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‘UEA, Qatar, Oman OFW entry points to Afghanistan, Iraq’

Unscrupulous recruitment agencies in the country have been continuously deploying Filipino workers not only in war-torn Afghanistan but also in Iraq, a migrant rights’ group disclosed.

Migrante-Middle East regional director John Monterona also claimed that overseas Filipino workers are being sent to these countries despite the deployment ban by the Philippine government using the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Oman as entry points.

“We have been receiving reports that Overseas Employment Certificate have been issued even to those who are using tourist visa and visit visa entering the UAE, Qatar and Oman as entry point going to Afghanistan and Iraq; this is highly irregular,” Monterona said.

As this developed, Monterona has reiterated their call to the government to review the country’s labor export program.

“We reiterate our call to the Aquino government to start creating local jobs with decent pay and benefits, initiate a reasonable across-the-board wage increase for the wage-earners to avoid a humanitarian crisis in the deployment of OFWs in war-torn countries,” he added.

By Dennis Carcamo

via: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=590533&publicationSubCategoryId=200

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

Number of jobless Filipino nurses increasing

MANILA, Philippines – Richard Palikpik was one of the 92,000 nursing graduates who took the licensure examinations on Saturday.

Palikpik said he spent the last 3 months reviewing for the exam.

“Ayaw namin bumaba pa ang aming rating para hindi rin bumaba ang tingin ng ibang bansa sa amin,” he said.

But according to an official of the Review Center Association of the Philippines (RECAP), failing in the exams should be the least of the nursing graduates’ concerns.

“Ang pinakamahirap ay ang maghanap ng trabaho. Madali lang naman pumasa,” said Dr. Carl Balita, vice-president of RECAP.

According to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), there are 187,000 unemployed nurses in the country today. They can’t find work because there are no vacancies in hospitals, it added.

Lack of work experience also prevents them from seeking jobs abroad like in the United States and Britain.

That is why Jen Palmero, who took the exams, said she would accept any work abroad even as a caregiver with lower salary.

“Caregiver is okay,” she said. “Related naman.”

For the PRC, it will be a waste of manpower if the government continues to allow nurses to work abroad as caregivers or nursing assistants.

Nursing graduates, meanwhile, called on the new administration to increase the plantilla positions of nurses in government hospitals to accommodate new nurses.

by Apples Jalandoni, ABS-CBN News

via: http://tinyurl.com/3a7uhm3

Filed under: Government, Jobs, Overseas Jobs,

POEA to drop probationary period on OFW contracts, but allow similar setups

The term “probationary period” will be removed, but not really.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) clarified Thursday that while it is disallowing the use of the term “probationary period” in overseas employment contracts, recruitment agencies may still retain the concept “in essence”.

POEA deputy administrator Hans Leo Cacdac told GMANews.TV in a phone interview that agencies will no longer be allowed to include a probationary period in their contracts. He however added that they may still specify a certain period for foreign employers to assess overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

“It’s just the term ‘probationary period’ that we’re disallowing, but in essence, it will still be there,” Cacdac admitted.

Recruitment agencies had earlier slammed the POEA’s plan to remove the probationary period in overseas employment contracts, threatening that they will stop processing papers for new workers unless the implementation of the new policy is put on hold.

In a press release, recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani said the POEA has not consulted recruitment agencies and foreign employers on the new policy.

“A probationary period of three to six months is standard in most countries of destinations in Asia, Middle East, and Europe which the POEA and recruitment agencies adopted many decades ago since the private sectors took over the recruitment industry in the early 80’s,” Geslani stated.

He added the period differs according to country, and is sometimes part of a country’s labor laws.

New workers are usually placed on probationary status for a definite period, during which companies assess the workers’ performance and decide whether to retain them or discontinue their employment.

If the provision is removed from the contracts, Geslani explained, “almost all agencies will be subject to illegal dismissal cases filed by workers who did not pass the probationary period or qualify.”

Foreign employers will object to the new policy, which may thus lead to a decline in the hiring of new workers, he added.

Cacdac, however, said agencies will still be allowed to indicate a specific period in contracts when employees may be removed, but only under standards agreed upon by the employer and the employee.

“The probationary period gives the employer a free hand in terminating employees. Contracts must ensure that Filipino workers will be terminated only for just causes,” Cacdac explained.

He admitted, though, that employers may still dismiss their employees during the specified period, provided that just causes for termination are enumerated in the contract, to which the employees agreed.

“The situation will be similar to the probationary set-up,” Cacdac added.

The term “probationary period” is misleading, he further explained, because in the context of Philippine labor, the period is immediately followed by either termination or permanent employment.

OFWs are usually on a fixed-term employment contract of one or two years.

Despite the criticism, the POEA will issue a resolution on the new policy on a yet unspecified date, which will take full effect following its publication on major newspapers as required by the law, Cacdac said.

By Jerrie M. Abella/JV, GMANews.TV

via: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/194379/poea-to-drop-probationary-period-on-ofw-contracts-but-allow-similar-setups

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

4 Pinoys lose US jobs for speaking in Tagalog

BALTIMORE, Maryland – Four Filipina ex-staffers of a Baltimore City hospital haven’t gotten over the shock of being summarily fired from their jobs, allegedly because they spoke Pilipino during their lunch break.

“Hindi ko pa rin matanggap na the basis of the termination was the language,” nurse Hachelle Natano told ABS-CBN News.

Corina Capunitan-Yap, Anna Rowena Rosales, Jazziel Granada and Natano were fired from their jobs at the Bon Secours Hospital last April 16.

“I feel I was harassed and discriminated against because of my national origin,” Natano explained.

“They claimed they heard us speaking in Pilipino and that is the only basis of the termination. It wasn’t because of my functions as a nurse. There were no negative write-ups, no warning before the termination,” she added.

Last November, Bon Secours imposed for the first time an English-only language policy in the Emergency Room, the nurses said.

Many hospitals, especially those with foreign medical staff, implement the rule in trauma facilities because it’s critical everyone understand each other as they respond to life-and-death situations.

They were asked to sign the hospital’s “Emergency Department Expectations” that set the length of their lunch and snack breaks; lays down when they can take a rest; and directs that English should be the only language spoken while the nurses are on ER duty.

Granada was surprised when she too got the boot.

“I was shocked. I’m not even a nurse. I’m a secretary so I’m not involved with patient care. It came as a big shock and I was asking myself, why I was included,” she told ABS-CBN News.

Lawyer Arnedo Valera of the Virginia-based Migrant Heritage Commission has filed a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The nurses, he pointed out, were “arbitrarily terminated from work without due process,” and the English-only rule violated their basic rights.

Fired because of bagoong?

This is not the first time hospital workers have been fired or disciplined for speaking in a language other than English.

In 2005, the EEOC led a federal law suit against the Highland Hospital in Rochester, New York on behalf of five Hispanic housekeepers.

They were sanctioned after they were overheard saying “hasta la vista” or goodbye as they were leaving work.

The EEOC said the English-only rule was unlawful and violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits job discrimination based on a person’s race, sex or national origin.

Valera believes the English-only rule at Bon Secours Hospital was too broad and so lacking in clear guidelines to be fairly and legally implemented.

“If you speak just a single Tagalog word and someone hears you, that can be grounds for termination which is what happened to our nurses,” he explained.

“All it takes is just one word. That can be a greeting, a remark or even the name of a Filipino dish. Based on this rule, you could say ‘bagoong’ (a fermented fish sauce) and lose your job,” Valera said.

Granada, still in the dark what Pilipino word she uttered to get the pink slip, speculates it might have been because she called a Filipino doctor in the hospital “Kuya” – a word of respect akin to the English “Sir.”

The Filipinas’ plight has been aggravated, they say, by the hospital’s inability to show any documentation of when the alleged violations took place.

Their dismissal was so abrupt it took several days for the termination papers to catch up with them.

Nurses’ rights

Valera said this incident goes deeper into the problems Filipino and other foreign nurses face in US hospitals.

“There is no business necessity, there is no rational justification or direct relationship between speaking in Pilipino to the performance of their job,” he said.

Lured by higher pay and wider opportunities for advancement, Filipino professionals – doctors, nurses, engineers – have flocked to the US for the past 50 years.

The Philippines, India and Nigeria are the top suppliers of nurses in the US. In the 1980s, nearly half of all foreign nurses entering the US were Filipinos.

“America is supposed to be land of the free but in our case we were terminated because we spoke in our native language,” Rosales said.

“It is so unfair for Filipino nurses. I am making an appeal to nurses’ associations that with this incident we should let them know that no patient is harmed when we speak in our native language,” she declared.

By Rodney J. Jaleco, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

via: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/06/22/10/4-pinoys-lose-us-jobs-speaking-tagalog

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

A FATHERS DAY SPECIAL FOR OFWs

What you are about to watch  is the FATHERS role in the family when the Mother works overseas. In this video clip courtesy by MMK/ABS-CBN will show us the continuing exodus of mothers for jobs overseas,  this affects the behavioral development of children they leave behind.

I was so inspired to feature this story  because not  many Dad out there  are ready to take the role as  Mom or even become a good parent in  nurturing their children.

HAPPY FATHERS DAY TO ALL THE DADS OUT THERE!!!!

Filed under: Encouragement, Inspiration, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, Touching Heart, Touching Lives,

OFWs forced to get 2 jobs for children’s education

by Jocelyn Ruiz, ABS-CBN Europe News Buerau

ITALY – Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) based in Italy are forced to take a second job aside from their regular work to support the education of their children in the Philippines.

They are obliged to double their remittances based on the needs of payment of tuitions, school materials and uniforms of their children.

Carmen Ilagan risked herself to work abroad for her three children who are all going to study in this school year.

Aside from her regular job as domestic helper, she is forced to get an extra job.

“Nag-doble ako ng trabaho at tumatanggap ako ng extra work at nang madagdagan ang aking kita para doble ang padala ko ngayong enrollment at pasukan na,” she said.

Ilagan feels the pain of being separated from her kids but she knows her sacrifices will bring a better life for her family.

She shared that she calls her children to monitor their situation and give them parental advice.

“Sinasabihan ko sila sa pagpasok sa school magdala ng payong o kapote pati na din dun sa katulong na nagdadala sa anak ko na 4 na taon sa kinder,” stated Ilagan.

Quality college education

OFW couple Benjie and Lita Eclarin have a hard time working together to support the college education of their daughter.

They said that they need to tighten their belt to provide for the needs of their daughter to pursue a college education in Manila.

“Kailangan sa panahon na ito ay tipid at higpit ng sinturon kasi hindi katulad ng ginagawa ng aming pamilya dahil may pinag-aaral pa kami na nasa college,” said Benjie. “Napakahirap magpaaral ng college.”

They also added that parents like them have the responsibility when education is concerned.

“Mahal na ang mga bilihin, ang lahat at obligasyon nating magpaaral ng anak dahil iyon lang ang maipapamana naming sa mga bata,” added Lita.

A grandma’s sacrifice

Meanwhile, a 67-year-old OFW grandmother, Linda de Villa, continues to work abroad for her grandchild’s education in the Philippines.

Lola Linda got emotional while sharing her story to the ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau.

Despite the fact that she is supposed to be enjoying her pension in the Philippines, Lola Linda said she needs to sacrifice to help her family back home.

“Handa na akong makapag-aral sila maski na ako ay walang pinag-aralan. Hindi nakaakyat ng hagdan, basta sila makaakyat,” she said.

Even if she feels sadness and homesickness, Lola Linda said she is still hoping that her grandchild will finish his schooling so that she can go home.

Increase in remittances

Based on the studies of remittance centers here in Italy, the estimated remittances of OFWs in the months of May and June will rise compared to last year because of the double remittances of OFWs for the education of their children.

“May palang nag-iipon na sila for enrollment, ito June for school supplies. Ang matindi lang ngayon ay ang pag-we-weaken ng euro sa dollar kaya mas malaking euro ang kanilang ipapadala compared sa last year,” said Elsa Lim, managing director of Land Bank of the Philippines Rome.

Lim added that OFWs are willing to sacrifice their salary for their families back home.

She also said that the OFWs are brave enough to take on the challenges of working abroad.

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

More RP nurses going to Britain

By Jerome Aning/Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—More Filipino nurses are now leaving for the United Kingdom than those going to the United States over the past three years as immigration policies continue to impede demand for foreign nurses in America.

Emmanuel Geslani, a consultant of several Manila-based recruitment agencies, said Filipino nurses were finding it easier to seek employment in the United Kingdom via the study-and-work program introduced by the British health service four years ago.

“Filipino nurses hoping to work in the United States may have to wait five to seven years for H1-B working visas and two to three years for EB-3 immigrant visas before they can enter the US while those interested in improving their academic qualifications can enter the UK under the study-and-work program,” Geslani said.

He cited statistics released by the UK Borders and Immigration Agency showing that the annual average number of Filipino nurses who went to the United Kingdom reached 7,000 from 2007 to 2009.

By contrast, there was an annual average of less than 300 registered Filipino nurses entering the United States from 2003 to 2009 using H1-B work and EB-3 immigration visas, data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) show.

Among countries, Saudi Arabia has received the biggest number of Filipino nurses, with an average of 8,000 deployed yearly. The POEA figures show a yearly average of 13,000 nurses deployed to various countries including the United States, Geslani said.

Unemployed nurses

“The opening of study programs that include on-the-job training (OJT) for Filipino nurses has been a blessing for the more than 300,000 unemployed licensed nurses in our country, with the glut increasing each year with more than 100,000 graduates each year,” said Geslani, a former vice president of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters and a recruiter for the past three decades.

The huge number of unemployed licensed nurses in the country has led to a sharp drop in enrollment at nursing schools.

The study-and-work program allows Filipino nursing undergraduates to improve their academic background by studying in a British university for nine months to two years while being deployed to an appropriate work place.

While studying, Filipino nurses are given an opportunity of 15.5 hours OJT with pay. Nursing graduates from overseas are required to work 20 hours a week while taking units to upgrade their skills to British standards.

One international consultancy firm with an office in Manila has a work-and-study program that could send Filipino nurses to the United Kingdom within six months, Geslani said.

Other health workers

The firm offers two-year courses in the United Kingdom for Filipino physical therapists, medical technologists, public health workers and even social workers who would like to enter the British healthcare industry.

A new program allows Filipino nursing graduates an opportunity to study in Britain for an additional year. They will then get a work experience of up to two years and be issued work permits.

Most Filipino nurses in the United Kingdom end up becoming caregivers, as the country is also suffering from a shortage of health workers, according to Geslani.

In demand

Filipino caregivers are in demand in Britain because they are better English speakers than their counterparts from European Union countries such as Poland and Romania, he said.

Many Filipino nurses also try to apply to become registered nurses in Britain and get permanent residence status immediately although the entry requirements are much tougher, he added.

Typically, overseas workers in Britain can apply for permanent residence after working there for five years.

Security issue

Geslani said that while going to the United States was “not entirely hopeless” for aspiring Filipino nurses, getting there was becoming more difficult.

“The US Citizenship and Immigration Service treats the migration of foreign nurses as a border-and-security issue and despite legislation to increase the number of foreign nurses government bureaucratic red tape has failed to find solutions to the lack of nurses in the US healthcare system,” he said.

US hospitals and health institutions are also suffering from funding problems due to the global financial crisis.

US President Barack Obama’s healthcare program augurs well for Filipino nurses because more hospitals and health facilities are to be set up in the following years as the US government implements universal health care, Geslani said.

Call center agents

“The problem is that the implementation just takes too long. Our students and graduates couldn’t wait to work abroad and deployment to the UK seems more promising. We already have many nursing graduates here who are working as call center agents while applying for work in the US,” he told the Inquirer.

Filipino nurses’ interest in going to the US may be actually waning because of the weak demand there. For the first time, there was a drop in Filipino nurses taking the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX).

Only 3,024 took the exam from January to March this year, compared with 4,194 in the same quarter of 2009.

The NCLEX refers to the licensure examination administered by the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc.

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

2 Pinoy health workers denied UK visa

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU/Manila Bulletin

Two Filipino health workers who allegedly made false claims about their funds have been denied student visas to enter the United Kingdom (UK) and may now have to wait for a decade before applying again, a migration official disclosed Sunday.

Diana Rose Bron and Jezel Camacho were refused permission after the UK consular office-Manila was unable to confirm the authenticity of their bank certifications, said Emmanuel Geslani.

“This should serve as a warning to all health workers who will be submitting false documents because they will not only be refused entry but also barred from going there for a period of 10 years,’’ he said.

Citing records he culled, Geslani said the bank certifications of the two students were issued in a province in Northern Luzon although they are residents of Bicol.

He said the consular office was unable to verify the authenticity of the funds claimed by the students, and, thus was declared outright that their bank documents were “fraudulent.”

Geslani said that bank certifications are needed to show that applicants for student visas have the financial capacity to live in the UK, pay for their tuition fee and living expenses such as accommodation, food and transportation for a period of nine months.

Depending on their UK location, he said the recommended amount for each student ranges from P450, 000 to P650,000. “This amount should be deposited in the accredited bank which issues the certification to the applicant. The certificate is one of the documents that has to be submitted by the student to the UK embassy in Manila,’’ he said.

The students were assisted by the International Student Advisors (ISA), a consultancy office, who admitted to have affirmed the certifications since these were issued by the bank.

According to him, the ISA had expressed belief there was nothing wrong with the students’ applications, except for their funds.

Meanwhile, Geslani bared that Filipino nurses migrating to the UK has now surpassed deployment of nurses to the United States.

The official attributed the decline in deployment of foreign nurses to US to its stringent immigration policies.

“Filipino nurses hoping to work in the US may have to wait 5-7 years for H 1-B working visas and 2-3 years for EB 3 (immigrant visas) before they can enter the US while those interested in improving their academic qualifications can enter the UK under a study and work program introduced fours years ago by a leading international consultancy office within six months,’’ he said.

Citing 2007-2009 data from the UK Borders and Immigration Agency, he said the annual average of Filipino nurses who have left for the UK under a study and work program was pegged at 7,000.

Figures from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), on the other hand, showed that from 2003-2009 there was only an annual average of less than 300 Registered Nurses (RNs)  who were allowed entry to the US using H1-B work and EB-3 immigration visas.

Moreover, Geslani said that nurse deployment to Saudi Arabia continue to be high with an average of 8, 000 yearly.

The annual deployment to the Kingdom is more than half of the yearly average of 13,000 nurse deployment by the POEA to various countries including the US, he said.

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

POEA warns of fake Net job offers

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU/Manila Bulletin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to Re-think Brand Philippines?

by Robert Allen

“The thing is, we always shoot ourselves in the foot. And we never miss.” — Philippines Brand Owner

The election of Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino as the Philippine’s new President marks both a progression and continuity in the country’s politics. The progression is a successful, democratic transfer of power, undertaken without the violence that has marred previous polls. The continuity is the election of a candidate from one of the Philippine’s ruling families. So will this president-elect represent continuity or change for the country’s brand?
June 12th marks the 112th anniversary of Philippine independence and the founding of nation’s representative democracy. The Philippines brand has historically been dominated by two factors: disappointing politics and the OFW (overseas Filipino worker). The first is the image of instability caused by repressive colonial history; followed by Ferdinand Marcos’ ransacking of the country’s economy (and his wife Imelda’s infamous shoe fetish).

The OFW phenomena is in part a response to the poor economic prospects this legacy bequeathed. Millions of ‘Pinoys’ work overseas as seamen, health workers and domestic helpers across South East Asia and beyond, seeking prospects denied to them at home.

In the Philippines, the image of these expats is mixed. The remittance they send back is a welcome boost for the economy, but many worry that the resultant strains on family life will outweigh the financial benefits. Others grumble that this exodus is a symptom of the failure of the domestic economy to develop sufficient opportunities for ambitious and motivated young people.

The external impact of these factors on the Philippine’s brand is an image of a country unable to develop, and a people worthy of aspiring to no higher than the bottom of the earning food chain. Sniggering tales of prospective Filipino maids asking if their meager wage included ‘headache money’ are a regular feature of expat dinner party chatter.

Attending a brand launch last year, your writer witnessed first hand the hurt this image causes. In the week before the launch the US TV show Desperate Housewives had featured a scene where an American character had refused to be treated by a Filipino doctor. The show had intended to highlight the snobbery and ignorance of the American character, and the situation portrayed had clearly struck a deep chord with the audience at the launch.

Almost quivering with indignation, the speaker had railed against the iniquity of the Philippine’s image abroad: They weren’t just launching a new company brand that day (she asserted) they were building a new Filipino brand of professionalism, technical prowess and customer service.

In fact, the seeds of a new brand image are already taking root. The very things that have made Filipinos employable in the lower paid service industries – welcoming, friendly personalities, attentive service, good English and hard working – are the very things that provide the platform for a new global Philippines brand.

The Philippines is already a strong rival to the (better branded) India in outsourced call centers, where patience and enunciation are vital. The last few years has seen a wave of Filipino companies using brand to develop their image and drive change through their businesses. Brands such as leading bank BDO are blending outstanding customer service with product development.

No doubt the new President will have many issues pressing for his attention. But perhaps now is the time to re-launch Brand Philippines to help both the OFW workers, and local companies carrying the burden of being global standard bearers.
Robert Allen is associate director, brand strategy, in Interbrand’s Singapore office. Rob has worked in branding, marketing, communications and research both client-side and as a consultant, with more than 15 years experience across Europe and Asia.

Filed under: Encouragement, Inspiration, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, People who inspired Us, ,

The quest for greener pastures

Once, the attraction of greener pastures abroad so consumed me that I finally decided to give it a try. With a seafaring father and a number of uncles and aunties who are OFWs themselves, it seemed natural for them to urge me to work outside abroad as well. In fact, they have been prodding me to apply abroad even while I was still in college because it is a sure way to earn big. As proof, I have enjoyed their pasalubongs and dollar souvenirs whenever they went home while I was growing up.

My father was able to send us to good schools, bought us “stateside” stuff, and generally made the whole family’s welfare better. However, deep inside of me is a dread that I find hard to explain because I know how difficult it is to be away from the surroundings I am accustomed to. I know how hard it is to adjust to a different culture, and deal with various types of people and a different working environment. I can’t help feeling wary of having to be alone, because I know it is so hard without any friends to share feelings with, without family to help me with problems, and without anybody to turn to especially in times of sickness.

Meanwhile, I cannot refute the fact that having a career abroad is one of the quickest ways to achieve my dreams. It is the ticket to which I will be able to afford a new car, build my future house and help my immediate family’s financial needs. Plus, I had this notion back then that if my relatives were able to do it, why can’t I? These are my inner conflicts before having decided — weighing my options up, down, and in-between because I want to really convince myself that it is for the best.

Finally, the lure of green bucks finally settled the matter for me. And so the process of preparing my papers and necessary travel documents started, and I was with high hopes that I will be accepted in a cruise liner fast. Coming from Cebu, I settled myself with an Aunt in Quezon City so that I can easily report to my agency’s office. This alone is sacrifice enough as I am not used to being away from Cebu for a long time. The first time I passed my application papers to the recruitment agency, I was told that I have to be in the waiting list. This is a big drawback for me because I wanted to work out of the country while my mind is still intent on it and get the process done in the soonest time possible. But with the seemingly long months that I have to wait, I know I have to find temporary work or else my family will incur lots of debt even before my application gets accepted. At this time, my father had now retired from being a seaman so the pressure on me was even greater.

I headed next to Clark, Pampanga, because a friend’s company based there was looking for a new inventory officer. There, I worked for four months, tried to adjust to the new surroundings and braved the homesickness that envelopes me most of the time. I considered it to be a little stint and a kind of exercise for me to be prepared when I have to work thousands of miles away from my homeland. When December came, I decided to file for leave to celebrate Christmas in my own hometown, but I no longer hold the conviction of working abroad. I planned to talk to my family about it and look for work in Cebu City instead.

Yes, after months of bearing the hardships of missing my family and everything that I hold dear, I chickened out. I decided that I will not go back to do follow ups for my cruise line application and to just forget everything about my grand dreams. That is, for now.

Hence, I congratulate every OFW out there who are brave and strong enough to sacrifice everything just so they can provide well for their family. I salute my aunties and uncles for looking after the welfare of their nieces and nephews and their other relatives even if they now have a family of their own. Most of all, I thank my father for having provided me with good education that equipped me with the right skills in faring well for the corporate world (wherever that world maybe). And to OFWs who are presently serving their contracts now, I say you are great heroes indeed!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stanley Briyce Batao, 30, works as a web content writer for an SEO (search engine optimization) company.

Visit Link: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=583060&publicationSubCategoryId=503

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

OFW remittances, reserves to help insulate RP — S&P

THE ONGOING euro zone crisis is not likely to affect the Philippines substantially given the country’s robust remittances and foreign exchange reserves, global credit watchdog Standard & Poor’s said.

Elena Okorotchenko, Standard & Poor’s managing director and analytical manager of Asia’s sovereign and public finance ratings, said in a May 28 commentary that the country’s external liquidity, supported by $15 billion in annual remittance inflows and foreign exchange reserves of about $46 billion, would serve as buffers to renewed global turbulence.

“This makes the Philippines somewhat less vulnerable to shifts in external sentiment,” the S&P report states.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show that remittances from Europe amounted to $777 million in the first quarter, about 18% of the $4.3-billion total.

Monetary authorities expect the amount of money sent home by migrant workers to grow by 8% this year from 2009’s $17.348 billion.

The debt watcher also noted that domestic investors hold a large share of foreign currency-denominated government bonds, adding a further cushion to external shocks.

“Moreover, many investors view emerging Asia (including Indonesia and the Philippines) as attractive investment destinations relative to many developed markets,” it said.

“This is due to their stronger growth prospects, better demo-graphics, lower government debt burdens, and adequate external liquidity.

“We believe the combination of these factors is likely to maintain capital inflows into Asia,” S&P said. — J. B. F. Santos


Source: http://www.bworldonline.com/main/content.php?id=12387

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

POEA warns of fake Net job offers

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU/Manila Bulletin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trafficking in humans hits worrisome level, says Ople

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pinoys warned vs direct hiring scam in Italy

By Jocelyn Ruiz, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

NO SURPRISE IN NEWS OF OFWS’ POVERTY

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

     

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

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

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


   A bit of good news from the ILO

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reintegration of returned OFWs    

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

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

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

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

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

Open letter from OFWs    

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Lessons from thousands of miles away

By Chao Wai Yee /philstar.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator

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

Gay ban in Saudi hit

By Wheng Hidalgo/abs-cbnNEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OWWA advised LGBT members to be careful and act discreetly.

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

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

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

OFWs to Aquino: Create more local jobs

By Edith Regalado/Philstar

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

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

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

“We all love to go home,” she said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filipino nurses much in demand

By Syeda Amtul/Saudi Gazette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HINDI MAYAMAN ANG MGA OFW’s

By: Jeremiah Javier

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MGA KABABAYAN PLS READ, LALO SA MGA OFW…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maraming sakripisyo pero walang makitang tangible solutions or consequences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Masarap manood ng pelikulang Pinoy, luma man o bago.

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

Iba pa rin talaga.

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

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

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

From the author:

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

PLEASE SHARE IT TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS!!!

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

Next gov’t challenged to harness OFWs’ economic potential

By Jeremaiah M. Opiniano, OFW Journalism Consortium


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fungible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filed under: OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs,

Ban on foreign illegal recruiter sought

By JUN RAMIREZ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filipinos eyeing jobs in Guam face long wait

 By SHIANEE MAMANGLU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Singapore job seekers warned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

DFA issues warning on dubious offers for Caribbean jobs

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warned Wednesday Filipinos seeking jobs in South America to be wary of unscrupulous individuals or companies that require a huge amount of money in exchange for high-paying salaries in the Caribbean.

The warning was issued after the Philippine Embassy in Venezuela revealed that unscrupulous companies that ask for a certain amount of money as well as a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Skills Certification prior to the processing of job applications in Trinidad and Tobago.

“CARICOM Skills Certificate is meant for the free movement of citizens of CARICOM member-countries, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat (UK), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, to work in the Caribbean states. It is not for Filipinos and other foreigners,” the Philippine Embassy in Venezuela said.

“The companies’ profile, company’s registration, and prospective employment contract should be examined carefully. These documents should all be notarized and authenticated by the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” it said.

“It is also advisable to verify the existence of such companies with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) or the Embassy before further transacting with them,” it added.

The Philippine Embassy in Venezuela expressed alarm following an email from a Filipino fire engineer in a Saudi Arabian company, who sought assistance on the CARICOM. The Filipino was reportedly given a job as a maintenance and fire safety engineer in Trinidad and Tobago provided that he apply for a CARICOM Skills Certificate and pay US$765 (approximately P34,425) for notarial and legal service fees for his documents.

The DFA has been warning OFWs to be vigilant against illegal recruitment agencies as well as text and e-mail scams.

Just like the internet scam, the text scams required OFWs to transmit money prior to receiving their so-called prizes supposedly to pay for taxes, remittance charges, or donations.

By MADEL R. SABATER
May 5, 2010, 4:46pm

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

Pinay Nurse topped an examination in Japan

Pinay tops Japan test for nurse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filipino au pairs wanted in Switzerland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Philippines Resumes Registration for EPS Language Test

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jonathan M. Hicap
Korea Times Correspondent

jhicap@yahoo.com

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

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,

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,

More jobs in Japan

THE Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in Central Visayas has started accepting a second batch of caregiver and nursing applicants for Japan.

POEA Director Evelia Durato said that over a thousand of applicants will be needed. Applicants should register online at http://www.poea.gov.ph on or before January 15.

POEA will prequalify applicants for interview and examination by prospective employers. Those who pass will sign contracts and get language training in Japan with allowances equivalent to their salary. Those that pass language training will then be assigned to employers.

The POEA is also asking applicants for Korea to grab the opportunity of taking the low-cost Korea Language Test. Durato said that for those who want to work in Korea should first pass the test, which the POEA offers for $17 (the noraml price is $30). Applicants should also register online. Deadline of registration is on January 22.

The POEA also said that it is still ironing out job opportunities in Australia, particularly in Southern Australia where thousands of skilled workers are needed in construction sites and hotels.

The demand for overseas workers means applicants must be careful to avoid illegal recruiters.

Durato said that applicants should be wary in accepting offers and check with the POEA if a recruiter is licensed. If the offer is too good to be true, the applicants should think twice, she added.

The Department of Labor and Employment in Central Visayas is also expecting a better turnout for local work this year.

Director Elias Cayanong said that still booming are the call center industry, construction, tourism, electronics, and garments. For the last quarter, call centers grew 30-35 percent.

/Correspondent Carine M. Asutilla-Inquirer.net

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

POEA accepts applicants for Korea language test

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), in cooperation with the Human Resource Development Service of Korea, is accepting applicants for the 6th batch of Korea Language Test for EPS workers.

Interested jobseekers to Korea may visit website http://www.poea.gov.ph and register to maintain an active online status.

Applicants must not be more than 38 years old; at least a high school graduate; have at least one year of work experience; and must be physically fit.

The registration for qualified KLT applicants is scheduled from Jan. 25 to Jan. 29 at the POEA regional center in LDM Building along M.J. Cuenco Avenue corner Legaspi Street, Cebu City.

Applicants must submit a detailed resume with one 2×2 picture, high school or college diploma, employment certificate, valid passport and NBI clearance (for travel abroad) upon registration.

The deadline for submission of application is on Jan. 22.

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

Pag-IBIG Fund targets 1-M OFW members by 2010

Pag-IBIG Fund targets 1-M OFW members by 2010
By Prix D. Banzon

Davao City (15 December) — The Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) popularly known as Pag-IBIG Fund is set to increase its membership of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to one million in 2010.

This was revealed by HDMF vice president for Southern Mindanao operations Jose W. Banzon, Jr. during the “Handog ng Pag-IBIG Fund sa OFW” last Friday at SM City Davao entertainment center.

Pag-IBIG Fund’s current membership for OFWs accounted to 470,000 and they aim to double the membership by 2010.

Meanwhile Banzon said with the huge contribution of OFWs to the country’s economy and as their gesture of recognizing these efforts they came up with fitting tribute to them by letting them understand further the benefits they get from the Fund as members and a simple celebration in time for the Christmas season.

Citing figures from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Banzon said that total remittances of OFWs from 2003 to 2008 amounted to US$ 70..5 billion or P3.2 Trillon. Figures for 2009 accounted to P284 billion or equivalent to 71 percent of the national budget of the Philippine government for 2010.

The BSP figure showed a projection of $17 b remittances or a growth rate of 4.2 percent compared to last year’s total remittances amounting to US$16 billion.

He said 10 percent of the Philippine population are working abroad of about 8.5 million are OFWs against the country’s population of 85 million.

“Without overseas employment and their accompanying remittances we might not have hope for the global financial crisis,” he said.

He said other countries were mostly affected by the global meltdown unlike the Philippines where OFW remittances is a big contribution to the Philippine economy.

Pag-IBIG Fund he said has set up offices around the globe within the Philippine embassies and consular offices that will cater to queries and other services of OFWs.

With the passage of the new law or Republic Act 9679, the OFWs in 2010 are covered by Pag-IBIG Fund as compulsory members.

Once a member of the Fund, it will be to the advantage of the OFW as they enjoy the benefits and services from multi-purpose loan to housing loan and earnings of dividends, he said.

The OFW has to pay only $5 monthly contribution and they could avail among others of a housing loan with six percent interest rate per annum for a house and lot package of P300, 000. However there are other types of packages that they can choose from depending on their needs, he said.

Banzon said their contribution could earn at least 4.5 percent and tax free unlike investing the money in time deposit with 2.5 percent interest less tax of 20 percent what is left is 80 percent or a net of 2 percent.

Linda Moreno, HDMF vice president for Philippine International Operations Group said they will be opening more offices abroad especially so that they had been getting regularl queries from OFWs.

As much as possible she said they wanted to make Pag-IBIG Fund services be more accessible to them.

Atty. Marie Antoniette D. Diaz, assistant manager for Pag-IBIG Fund Davao also explained that with the Fund now being exempted from paying taxes to the national government at about P3 billion, the fund can be used to more programs including payment of dividends to the members.

She also said that under RA 9679 as mandated, membership shall cover all employees who are members of the Social Security System and Government Service Insurance System and shall cover also those employees receiving with salaries P4,000 and below and those employees waived by companies.

She said the new law applies to all Philippine-based employees and overseas Filipino workers. (PIA) [top]

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs

More OFW Households save & invest

Due to fears of displacement and possible unemployment as the effects of the global financial slowdown continue to unfold, families who rely on remittances sent home by a family member working abroad are learning to save or invest.

In a recent survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), 44.8 percent of 524 respondent families which rely on remittances in the fourth quarter 2009 allotted portions of remittances to savings.

The ratio was 39.9 percent during the third quarter.

The central bank said the percentage has significantly increased from only 7.2 percent in the first quarter of 2007.

Households using remittances for investment also went up from 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2007 to 7.1 percent in Q4 2009.

But the ratio is slightly lower than the 7.6 percent registered in the third quarter.

“OFW households utilize their remittances primarily for savings, food, education, medical expenses and debt payments in Q4 2009,” BSP said.

The survey said 95.2 percent of respondents spent remittances on food and other household needs.

Of the households, 65.8 percent used remittances for education expenses, 62.2 percent for medical expenses, and 49.2 percent for debt payments.

The percentage of OFW households that utilized remittances to purchase consumer durables and motor vehicles was broadly steady at 26.0 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively from 26.5 percent and 6.8 percent in Q3 2009.

Those that apportioned part of their remittances for amortization or full payment for houses dropped to 10.5 percent from 12.1 percent in the previous quarter.

BSP deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo earlier said the results of the survey “reflect the uncertainties in the global economy.”

“Most OF families are concerned that the global economic slowdown that is resulting to recession in most of the developed economies may result to displacement of OFWs,” Guinigundo said.

But the BSP said the fears might be exaggerated.

It said remittance flows were shored up by the continued strong global demand for professional and skilled Filipino workers and the wider access of overseas workers and their beneficiaries to a broader array of financial products and services.

BSP said these factors support the optimistic outlook for sustained growth in remittances through the rest of 2009.

Remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks rose significantly to $1.4 billion in September 2009, posting a year-on-year increment of 8.6 percent.

As a result, cumulative remittances for the nine-month period increased by 4.2 percent to reach $12.8 billion.

By : Jimmy Calapati -Malaya.com.ph

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

Overseas Employment Scams Awareness

Overseas Employment Scams

Source : www.poea.gov.ph

Job seekers, interested in overseas employment that promises high pay, good benefits, free traveled adventure, should be aware that there are unscrupulous operators who have devised elaborate and very convincing scams to bilk unwitting, and often desperate applicants.

Before getting swept away with promises of exotic job opportunities, make sure you have thoroughly investigated the matter and know the potential risks involved in obtaining overseas employment.

Typical Overseas Employment Scams

Unlike legitimate employment firms that have permanent addresses, many unscrupulous operators run their so-called job placement firms from out-of-state, and may provide only a post office or mail drop address. Although there are legitimate firms with post office or mail drop addresses, job applicants should be aware that this practice, when used by unscrupulous operators, makes it easier for the operators to avoid scrutiny by their clients.

In many instances, law enforcement officials investigating a suspicious firm have found a “fly-by-night” operation. The scam headquarters, with little more than a desk and a telephone, may be based in one state, but operate out of other states, making it more difficult for the officials to track the operation.

Typical overseas job scams, include:

  • Firms that charge advance fees. These operations usually advertise in newspapers and magazines. The ads most frequently offer construction jobs, one of the industries hardest hit by a weak economy. Consumers who call the number, provided in the ad, are generally told that there are immediate openings available for which they are perfectly suited. But to lock in the job, they are told, they must pay a placement fee in advance.These up-front charges can range from $50 to several thousand dollars. Firms that charge these advance fees often are so eager to get the money in their hands and avoid using the U.S. mail service that they may send a courier to pick up the deposit, or require that it be sent via overnight delivery, at the applicant’s expense.However, more often than not, these firms actually have little, or no, contacts with employers and can offer minimal assistance, despite their service charges.Job seekers should not be duped by a firm’s promise of a refund, if no job or lead materializes. Most of these firms that require payment in advance do not stay around long enough for dissatisfied customers to get their money back.
  • Firms that charge a fee once they provide a job lead. A disreputable firm may fabricate job leads, or bring in a third-party to impersonate a potential employer, in order to get an applicant’s fee.
  • “900” number operators. A “900” number connected with employment opportunities may charge a high flat fee, or per-minute rate. In some instances,”900″ number operators may fail to disclose the cost of each call or, if printed, display it in fine print. As a result, callers may not be aware of how much they are spending. Some unscrupulous operators may even increase their fees by creating delays while the caller is on the line.In one case, for example, a consumer answered an advertisement instructing job applicants to call an”800″ toll-free number for more information. The message on that number directed the caller to dial a”900″ number to find out about job openings. The”900″ number, however, merely directed the caller to send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to have a job application mailed out. The consumer complied; received only a one-page generic job application, and was billed $39 for the phone call.The FTC now requires, among other things, that operators of “900” numbers provide information on the cost of the call up front. When calling a “900” number, be sure you understand the charges before continuing with the call.
  • Job listing services. There are many firms that make no promises to place you in a job. They merely sell a list of job opportunities, providing little assurance about the accuracy of the information.For instance, the information may be sold via a newsletter that features photocopied help-wanted ads from newspapers around the world. Many of the ads may be months old, soliciting jobs that already have been filled. In addition, the ads may not have been verified to ensure that the jobs actually exist.Some ads may be from countries with strict quotas that discourage the hiring of foreign citizens. Other publications may promise access to information on job opportunities, but provide nothing more than a listing of employers in various regions.

How to Avoid Employment Scams

Many job seekers have lost money to disreputable advance-fee placement firms. If you decide to use an overseas job placement firm, the best way to avoid being scammed is to learn as much as you can about the operation:

  • Ask for references. Request both names of employers and employees the company has actually found jobs for. Scam artists will typically defend their refusal to provide the information, claiming it is a” trade secret.” Or, they frequently claim that if they told you where the openings are, you would circumvent their services. These schemers may also cite privacy concerns as the reason for refusing to provide the names of people they have placed.
  • Check out reliability. Contact the local Better Business Bureau, as well as the state’s consumer protection agency, to find out if any complaints have been filed against the firm.
  • Avoid firms that operate solely via telephone or mail. Any reputable placement firm will almost certainly need to meet you before it can market you effectively to an employer. Be suspicious of any operation that claims it can place you with an employer, without meeting and interviewing you.Be particularly wary of firms that operate outside of the state where they advertise. In many instances, unscrupulous operators purposefully seek to distance themselves from their clients in order to avoid closer scrutiny. If they are ultimately challenged, the distance complicates an investigation by law enforcement authorities.
  • Find out how long the employment company has been in business. Also, ask what is the firm’s present financial condition. Compare the company, and the services offered, with other similar firms before you pay a fee.
  • Get  all promises in writing. Before you pay for anything, request and obtain a written contract that describes the services the firm intends to provide. Determine whether the firm is simply going to forward your resume to a company that publicly advertised a listing, or if it will actually seek to place you with an employer. Make sure that any promise you receive in writing is the same as what was stated in the initial sales pitch.
  • Research any information the firm provides to you before you make a commitment. Make certain the job actually exists before you pay a firm to “hold” a slot for you, and definitely before you make plans to relocate.Some unfortunate job seekers have been instructed to meet at a particular place to fly to their new jobs, only to find no airline tickets, no job, and often, no more company.
  • Check with the embassy of the country where the job is supposed to be located. Make certain that, as a citizen of another country, you are eligible to work there.
  • Ask if you will be eligible for a refund, if the leads the firm provides you are unacceptable, or do not work out for any other reason. If the firm has a refund policy, ask for specific written details that spell out whether you can expect a full refund, and if there are any time limits for receiving your refund.Even if you are promised a refund in a written agreement, read the fine print. A disreputable firm may include “red tape” that protects its interests, not yours.For example, one common scam is to include a requirement that job seekers check in regularly with the firm, at their own expense. Clients who unwittingly fail to make the required contact may forfeit their opportunity for a refund. However, they are not told this until they ask for the refund.

If You Are Scammed

If you have been victimized by an employment scam, you can help prevent these types of incidents from recurring by reporting it to the proper law enforcement authorities. They may be able to put the unscrupulous operator out of business and, in extreme cases, fine them heavily or even put them in jail.

Tips To Remember

  • Be very skeptical of overseas employment opportunities that sound “too good to be true.”
  • Never send cash in the mail, and be extremely cautious with firms that require a money order. This could indicate that the firm is attempting to avoid a traceable record of its transactions.
  • Do not be fooled by official-sounding names. Many scam artists operate under names that sound like those of long-standing, reputable firms.
  • Avoid working with firms that require payment in advance.
  • Do not give your credit card or bank account number to telephone solicitors.
  • Read the contract very carefully. Have an attorney look over any documents you are asked to sign.
  • Beware of an agency that is unwilling to give you a written contract.
  • Do not hesitate to ask questions. You have a right to know what services to expect and the costs involved.
  • Do not make a hasty decision. Instead, take time to weigh all the pros and cons of the situation. Be wary of demands that “you must act now.”
  • Keep a copy of all agreements you sign, as well as copies of checks you forward to the company.

G84.12/95

Overseas Job Scams © 1995

Copyright 1995 by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

Sample email job scams

Top 10 Internet Scams

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

RP seafarers to undergo mandatory anti-piracy training Jan. 2010

 Beginning January next year, all Filipino seafarers would undergo training to prepare themselves against pirate abduction in the high seas, the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) announced Thursday.

The training, which is not expected to last more than a day, is aligned with the module of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners and will begin on Jan. 15, POEA chief Jennifer Manalili said.

According to Manalili, the module would be conducted outside the existing pre-departure orientation seminar so that it would be more “thorough and extensive.”

“And this would not have additional cost for the seafarers. It will be shouldered by the manning agency,” said Manalili.

The labor department said piracy in Somalia, notably the Gulf of Aden, has come to an alarming proportion in recent months.

There are 68 Filipino seafarers still being held by pirates in Somalia and Nigeria. All of them remain locked up in six vessels while waiting for the results of negotiations between shipowners and the abductors.

A third of the world’s seafarers are Filipinos, making them the most at risk to pirate abductions.

On Thursday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) met with manning agency leaders and seafarer union groups to discuss various issues confronting kidnap-prone Filipino seafarers, including psycho-social counseling for and support services for the abducted and their families as well as financial assistance.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said kidnapping has become an unfortunate reality for the 350,000 Filipino seafarers all over the world.

Roque admitted that despite the safety measures they have set in place, they cannot do anything to halt Somali pirates from kidnapping in the high seas. Since Somalia’s central government collapsed in 1991, Somali’s have been lured to banditry as a primary source of income.

“I was discussing with shipowners that the issue in the Gulf will reach unreasonable proportions that they have to change their route,” Roque said during a tripartite meeting with the Maritime industry in Manila.

Amid the threat of kidnappings in the high seas, Filipino seafarers remitted a record $2.502 billion from January to September this year.

Filipino seafarers’ remittances accounted for 20 percent of the aggregate remittances from all overseas Filipino workers in the nine-month period. – Joseph Holandes Ubalde/RSJ, GMANews.TV

 

RP seafarers to undergo mandatory anti-piracy training Jan. 2010
GMA news.tv – Quezon City,Metro Manila,Philippines

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

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