA shares the concern of our legislators to stop abuses against women migrant domestic workers,” she said. “But we do not agree that a deployment ban at this time will be able to address the deplorable living and working conditions of our women migrant workers in the Middle East and the GCC,” Ms Sana said.

There are about 30,000 documented housemaids in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, and 18,000 in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Ruwais, according to Philippine labour officials.

A Filipina housemaid in Dubai, Emma Tagboy, 29, said: “It is good that our government is doing something to protect us. But what will my compatriots do in the Philippines? There are not enough jobs there.”

Every month, she sends 15,000 pesos (Dh1,150) to her parents who take care of her 16-month-old baby boy in Pagadian City in southern Philippines.

Her Canadian employer in Dubai gives her time off every Thursday afternoon and allows her to return to their home on Saturday morning to resume her household duties.

“I’m so lucky,” she said. “They told me that I’m just human and that I need to strike a balance between work and life.”

Ms Tagboy was hired two years ago after her former employer’s family, also Canadian, moved to France. “I used to earn $200 (Dh735) which was the minimum monthly wage then,” he said. “When the [Philippine] government increased it to $400, they paid me that amount and I also got a salary increase every year.”

In December 2006, the Philippines government set a $400 monthly minimum wage for domestic workers worldwide.

The remittances of Filipino migrants have been a major contributor to the country’s economy.

In total, $15.8 billion was remitted by overseas Filipino workers worldwide in the first 11 months of 2009, up 5.1 per cent from the $15.02 billion recorded in the same period in 2008, according to the Philippine central bank.


By Ramona Ruiz
rruiz@thenational.ae

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

Taiwan is inviting more overseas Filipino workers

Taiwan is inviting more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to apply for a job there, citing benefits it has laid out for OFWs, as it urged the Philippines to sign a Free Trade Agreement that would help increase trade and investments between the two neighbors.

“OFWs contribute a lot to the Taiwanese economy and we hope that more OFWs can work in Taiwan,” Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Ambassador to the Philippines Donald Lee said.

He said Taiwan “provides OFWs equal rights and the same treatment as a local Taiwanese employee receives, including medical insurance coverage.”

“We have also implemented a new direct hiring program which makes it easier for OFWs who want to work in Taiwan. They don’t need to go through manpower agencies and middlemen who sometimes take advantage of them and charge them higher fees. This way, more OFWs are encouraged to make a living in Taiwan, where equal opportunities abound for them,” he said.

It will be recalled that in June last year, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) held a direct hiring program in key cities in Taiwan with the support of Taiwan’s Council of Labor Affairs (CLA).

“MECO has been aggressively marketing the special hiring facility among Taiwanese employers and skilled workers. The facility, also known as ‘direct hiring’ and ‘name hiring,’ allows Taiwanese employers to recruit Filipino workers without going through manpower agencies and recruitment firms,” said Antonio Basilio, MECO resident representative and managing director.

There are currently about 100,000 OFWS in Taiwan, each earning around P25,000 per month. Lee said OFWs in Taiwan remit around US$600 million to the Philippines every year.
Many OFWs in Taiwan were laid off due to the global economic crisis last year. However, most of the OFWs in had been re-hired due to robust demand for workers in manufacturing, particularly in the electronics sector.

Lee also said the Philippines should consider signing an FTA with Taiwan, stressing the impact it will have if the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) is signed between Taiwan and mainland China.

“The Philippines should seriously consider signing an FTA with Taiwan,” Lee said. “If the Philippines does not take swift action, Taiwan locators that should have settled in the Philippines would turn to mainland China due to the ECFA’s magnetized effect.”

“Worse, many OFWs in Taiwan will soon be out of jobs as Taiwan factories may move to mainland China after the implementation of the ECFA,” he added.

Lee said Taiwan had just concluded the first round of talks with China on the ECFA, which is expected to “boost the normalization of the cross-Strait economic trade ties that will allow Taiwan to fit in to the international trade arena.”

“If Taiwan and the Philippines will sign an FTA, we foresee great strides in the cooperation of trade and investment, agriculture, labor, etc. with more Filipino workers coming to Taiwan, and more Taiwan investments flowing to the Philippines as well. Above all, we want to protect the working opportunities of OFWs in Taiwan,” Lee said.

“We promise to do more to engage in cooperation with the Philippines, especially in humanitarian assistance,” he said.

Taiwan is the 18th largest trading economy and has the fourth largest foreign reserve in the world. It is a major investor in the Philippines as well as in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has an FTA with China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand, all of which were in effect since January 1, 2010. The Philippines is a member of the 10-nation regional bloc.




By MADEL R. SABATERwww.mb.com.ph


Filed under: OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, ,

RP workers warned about jobs in Poland

 MANILA, Philippines—Filipino applicants for jobs in Poland should think twice before accepting any offer.

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Saturday advised Poland-bound workers, particularly those recruited as mushroom pickers, not to proceed, citing many complaints of low wages and unfavorable working conditions there.

“There are approximately 86 Filipino women currently deployed or working as mushroom pickers in Poland. The majority of these workers are not happy with their jobs due to very low wages, unfavorable working conditions and substandard accommodations,” Philippine Ambassador to Poland Alejandro D. del Rosario said in a report to his home office.

He said these workers were not directly employed by the mushroom companies but through a Polish recruitment agency who subcontracted their services. The mushroom company, therefore, is not concerned with the welfare of the workers, Del Rosario added.

Workers are paid on a per kilo basis, which is dependent on the available mushrooms for picking and the orders received from customers. Rates per kilo also depend on whether the mushrooms are of first, second or third class quality.

In effect, there are no fixed wages for a mushroom picker, with workers’ monthly earnings varying from $150 to $500, the ambassador said.

Some of the workers said they were promised $600 a month by the Polish recruitment firm but ended up with a net pay of only $180 a month.

Del Rosario said Euroconnect, a Polish recruiting agency which works with Javier Manning, based in Malate, Manila, was responsible for the plight of 19 mushroom pickers who walked out of their jobs because of unfair labor practices.

Workers were also being made to clean the production sites and its premises, but were not getting paid for this additional work, Del Rosario said.

He said the workers were living in substandard condition, with more than 30 individuals sharing one dilapidated bathroom with limited supply of hot water.

“With a placement fee of about $4,000, the bulk of which is normally financed by ‘lending companies’ charging exorbitant interest rates, the deployed mushroom picker is deep in debt even before he or she starts work,” the ambassador said.

Last Dec. 8, the embassy repatriated 10 of the 19 mushroom pickers who walked out of their jobs. The POEA had persuaded the Polish recruiter to give them return tickets, Del Rosario said.

By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer

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

Grant expands ‘Tulay’ program for OFWs, kin

MANILA, Philippines – A new grant was awarded this year to a nongovernment organization helping overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the expansion of the information and technology skills training program for OFWs and their kin.

Microsoft Philippines awarded the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute with US$117,000 in cash and US$112,656 software grants for the expansion of the ‘Tulay’ Project.

“We at Microsoft recognize the significant contributions of the OFW community to the country, and this is why we came up with a program such as Tulay—to help complement their technology skills,” said John Bessey, Managing Director of Microsoft Philippines.

Bessey said the concept behind Tulay is still the same—to provide OFWs and their families with access to IT skills, enrich their communication experience, and open doors to more opportunities.

He said more than a million Filipinos leave for work abroad yearly. These workers, he said, have to deal with the challenges of working in another country, and at the same time, face the anxiety of leaving their families behind.

“The program serves not only a virtual bridge, closing the digital divide. We also ensure that we bridge the physical divide between our OFWs and their families through technology,” Bessey said.

Tulay partnerships

Tulay was launched by Microsoft Philippines in 2004, in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and its attached agency, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). Four years later, Microsoft partnered with the Ople Center.

“With Tulay, there is no limit to learning. OFWs and their loved ones can continuously develop their technology skills for free. We are giving these modern-day heroes a way to communicate regularly with their loved ones and the opportunity to equip themselves with employable skills that will give them access to alternative career opportunities when they finally want to come home,” Bessey added.

Tulay students learn basic computer, word processing, spreadsheet, internet, digital media, presentations and database fundamentals.

Since the launch of Tulay, more than 20,000 individuals have been trained by the program. There are currently 24 Tulay centers here and abroad.

Ople Center head and senatorial bet Susan Ople thanked Microsoft Philippines for the new grant.

Transforming OFWs

Ople said the new grant will be used to reactivate, improve, and strengthen Tulay Centers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; put up a Tulay Center that would cater to seafarers and their dependents; establish a Tulay Center in ARMM; and, provide financial literacy seminars to existing and future graduates of the program.

“We, at the Ople Center, observe that once empowered, the horizons of OFWs and their dependents suddenly expand,” Ople said.

Ople shared that they had an OFW Tulay graduate who worked as a domestic helper. After acquiring new IT skills and graduating from program she left again for abroad, “but this time, no longer as a domestic helper, but as a computer secretary in Dubai”.

“By transforming them into modern-technology users, we have also transformed their occupational possibilities. From being in the most vulnerable category of workers into professional staff,” she said.





by Maria Aleta Nishimori, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, ,

10 things Juan dela Cruz needs to know about economy in ’10

A new year always gives us that feeling that better days are up ahead.
But the most practiced soothsayer will struggle to make any detailed predictions for 2010, especially about the markets.

Thus, what I’m offering here are not jaw-dropping revelations, but a list of some facets of the economy that Filipinos may want to think about this year.

1. Why should I be personally concerned about the widening budget gap? How will that affect me and my family if I were a salaried employee, a businessman or an OFW?

A widening budget gap means less government spending on social services, infrastructure and other services.

The government may opt to borrow more to fund its shortfall to maintain the delivery of its services. However, this could push interest rates or cost of doing business higher. Higher costs of doing business would mean less income for companies.

For Juan dela Cruz, this could mean some adjustments in costs of living and a salary increase may be hard to get.

2. Will the peso-dollar rate go up or down this year?

The general trend will still be favorable for the peso.

The Balance of Payments (BOP) is expected to post a higher surplus, fundamentally supported by OFW remittances, increased capital inflows, and revived exports.

Our Gross International Reserves (GIR) should remain at record levels, adequately covering import requirements.

Other factors that would contribute to the strong peso is the weak dollar in the medium term. We are looking at 46 by the end of the year.

3. Will food prices go up or down apart from seasonal fluctuations?
The calamities during the last quarter of 2009 resulted in an increase in food prices and this may last until the end of the first half if the El Niño phenomenon strikes.

However, food prices are expected to normalize toward the end of the year.

We are looking at a 3.5-percent inflation for 2010.

4. Will the rest of the world recover economically, so much so that they will need more OFWs? Which countries will recover faster?
Yes. The global economic recovery has begun. Strong indicators of rising economic activity have supported the rise in the global financial markets.

However, the United States and the rest of the world are still far away from full recovery, as unemployment remains high and demand has not returned to pre-crisis levels.

Indeed the economies in the region are still quite fragile, but financial stability is slowly being regained.

Asia is leading the economic recovery. Despite the slow recovery, demand for OFW remains resilient.

5. For those wanting to relocate from Manila, where in the Philippines is it good to go to in terms of job opportunities, lower food prices, housing, etc., and still have Internet access, movies etc?

The key cities in the south, mainly Cebu, Davao and Cagayan De Oro, as these are now being eyed as hubs for business process outsourcing offices.

These cities have infrastructure comparative to Manila.

6. By how much can this year’s elections lift the GDP? Which industries in particular will benefit from the polls?

Roughly by 0.5 percent, 2 percent for full year 2010. The services sector, transport and communications, trade and manufacturing are the main beneficiaries of this election exercise.

7. Will the next president be forced to raise taxes to increase revenues?

Without giving much thought, No! There is no need to immediately raise taxes. He only has to plug the tax leakages on the e-vat and enhance revenue collection activities.

These actions could offset the equivalent amount of revenues raised from an increase in the e-vat. However, this would take time and would not get immediate results.

So, personally, I think the next president should raise taxes. This could come in the form of increasing the E-VAT from 12 to 15 percent.
This should allow the new administration to implement its program for the country. How can one implement when there are no funds in the government coffers? I view the country as a patient that is recovering from an illness but still needs medication. Otherwise, the patient could have a relapse. Although, enhancing the revenue collecting measures could do the trick, but increasing the e-vat is the fastest route to progress.

8. Will President Arroyo leave the country better off in June, when she steps down from office, compared to January 2001 when she replaced Estrada?

One may conclude that she will leave the office in a better position than when she started.

But wait a minute. Under her administration, the national debt grew by 107 percent. This is the price for an average economic growth of 4.7 percent under her term compared to Estrada’s 2.3 percent.
Definitely, the growth rate is far better.

However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Friends, ask yourselves, do you feel richer today than in 2001?

9. What economic problems will the next president of the Philippines have to face by July this year?

The new administration will be faced by a fiscal crisis as government revenues wane. The need to cure it is almost immediate. He needs the necessary funding to be able to provide the social services, infrastructure and job creation to help alleviate poverty.

Thus, the next president should have bold measures to enhance government coffers, determination to get the job done and the oratory skills to be able to communicate to every Filipino that to be able to alleviate poverty, it involves a lot of pain and suffering, which includes raising the taxes.

10. If I had a little money to invest, where should I place it? In T-bills, bonds or UITFs?

Treasury Bills or T-bills will be on the top of the list, since they are deemed safe and secure. For those who have excess cash and can risk more, there are other investments that one can go for such as longer-dated government issued bonds, stocks and Unit Investment Trust Funds or simply UITFs.

(The author is a financial analyst of Banco de Oro. Opinions expressed in this article are of the author’s and do not reflect the views of his affiliated institution.)


By Jonathan L. Ravelas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:22:00 02/07/2010

Filed under: Financial Literacy, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

MPD warns anew vs. illegal recruiters as 1 suspect falls

Fresh warning against sweet-talking illegal recruiters operating in the provinces has been raised by the Manila Police District (MPD) following the arrest of a recruiter in Ermita, Manila, who allegedly duped four people with their money totaling P500,000 in exchange for non-existent jobs in Italy.

Superintendent Jose Hidalgo, head of Manila Police District-Station 5 (Ermita), made the alarm as he told Tempo that cases of illegal recruitment for jobs abroad are once again on the rise, so, job applicants should be wary.

“These illegal recruiters pose as representatives of employers abroad and tell their prospects they can facilitate their deployment for high-paying jobs abroad through their connections with the government and embassies,” he said.

Hidalgo identified the arrested suspect as EP Carmona, owner of the EP Carmona Consultancy at Room 603 in Gamito Building, Arquiza corner Alhambra Streets.

He was arrested following the complaint of Helen De Chavez, 35; Vernice Canta, 34; Jay Hayag, 23; and Resentacion Nuestro, 53, all natives of Quezon province.

Authorities also launched a hunt against a certain Divina Gumbol, recruitment officer of the recruitment agency, the official said.

Based on the report of Senior Police Officer 4 Cenon Parungao, of MPD-Station 5, the suspect was arrested at 7:15 p.m. on Friday inside the recruitment agency.

The complainants said Gumbol allegedly promised them highpaying jobs in Italy if they could pay a processing fee to the recruitment agency.

Parungao said the fee ranges from P55,000 to P150,000 depending on what job the complainants want to have in Italy.

They claimed that the agency has collected a total of P525,467 from them, but the company has yet to fulfill its promise.

Their failure to leave for abroad despite paying the processing fee had prompted the four complainants to go to the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) and found that recruitment agency is not accredited to send people abroad.

“It was already too late when they verified from the POEA that the agency is not authorized to recruit workers from abroad,” Parungao said.

Parungao said they are set to file four counts of large-scale estafa and illegal recruitment against Carmona and Gumbol.

Source: Leonard D. Postrado

http://www.tempo.com.ph/news.php?aid=52804

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

Philippines – RP Embassy in London Issues Warning on Dubious Online Job Offers

The Philippine Embassy in London issued an advisory for Filipino online jobseekers looking for employment in the United Kingdom, advising them to be more cautious in view of the rampant cases of bogus internet job offers.

They should be wary of attractive jobs offered by the employers or their agents who would ask applicants to remit a certain amount of money purportedly to pay for the processing of their visas or work permits and other travel-related expenses.

The Embassy, through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), urges all Filipino jobseekers to be more discerning as these internet job offers come in various schemes to defraud them of their hard-earned money.

Among the UK jobs which have been offered to Filipino applicants lately include positions like nannies, au pair, hotel staff, store managers, salespersons and engineers.

The following information/advisory should serve as a guide to UK-bound Filipino jobseekers:

o To ascertain the authenticity of job orders, employment contracts as well as the legitimacy of UK employers, Filipino jobseekers are advised to check with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA). They may also send their email-request for verification by POLO London at polo.london@yahoo.co.uk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . It is not enough to know if the employers really exist or that the jobs are available. Filipino jobseekers should also verify for themselves by using internet search engines like Google or contacting the UK employers directly through their official websites;

o Filipino jobseekers who have been ‘offered’ positions through the Internet should advise their prospective UK employers to submit the original copies of their employment documents to the POLO Office, Philippine Embassy in London for verification and authentication. For their part, they should not rely on scanned documents sent to them by emails such as employment contract, appointment letters and the like, as most of these are found to be forged or fabricated;

o Job offers requiring applicants to pay or remit money are highly suspicious. Charging of fees, including payment for visa and ‘work permit’ expenses are generally prohibited under the UK employment regulations;

o The new UK Points-Based Immigration System has done away with the work permit requirement, and is now replaced by the certificate of sponsorship. To be able to issue a certificate of sponsorship in favor of a candidate or applicant, the prospective UK employer should be duly licensed as a sponsor by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Filipino jobseekers should verify the status of their prospective employers in the list of sponsors which can be found at the UKBA website: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk. Payment for the certificate of sponsorship is also shouldered by the UK employer;

o Application for UK visa is done in the country of origin (i.e., at the British Embassy in Manila), and not in the UK. Visas are issued based on the points criteria for qualifications, prospective earnings, maintenance funds and English language proficiency. Since the visas are applied at and issued by the British Embassy in Manila, applicants should not give credence to the scanned copies of visas purportedly applied in their behalf by their employer’s agents, including immigration consultants, solicitors or travel agents;

o As to the hiring of nannies or domestic workers, it is an important requirement for purposes of domestic worker visa application that the candidate must have worked with the sponsoring employer for at least one year prior to the date of application. Hence, to qualify to come to the UK to work as a nanny or domestic worker, the Filipino applicant must be an established member of the employer’s household. The visa is also applied at the British Embassy in Manila;

o On hiring of au pair, it is advised that no au pair visas will be issued by the British Embassy to Filipino nationals, since the Philippines had never been included in the UK’s list of au pair countries. In addition, the au pair visa scheme was abolished effective on November 26, 2008 and has been replaced by the Youth Mobility Scheme under the new UK Points-Based System.

source: http://www.isria.com/pages/5_February_2010_81.php

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

Welfare funds intact, OWWA assures OFWs

Welfare funds intact, OWWA assures OFWs
GMA news.tv
of Budget and Management, the Department of Finance, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates

Man O Man, Your Thoughts

When without money, keep pigs;
When have money, keep dogs.

When without money, eat at home with wife;
When have money, dine in fine restaurant.

When without money, ride bicycle;When have money, ride exercise machine.

When without money, wish to get married;
When have money, wish to get divorced.

When without money, wife becomes secretary;
When have money, secretary becomes “wife”.

When without money, act like rich man;
When with money, act like poor man.

Man, O Man, never tells the truth:

Says sharemarket is bad but keeps speculating;
Says money is evil but keeps accumulating.

Says women are trouble-makers but keeps desiring them;
Says high positions are lonely but keeps wanting them.

Says smoking & drinking is bad but keeps partaking;
Says heaven is good but refused to go.

In the past, woman gives man their virginity;
Now, woman gives man their newborn.

In the rural area, chicken calls man awake;
In the cities, man calls for “chickens” cum pros…….

In the past, famous actresses will not sell their bodies;
Now, actresses will sell their bodies to get famous

What is life about?

1 At one, YOU are the top priority

10 At ten, academic excellence is the top priority

20At twenty, getting laid is the top priority

30 At thirty, a good career is top priority

40At forty, keeping your body in shape is top priority

50 At fi! fty, bea ting others at mahjong is top priority

60 At sixty, keeping IT up is top priority

70At seventy, remembering something is top priority

80 At eighty, moving around is top priority

90 At ninety, knowing directions is top priority

100  At 100, having your portrait on the wall is top priority!

Filed under: Buhay Sorsoganon, Jokes & Humor

Mandatory Pag-IBIG coverage for OFWs dropped

The government’s savings and shelter financing agency has withdrawn its original plan to impose mandatory membership for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) as a requirement to process their employment papers, a Hong Kong-based group said Wednesday.

In a statement, the Hong Kong chapter of a women’s rights group said Pag-IBIG chief executive officer Jaime Fabiaña declared that they would not force OFWs to become members of Pag-IBIG, nor will it be made a requirement to process their documents.

Gabriela-HK chairperson Cynthia Abdon-Tellez said Fabiaña announced this in a forum with leaders of OFW organizations on February 1 at the Philippine Consulate General in the Chinese territory.

“It is a victory for the vigilant OFWs resisting schemes of government exaction. While the Arroyo government is bent on squeezing more income from our labor, we shall always be there to fight its schemes every step of the way,” Tellez said.

Republic Act (RA) 9679 or the Home Development Mutual Fund Law, which took effect in January, mandates a monthly P100-contribution from members for such benefits as savings, short-term loans and housing loans. The law’s coverage was expanded to include, among others, Filipino workers employed abroad or here in the country by foreign employers.

Protests from OFWs, however, prompted Fabiaña to say that they would not be forced to become members, Tellez said.

According to Tellez, the plan to make Pag-IBIG a mandatory requirement for OFWs came on the heels of their successful campaign to oppose the forced membership of OFWs to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to enable them to get an overseas employment certificate.

Since November last year, a moratorium has been imposed on the mandatory OWWA collection as a requirement for the certificate, she added.

Tellez also hit the government for being a “consistent extortionist” of OFWs, noting that government exaction intensifies especially at the onset of every national elections.

“Just before the 2007 elections, the POEA Guidelines on hiring Filipino household workers was implemented that carried provisions for training and accreditation requirements which translated to more fees for migrant Filipinos. Now, a few months before the 2010 polls, here comes the mandatory Pag-IBIG membership,” Tellez added.

The group also recalled that in 2004, the government forced the transfer of the OWWA Medicare Fund to Philippine Health Insurance Corp. at the request of then PhilHealth head Francisco Duque.

On February 7, Tellez said her group will stage a rally to call for the scrapping of the provision in RA 9679 on mandatory Pag-IBIG membership. – KBK, GMANews.TV

Courtesy: JERRIE ABELLA, GMANews.TV

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

OFWs now covered by Pag-IBIG program

 

FILIPINO workers from formal and informal sectors here and abroad are now considered as members of Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund with the passage of R.A. 9679 (Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 2009) which took effect last month.

Jaime A. Fabiaña, HDMF chief executive officer, said the employees include those compulsorily covered by SSS; employees who are subject to mandatory coverage by Government Service Insurance System; uniformed members of the AFP, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the PNP, Overseas Filipino Workers, and Filipinos employed by foreign-based employers, whether deployed here or abroad.

Membership of OFWs used to be voluntary under the old Pag-IBIG Overseas Program, with terms of five, 10, 15 and 20 years.

Fabiana urged Hong Kong-based Filipinos in a meeting Sunday to avail of the membership.

“Be a Pag-IBIG member and secure a bright future for yourself. Your savings with the Fund earn double and even triple. These savings are guaranteed by the government and earn tax-free dividends. More importantly, as a member you have access to benefits no banks can give such as the lowest interest housing loans, fast salary loans and reliable calamity loans.”

Members’ contributions are credited to their savings or the total accumulated value that earn dividends and fully guaranteed by the national government.

In 2009, Pag-IBIG declared tax-free dividends amounting to P8.5 billion with a dividend rate of 5 percent.

“At this dividend rate, an OFW member will generate savings amounting to P40,753 if he contributes P100 monthly for 20 years; P81,507 if he contributes P200; and P203,768 at P500 a month. The bigger the contribution, the bigger the savings,” Fabiana said.

OFW-members can also avail of short-term loans that will help address immediate financial needs such tuition fees, hospital bills, appliance purchases, minor home repairs, and even for small business capital.

A member of good standing is eligible to avail of a home financing loan that has an interest rate of as low as six percent to 11.5% payable in 30 years. The maximum loan amount is P3 million. The loan can be used for the purchase of a fully developed lot within a residential area not exceeding 1,000 sq.m., purchase of a residential house and lot, townhouse or condominium unit, construction or completion of a residential unit on a lot owned by the member, home improvement and refinancing of an existing loan.

courtesy of : http://www.malaya.com.ph/02022010/news10.html

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

Police Officer 3 Judith Daria-Olbes-Sorsogon police officer named to TOPWP 2009

  by Bennie A. Recebido

Sorsogon Province (1 February) — Police Officer 3 Judith Daria-Olbes, non-commissioned officer of the Sorsogon Police Provincial Office (SPPO) was named among the 8th Search of the Ten Outstanding Police Women of the Year (TOPWP) 2009.

Olbes is the first lady law enforcer in this province feted with said recognition receiving the TOPWP Kabalikat Awards trophy.

She also received cash prize from ZONTA Club of Makati Paseo de Roxas Foundation, gift certificate from the Arms Corporation Philippines (ARMSCOR) and the Outstanding Achievement Medal from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

PSSupt. Heriberto Olitoquit, police provincial director here, stated that among hundreds of nominees from the police commissioned and non-commissioned officers across the country, 28 were chosen finalists and wherefore named the deserving ten outstanding police women of the country.

“Olbes indeed deserves the recognition considering her dedication and exemplary work significantly contributing to the cause of peace and order in the local community,” related Olitoquit.

It can be recalled that Olbes was part of the successful implementation of PNP programs bridging the gap between the police and the community, including the Expanded Community Orienting Polishing System (ECOPS) that focused on the promotion of public’s health; “Kampo ng Bayan sa Lawasnon” showcasing sports development, as well as the maintenance of heightened security at the Sorsogon Baywalk.

Likewise, Olbes initiated the “Malusog na Bata, Malusog na Bansa” program targeting children in the remote barangays to be their feeding program recepients, the “Konting Tulong ni Mama at Aleng Pulis” where they chipped-in certain amount from their own pocket and used this to realize the “Kaarawang Handog ni Mama at Aleng Pulis” and the distribution of slippers, food and school supplies to children.

Olbes who is currently the SPPO’s Family Juvenile and Gender and Development PNCO is an active officer of Sorsogon Women’s Network and Development (SWND) and Visayan Forum Foundation respectively working on women and children’s welfare.

In an interview, Olbes, though didn’t expect she can really make it to the top, extends her utmost gratitude to the past provincial chiefs of SPPO including PSSupt Joel Regondola, PSSupt Henry Rañola and to PSSupt Heriberto Olitoquit, the present PD. “I am also grateful to PSupt Edgardo Ardales, Deputy Prov’l Director PSupt Elmer Ferreras and to the Non-Uniformed Personnel as well as the Police Non-Commissioned and Commissioned officers of SPPO,” she added.

Other awardees are: PSupt Lailene Amparo – Marilao Police Station, Bulacan Provincial Office (PO), Police Regional Office(PRO) 3; PCI Delia Ingalla – Taguig City PO, Southern Police District, NCRPO; PSI Lerma Tirana – Regional Police Community Relations Division, NCRPO; SPO1 Marifel Cortez – Butuan City PO, PRO 13; PO3 Zorayda Aripin – Zamboanga City PO, PRO 9; PO3 Ruth Poserio – Sta. Barbara Police Station, Pangasinan PRO, Police Regional Office 1; PO3 Lilybeth Pascual – WCPD PNCO-Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office (PPO), PRO 5; PO2 Famela Suba – Cabiao Police Station, Nueva Ecija PPO, PRO 3; PO2 Rina Salaya – Maasin Municipal Police Station, Iloilo PPO, PRO 6.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself conferred the award to the Ten Outstanding Police Women of the Philippines, Jan. 13, at Rizal Hall in Malacañang.

These awardees that make up this year’s TOPWP were chosen for the honor by the ZONTA Club of Makati Paseo de Roxas Foundation and the Philippine National Police. (PIA Sorsogon) [top]

Filed under: Inspiration, Sorsoganon in the LIMELIGHT!, Sorsogon Outstanding Achievers, Touching Heart, Touching Lives, We will make you SHINE!, , ,

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