Dear FFBP

Dear FFBP (Filipinos For Better Philippines),

ffbp

Isang munting tula ng aking paghanga
sa lahat ng nangangasiwa sa katipunang FFBP.

Ako’y natutuwa,
Ang samahang ito’y nalikha,
Sapagkat aking napagalamang,
Kay dami pa palang nagmamahal sa ating bansa.

Sari-saring paksa’y,
Sinasaliksik tinatalakay,
Kanya-kanyang pananaw ipinaglalaban;
Ang nakakalungkot lamang kapag nagkasarapan,
Humahantong sa di inaasahang personalan.

Talas ng isipa’y nabibigyan ng buhay,
Mapa-wikang sarili o mapadayuhan,
Mayroong tonong maka-bayan,
May himig maka-banyaga; nangag-tutungayawang
ipangtanggol kanya-kanyang diwa.

Lahat sana ng ikagagaling,
para sa bayan nating ginigiliw,
Talas ng isipan ating ng pagsama-samahin,
Mag kaisa-isa na sa i-isang layunin,
Maging isang bansa sa isang diwa at gawa,
Sa ilalim ng isang bandila.

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Mabuhay po ang samahang FFBP!
litocabrera

Note: Please be informed that FFBP today is the United Filipinos Worldwide for Community Development – UFWCD. 

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Democracy and our Votes

I may consider that the best way to change the political system in our country is to first transform ourselves – the voters.  

We know that our country is no stranger to political turmoil; corruption in politics is so widespread that often the person elected to office is not the most qualified. The root of all-evil in dirty politics is - “Vote Buying” which is rampant during elections. Therefore, as a mature citizens of a democratic country, we need to educate our voters “how sacred our votes are”.

 

Vote buying takes place in the rural areas. Thus - it is extremely hard to cast a watchful eye over the democratic process. Not surprisingly, the country is governed by the same individuals, whose primary role is to buy votes. It is almost impossible for a qualified person/leader to enter politics under this particular scenario. Even a mere candidate for councilor in a small barangay needs half a million pesos to spend in election time.

But I still believed that every Filipinos deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives and not be subject to the will of another. Perhaps we should adapt new ways of thinking. Therefore, we should not look back to the negative side of politics instead we look for an answer to correct the wrong side of politics.

The spirit of change can only be achieved if the people participate in an honest to goodness election.  It is for us to choose the future we are creating today.

We should educate ourselves/others and must take serious actions against the ineffective democracy and vote-buying that is taking place in our politics. We should fight for the introduction of new faces and the purging of old, corrupted politicians. In addition, we should form organizations which aim to control vote-buying, and sponsor programs to educate the impoverished half of the Philippine population. If reform is not taken soon, the country’s political system will spiral deep downward, with the economy and our country’s international status following closely behind.

It may not be too difficult to mobilize voters to come to vote but it is hard to prevent people to receive money or sell their votes. Vote buying is a big problem not only in our country but also to other poor neighboring countries in South East Asia. Voter education should be focused on educating voters in principle of how to select the good candidates. We must educate them that unwise votes could  ruin our country and democracy. Voter education is critical and can be done in many different ways. Our challenge is to educate people about issues, processes and candidates and to also encourage good candidates to put themselves forward to run for office. We all have to work to make elections meaningful. There will never be perfect voter education in any nation  but education is an on going and never ending process that begins in the schools through civics education and should continue throughout our voting lives.

For me, we don’t need charter change to move our beloved country forward, we only need laws against vote buying to begin to solve the problem. Then they need to be enforced.

What is the key information to convince people to make a better choice? We will all have different opinions about which is the “better choice“. Our goal is to give voters the opportunity to educate themselves about issues and candidates so that they can make their own informed choice. Just because voters are educated doesn’t mean they will also make the same choice that you or I might.

It cant be denied that others refused to participate. But we need to find out why they are “not interested”. Until we understand the reasons, it’s difficult to motivate people. And, there will always be people who simply will never participate, no matter what you do. Education is the key. Let us work together and help others understand why it is important to vote and how and why they are directly affected by who is elected to an office.

In democracy assumes that things will never be perfect. And it allows for a structure that helps people deal with those weaknesses to secure freedom.

Democracy is about more than just candidates and elections. It means being an active participant in the society surrounding us. Including listening to music and watching plays etc, etc. It means that we try to build a series of communities that function as they work together. A part of that will be politics but more of it will be working to stay informed about how issues relate to each other.

The important is there are a lot of avenues that we can do and many ways is the fulcrum of change. 

Furthermore, we should let our youths participate the process and motivate them to become leaders. Today, our youths are the next foundation towards a new beginning.  Lets educate them that voting is symbolic, It  symbolizes our voice in a larger conversation. And it is important for young people to be heard because they offer a fresh and honest perspective on issues. After all, the youths are our future leaders for a better Philippines.

Note: Above entry is my reply-contribution posted at FWPPi-FBP e-group (Filipinos Worldwide for Progressive Philippines, Inc. - Filipinos For Better Philippines) on topic relevant to our right to vote.

AKO

AKO?

2168631671_8490acec5d1980 ako ipinanganak. Tatlong taon bago pinatay si Ninoy Aquino at anim na taon bago ang EDSA uprising. Taon ding ito nang nagkaroon ng malaking krisis sa langis ang buong mundo. P24.00 ang palitan ng dolyar sa piso at 48 milyon na ang populasyon ng Pilipinas. Ito rin ang taong unang pumunta ng Middle East ang tatay ko para magtrabaho.

Isang karpintero ang Tatay. Isang skilled worker. Malaki ang pangangailangan ng bansang pupuntahan ni Tatay sa mga katulad niya. Sabi ng Nanay mahirap daw ang buhay noong mga panahong iyon. Inabot na raw ang bansa ng economic depression na galing sa Europa at Amerika. Kaya minabuti ng Tatay na mag-abroad. Anupa’t dalawa ang pinag-aaral niya at may bago na naman siyang bibig na pakakainin.

Parating pinapaalala sa amin ng Nanay na “nagtiis kaming magkahiwalay ng tatay ninyo para magkaroon tayo ng maginhawang buhay.” Palibhasa’y parehas galing sa hirap, kaya siguro ganoon na lamang ang pananaw nila. Uuwi kada dalawang taon, tapos aalis na ulit pagkalipas ng dalawang buwan. Ganyan ang pattern ng buhay ng tatay ko.

Pumutok ang giyera sa Middle East noong 1989. Doon ko unang narinig ang mga salitang Operation:Desert Storm at Third Anti-Christ. Nandoon din si Tatay. Isang beses lamang siya nakatawag sa loob ng tatlong taon niyang pagkaka-stranded sa bansang iyon. Mabuti naman daw ang lagay niya. May tirahan naman daw sila at husto sa lahat ng pangangailangan. Hindi naman daw sila gagalawin sa giyera sabi ng embahada ng Pilipinas dahil hindi naman daw sila kasali sa awayan ng dalawang bansa at ng pakialamerong Amerika. Iyon naman pala eh, bakit ka pa rin nandyan?! Na-imagine ko na lang tuloy ang Tatay na parang isa sa mga sibilyan na dumadaan habang nakikipagbarilan ako sa larong Operation:Wolf sa SM City. Nang mahawi ang mga usok ng giyera umuwi na ang Tatay. Wala pang isang taon ay nakita ko na naman ang aking sarili na nakasakay sa arkiladong dyip para ihatid ang Tatay sa Airport papuntang Middle East. Ikaw ba naman ang magkaroon ng pinag-aaral na nurse, isang seminarista at tatlo pa sa elementarya. Kailangang kumayod, kailangang kumita.

Kung tutuusin maraming na-miss ang Tatay sa buhay naming magkakapatid, lalo na sa akin. Wala siya nang una akong magtalumpati sa entablado. Wala din siya nang grumadweyt ako ng elementarya at hayskul. Wala siya nang una akong nakipagsuntukan sa kaklase ko nang inasar ako nito habang binibigay ko ang libreng plastic na singsing na galing sa cheese curls sa kaklase kong babae. Wala din siya para turuan akong magbasketbol tulad ng ginagawa ng mga kapitbahay ko sa kanilang anak. Wala rin siya para panoorin si Kuya na contestant sa Student Canteen at ako naman para sabitan niya ng medalya para sa mga math competition na sinalihan ko. Wala siya nang dumating ako sa punto ng aking buhay, na siya ring kinakatakutan ng lahat ng katulad kong nagbibinata–ang magpatuli. Wala rin siya para turuan akong maglanggas. Wala siya nang kauna-unahang lumabas ang pangalan ko sa dyaryong pang-estudyante bilang isang editor. Ipinagtabi ko siya ng mga kopya para maipagmalaki sa kanyang pagdating. Wala siya nang una akong tumikim ng alak dahil binasted ako ng dinidigahan kong babae. Wala rin siya nang sumubok akong manigarilyo at itapon ito pagkatapos ng dalawang hithit pa lang. Wala siya, wala siya parati.

Napansin ko na lamang na mas naiibuhos naming magkakapatid ang oras namin sa labas ng bahay at sa eskwelahan. Ang Ate ay kagawad ng Sangguniang Kabataan, ang Kuya naman ay matagal nang kinuha ng seminaryo, ang dalawa kong kapatid ay may mga sarili nang kina-career at ako naman ay natutuon sa aking pagsusulat.

Dumating ang isa sa pinakamasayang araw ng buhay ko, ang pagdating ng Tatay at sabihing ito na ang huli niyang uwi dahil hindi na siya babalik ulit sa abroad.

Makalipas ang ilang buwan, trinangkaso ang Tatay. Sabi ng doktor ay overfatigue lang daw at kailangan niyang magpahinga. Pagkaraan nang ilang buwan, na-diagnose na may tumubong tumor sa utak ng Tatay at malignant na ito. Minsan naitanong sa akin ng uncle kong doktor kung nauntog ba ang Tatay o nabagsakan ng mabigat na bagay sa ulo. Nahihiyang ngiti, kamot sa ulo at isang “hindi ko po alam” lang ang naisagot ko. Kung gaano kabilis na nadiskubre ang tumor niya sa utak ay ganun din kabilis na binawi sa amin ng Diyos ang Tatay.

Mirror

AKO

Habang pinagmamasdan ko ang Tatay habang mapayapa itong nakahimlay noong burol niya, nahihirapang tumulo ang luha ko. Kung tutuusin, hindi ko kilala ang taong ito. Siya ang tatay ko. Kalahati ng pagkatao ko ay galing sa kanya. Pero kung tatanungin mo ako kung anong gusto niyang timpla ng kape, kung allergic ba siya sa hipon na paborito ko, kung San Miguel o Purefoods ba ang team niya sa PBA–isang malaking EWAN lang ang maisasagot ko sa iyo.

Noong bata pa ako, nasa abroad ang Tatay. Kapag nandito naman siya para magbakasyon, mas malaking oras ang nagugol niya sa pag-aasikaso ng mga papeles niya para sa susunod niyang pag-alis. Nang tumigil na siya sa pagtatrabaho, ako naman ang abala sa mga reports, periodical examinations at mga research works. Nang nasa ospital na siya, kahit makipagkuwentuhan ay mahirap nang gawin dahil halos hindi na siya maintindihang magsalita dulot ng chemotherapy.

Matagal nang patay ang Tatay. Minsan nabalitaan kong dumating na ang seaman na tatay ng boss ko, pilit ko siyang pinauuwi nang maaga. Minsan ding buong kawilihan kong pinagmamasdan ang isang kaibigan ko na nagmamadali dahil baka masaraduhan na siya ng grocery. Kailangan niyang makabili ng ingredients ng spaghetti dahil ‘yun daw ang bilin ng tatay niyang na-stroke. Minsan rin nang makainuman ko ang matalik kong kaibigan habang binubuhos niya sa akin ang sama ng loob niya sa pagbabalik ng tatay niya na malupit sa kanila nang mahabang panahon at ipinagpalit sila sa ibang babae. Sa tingin ko lang, “Buti ka pa nga may Tatay pa.” Syempre hindi ko sinabi iyon sa kanya. Baka mamaya tanungin pa niya ako kung kanino ako kampi, kami pa ang mag-away. Minsan din sinamahan ko ang kababata ko nang dinalhan niya ng pansit ang tatay niya sa City Jail. Hindi naman sila nagtatanong kung bakit ako ganun. Wala naman silang alam kay Tatay.

Maraming pagkakataon na nanghihinayang ako dahil masyadong maaga ang paghihiwalay namin ng Tatay. Gusto kong sisihin ang Pilipinas dahil napakahirap ng buhay dito. Sa Amerika ba may tatay na nangingibang-bansa para makapagtrabaho lang? Naisip ko tuloy na sumama na lang sa mga nagpipiket na mga migrante dahil alam ko tulad ko rin sila. Kadalasan rin sinisisi ko si Saddam Hussein at ang Gulf War dahil kinuha nila ang tatlong taon sa buhay ng Tatay. Sayang ang tatlong taong iyon. Nakalaro ko man lang sana ang Tatay ng basketbol o di kaya’y naturuan niya akong mag-bike. (Beinte anyos na ko nang matuto mag-bike).

Isa sa mga klase ko sa writing ang nagpasulat sa amin ng kahit ano tungkol sa aming mga tatay, samahan pa ng larawan kung maaari. Bigla tuloy akong nalito. Hindi ko alam kung anong tungkol sa Tatay ang isusulat ko.

O di kaya’y dalhin ko ang picture ni Tatay habang kini-chemotherapy siya. Ikwento ko din kaya na naging mabilis ang lahat ng mga pangyayari. Na inoperahan siya sa loob ng walong oras at binutasan ang ulo niya. Na nakalabas pa siya ng ospital. Pagkatapos ng isang linggo, agad siyang namatay. Tragic naman ang approach ko nito.

Gayahin ko kaya ang kuwento sa telebisyon na tipong galit na galit sa mundo ang anak dahil hindi ito nabigyan ng sapat na atensyon dahil inuna ng kanilang tatay ang pinansyal nilang pangangailangan. Teka, hindi naman totoo yon eh! Napaka-unfair naman ‘nun kay Tatay.

Ikuwento ko na lang kaya ang isa sa mga magagandang alaala namin kay Tatay. Apat na taon ako noon. Malinaw na malinaw pa sa alaala ko ang pangyayari. Kadarating lamang ng Tatay pagkaraan ng dalawang taon. Nagkaroon ng simpleng party sa bahay. Kainuman niya ang mga kumpare niya nang tumayo siya at binuhat ako mula sa kuna ko habang pinaglalaruan ko ang bagong matchbox na pasalubong niya sa akin. Inutusan niya ako na ikuha siya ng beer sa refrigerator. Pagkakuha ko ng beer ay kinandong niya ako at buong pagmamalaki na ibinida sa mga kumpare niya na natanggap na raw ako sa lokal na Day Care Center dahil abot na ng kanang kamay ko ang aking kaliwang tenga kahit idaan pa sa ibabaw ng ulo ko at matatas na ako magsalita at madali raw akong matuto. Matagal din akong nanatili sa pagkakandong niya.

Mistula siyang bagong dating na hari na suot-suot ang kanyang korona. Ako ang kanyang korona.

Kapag naaalala ko ito, napapawi ang lahat ng panghihinayang ko sa mga taong kailangan niyang magtrabaho at mawala sa piling namin. Mga panahong kasama ng mga tatay nila ang mga anak nila. Ito na lang ang isusulat ko. Bago ang lahat, pupunasan ko muna ang mga luha ko at ang patulo ko ng sipon. Baka mapatakan pa ang keyboard ng computer at ang hawak kong picture. Picture ng isang paslit na may hawak na bote ng beer habang kandong ng tatay na kitang-kita ang kasiyahan sa mukha.

AKO – ang kanyang Korona

OAV Registration Extended

Press Release No. NNP-45/2006

 

PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS ABSENTEE VOTING

DEADLINE EXTENDED

 

20 Aug 2006 - The Philippine Embassy announced today that the Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has extended the deadline for the registration of Overseas Absentee Voters (OAV) to 30 September 2006.

 

In addition to the regular registration of absentee voters, filing of application for transfer of overseas registration record from one country to another or from this Post (Riyadh or Jeddah) to a Philippine city or municipality other than the original residence has also been extended to 30 September 2006.

 

For transfer of record from Post back to the original residence in a Philippine city or municipality, the deadline has been extended until 31 October 2006.

 

For the month of September, the Embassy will conduct OAV registration at the Mabini Hall during working hours from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., from Saturday to Wednesday.

 

The Embassy shall continue to conduct mobile and field OAV registration in the Kingdom.  Hospitals and large companies that employ a significant number of Filipinos may request for an Embassy team to provide the registration service at the worksite in any day of the week.  Requests and other inquiries regarding Absentee Voter’s Registration may be directed to Attache Delza Deriada at telephone number (01) 4880835 extension 2002 or at direct line (01)4823559.

 

see related news link: Comelec Extends OAV Registration Deadline

Job Opening 06-03

 

To fellow OFWs  particularly in  Saudi Arabia who are scouting for a job and happens to visit this blog, kindly click link JOB OPENINGS and try to find jobs suited for you.

 

Note:

Transferable Iqama (Work permit) - is a form of document/papers which you can be able to transfer to another employer with in the Kingdom.(Applicable in Saudi Arabia Only).


Notice also, that some of the names of the companies are not listed/shown, in order to keep/hide their confidential identity.

 

The job posted for Saudi Arabia are mostly male candidates unless it specified or mentioned (Female or Male/Female).

 

Thanks to Mr. Ernesto Borres

Comelec Extends OAV Registration Deadline

Comelec Extends OAV Registration Deadline

Arab News, 21 august 2006 -RIYADH- Community groups in the Kingdom are being urged to mobilize their members who have yet to register as absentee voters to sign up now as the Philippine Embassy announced an extension of the deadline.

According to the Embassy, the Philippine Commission on Elections (Comelec) has moved the last day of registration to Sept. 30 to accommodate those who have not yet registered.

The embassy said its Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) registration desk will be open from 8 am to 4 pm. from Saturdays to Wednesdays until Sept. 30.

At the same time, it will be sending teams to conduct registration campaigns outside Riyadh.

Those in hospitals and large companies that employ a significant number of Filipinos are also encouraged to request for an embassy team to provide the registration service at their worksite in any day of the week.

Requests and other inquiries regarding absentee Voter’s Registration may be directed to Attache Delza Deriada at telephone number (01) 488-0835 extension 2002 or at direct line (01) 482-3559.

A community leader also appealed to the various groups in the Kingdom to mobilize their members and take advantage of the extended registration deadline.

“Let’s participate in our electoral exercises and show that the Philippines also have mature voters,” said Bong Amora OAV advocate who is the secretary-general of OFW-Congress-Riyadh and head of KAKAMPI-KSA.

Amora said he is still believes overseas absentee voters could provide “a cleansing vote,” a vote that could “put back the shattered pieces of Philippine politics.”

The OFW Congress-Riyadh and Kakampi-Ksa had initiated OAV registration at the Islamic Center in the Industrial Area, Riyadh Medical Complex, Elite International School in coordination with Black Python Martial Arts Association, and at the Al Sharq Savola Industrial Area-Riyadh, in coordination with Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS).

A registration drive initiated by the community groups in Al Khobar and Jubail several months ago had also resulted in hundreds signing up.

PhilEmb Cautions OFWs

Press Release No. NNP-44/2006

PHILIPPINE EMBASSY CAUTIONS NATIONALS ON ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES

20 Aug 2006 - The Philippine Embassy cautioned Filipino nationals in the Kingdom to adhere and respect the laws, regulations and traditions of their host government.

 

The Embassy announced this in the light of a growing number of Filipinos who are reportedly involved in various illegal activities.

 

The Embassy is monitoring no less than 337 Filipinos who have been incarcerated for various offenses in the Central and Eastern Regions alone.  Of this number, 197 are female, 165 of whom are charged with immorality.  Of the male cases, 69 involved alcohol/liquor related offenses followed by 30 cases of various drug related offenses.

 

The Embassy recalled that some of the common violations are for activities which are legal in the Philippines but are not allowed under Saudi laws, regulations and traditions.  The common pitfalls involve alcohol and morality.  However, the rest of the offenses violate even Philippine laws such as prostitution, prohibited drugs and, in some cases, gambling.

 

Restrictions on public interaction of men and women particularly unmarried couples who socialize publicly such as eating in restaurants and shopping together are clearly in violation of local moral laws and therefore run the risk of being jailed, be meted lashes and in extreme cases, deported.

 

The Embassy added that the consumption, production and purchase of alcohol is illegal in the Kingdom and Filipinos who chose to ignore this again run the risk of serving jail time.

 

The Embassy emphasized that if Filipino citizens only adhered to local laws, fully aware of these when they came to Saudi Arabia, then the number of Filipinos in jail would clearly be reduced by more than half, with the Embassy giving its full attention and assistance to major cases particularly of abuse and maltreatment.

 

In all his speaking engagements before the Filipino community, Charge d’Affaires, a. i. Nestor N. Padalhin, would constantly remind Filipino citizens of the pitfalls and consequences of failing to follow local laws and regulations in the hope of stemming the growing number of Filipinos incarcerated for various illegal activities.

 

In recent days, some 46 female Filipinos have been repatriated straight from the Women’s Jail after serving their jail time, meted lashes as provided by law as punishment and deported.

 

Recently, eight (8) male inmates who are light offenders benefited from a Royal pardon which facilitated their early deportation.  Of this number, seven were involved in alcohol related offenses.

2nd OFW Summit

Recent informal discussions by some member organizations of the OFW Congress-Riyadh, Executive Council, arrived into a conclusion that a 2nd OFW Summit should be held in Saudi Arabia as soon as possible.

 

The next OFW Summit should tackle issues like a) Preparation of unforeseen war and 2) Creation of an OFW Data Base in the Kingdom that could facilitate immediate assistance to the OFWs should the need arises.

 

It is about time that the Filipino Community in the Kingdom should get together again and discuss some relevant issues and come up a solid recommendation that would give impact for the betterment of OFWs in the Kingdom.

 

The last OFW Summit was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in Year 2000 initiated by OFW Congress-Riyadh under then the leadership of OFWC-RUH President Mr. Alex Sanchez. The late former Senator Raul Roco was the Guest of Honor and the mentioned event was properly coordinated with the Philippine Embassy, POLO & OWWA.

 

The said summit was indeed a success though a number of recommendations up to now have not yet been given proper attention from the Government.

 

The recent Middle East Crisis between Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Israel should set as an example that the Filipino Community in the Kingdom must move and come up with a unified consensus on how to act in time of adversities like war.

 

OFW Summit is also the best venue to deal with topics concerning from 1) Pre-Employment, 2) Employment/Site and to 3) Post Employment/Reintegration of our OFWs.

 

Setting aside personal and political interest may perhaps give way towards Unity. 

The continuing saga towards OFW Empowerment

American Military personnel work at the site in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia where a warehouse was hit by an Iraqi Scud missile

American Military personnel work at the site in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia where a warehouse was hit by an Iraqi Scud missile during the 1st Gulf War.

Year 1993 when I arrived in Jeddah, KSA and got involved in community service and at that time I can smell the remnant of the 1st Gulf War. During the first 4 years as an OFW I met some renowned Filcom Leaders based in Jeddah, to name a few like, Gerry Cuares, Ernie Geslani, Gil Manese, Gerry Sano, Rudy Dianalan, Omar Chip Tiozon, Jimmy Leonida, Manny Arroyo, Rashid Fabricante, Mel Dazo, Fred Castolome, Ernie Hernandez, Emman Bernaldez, Francis Oca and many more.

I was just an observer whenever a meeting was called; at that time I was a proud member of Boholano Community in Jeddah (BC-J), the Bohol Leyte OFW Cooperative (BLOC), and the Overseas Filipino Workers Cooperative Council (OFWCC).

Working in Manila with a good job, I never dreamed to work abroad but I was updated with OFW events, it maybe because my girlfriend and now my wife was a former OFW too.

I remember that before the downfall of the then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos a group in Hong Kong known as UNIFIL led by Ms. Laguindan (not sure of the family name) and a number of domestic workers fought with the former President to suspend the required remittance imposed on all OFW globally. OFW Filipino community organizations in Saudi Arabia supported the moved and were then very vocal on this issue.

In spite of the absence of internet/emails at that time but with the help of media, Pres. Marcos lifted the order when he realized that the issue was gaining momentum among OFWs worldwide. That was indeed a triumph for the OFWs.

In 1988, Filipino Migrants struggled hard for the exemption in paying income taxes. I also remember that OFWs globally were pushing then Pres. Cory Aquino for absentee voting and representation in Congress and other government agencies involved in OFW concerns.

In 1992 when the 1st Gulf War erupted, the Middle East OFWs was for the first time the center of attention of the government.

Give OFW's a hand on its own affair - OFW Empowerment

Give OFW's a hand on its own affair - OFW Empowerment

I was already in Jeddah when Year 1994-1996 Filcom-Jeddah led by KASAPI Congress worked hard to convince Pres. Fidel Ramos and some members of the Cabinet that presidential appointee for party list Mohd. Omar Fajardo and Mr. Sid Aligada will represent the OFWs in Congress. We succeeded but due to some opposing parties who were not pleased with the said appointments the Filipino Community in KSA broke up into pieces thus the unity and even up to now becomes too elusive to achieve.

In 1995 if I’m not mistaken Gaycanco Commission was formed to look further the Contemplacion case, Mr. Sid Aligada whom I called “Kuya Sid” in our Christian community was appointed as one of the Commissioners. It was also then the Terminal Fee was abolish and more OWWA centers were introduced.

Year 2002 up to present – Absentee Voting Law was enacted into law, and the creation of OUMWA (Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs) at Department of Foreign Affairs.

All of it is more about the welfare and concerns of OFWs but I can’t feel the overall impact of OFWs into the mainstream of our political system. We even don’t have representation (OFW sector) in Congress.

I will keep on saying again and again, WE have to admit the fact that OFWs are so fragmented, and the result is – we still don’t have an authority and say on how our government agencies that oversees OFWs issues and concerns has to be ran.

We fought for the passage of the Overseas Absentee Voting Law, we won and now it is in placed and yet others refused to be part of the process.

The saga en route to OFW empowerment continues….

10 Little Things OFWs could do to help

Taken From: The Desk of Atty. at Work

(Atty. Alexander L. Lacson is the author of the Book “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country.” He wrote the article “10 Little Things OFWs, Balikbayans & Pinoy Expats Could Do To Help Develop Our Philippines” as a reply to the request of PinoyExpats Magazine (May 2006), an online magazine based in Europe. A number of websites and e-groups have since picked up and passed around that article, but according to Atty. Lacson, the version being passed around is the cut-and-pasted one. Here’s the clearer version, reproduced in full with his permission.)

a)     Spend your vacation, your dollars, in our Philippines

It is understandable for our OFWs, balikbayans and Pinoy expats to spend vacation in other countries. The world is truly beautiful and majestic. But please do spend some of your vacation, and some of your dollars, in our Philippines. Every dollar that you bring into our country will help build our Philippines. It will help our tourism industry. It will mean more sales and more jobs for our local industries. It will mean an increase in our country’s international dollar reserves. It will help stabilize the Peso. And ultimately, it will help stabilize our economy.

b)     Teach your relatives back home to be good citizens & good Filipinos

Whether or not you are sending money to your relatives in the Philippines, you are one of their heroes. They look up to you as models. They listen to every word you say, to whatever you tell them. Please teach them to become good Filipinos, to become good citizens. They can start with my book - 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country. Please ask them to help me spread the message of the book. In particular, please ask them to “Buy local. Buy Pilipino.” In an article in one of the recent issues of TIME Magazine, it was said that the most crucial factor for economic progress is not foreign investments, but economic nationalism, i.e., when people learn to support their own country’s products. 

c)All OFWs, Balikbayans and Pinoy Expats should do more during elections in RP

In the next and all future elections, the OFWs and Balikbayans and Pinoy expats should do more by helping your relatives back home in choosing the right leaders – the national ones especially - for our country. Your relatives at home will surely listen to you. This means that as OFWs and expats, you need to surf the internet and read the news so you’ll know the candidates who should be elected to office. There are organizations and websites which can help you on this.

If is true that there are at least 8 million OFWs all over the world now, and if it is also true that every Filipino has at least 4 family members or relatives, then the 8 million OFWs have at least 32 million relatives back home in the Philippines. This means that the OFWs and their families, by their own numbers, can already change and transform the political leadership in the Philippines, our government, and eventually our nation as a whole.

Click here for the rest ” 10 Little Things OFWs Could do to Help“. 

Gawad Kalinga, Isang Milyong Bayani

ANNOUNCEMENT


Gawad Kalinga, Isang Milyong Bayani

 

WHEN: Thursday, September 14, 2006 3:30 to 10:00 pm

WHERE: The Philippine Embassy Quadrangle

We want you to be counted among the

GK 1MB

Join us in Gawad Kalinga.. Kasali Kami D’yan!!!

 

GK 1MB - a volunteer program, is a show of Solidarity with our Poorest of the Poor. Join us in an evening of entertainment numbers on patriotic songs and cultural dances, in between inspiring messages on topics of Bayan (Country and Love of Country); Bayani (Hero and Heroism); and Bayanihan (Volunteerism).

 

What is GK 1MB? 

GK 1MB is a massive and urgent call to volunteer in GK sites and advocate the GK cause all over the world. It was initiated by the youth last September 17, 2005. 

 

GK 1MB campaign in 2006 will focus on harnessing the power of the people to address poverty. The Bayanihan Spirit (Spirit of Volunteerism) must live on in the Filipino lifestyle.

 

ANCOP GK believes no Filipino should be deprived of the opportunity to be a hero for his country. No Filipino child should be deprived of the privilege of being raised in a country he cannot be proud of. But this is not exclusive - we need to give everyone the chance to be a hero as well.

 

GK 777 - 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities in 7 years. To achieve this, it is essential to mainstream heroism and love of country - making it a way of life.

 

We OFWs in the Middle East look forward to coming home to their loved ones. We are just as passionate about the homeland. As Bagong Bayani, the OFWs welcome the opportunity to be part of nation building. GK is one such opportunity.

 

ANCOP/GK KSA

OAV Registration

ANNOUNCEMENT
 
To: Fellow OFWs in the Industrial Areas-Riyadh
Please be informed that our Philippine Embassy will conduct a mobile Registration for Absentee Voting (OAV) for the purpose of May 2007 National Election.

Date and Time: 25 August 2006 (Friday), 9:00 AM-3:00 PM.

Venue: Al Sharq-Savola Compound (Recreation Room), Second Industrial Area, Riyadh

Requirement: Philippine Passport (Original or photocopy) 

 

 

Kakampi-KSA, Industrial Area, Riyadh

Kakampi-KSA, Industrial Area, Riyadh

The registration Team will be headed by Vice Consul Gerardo Abiog and composed of members, Messrs. Acas Bayabao, Jr., Generoso Deriada, Jr., Paciano Dejacto, Jr., Agustin Joel Magpantay and Noel Nieva.

We also announce that representative from Philippine National Bank-Telemoney will be there with us in time of the registration, to serve our fellow OFWs in opening a savings bank account with the said banking institution without any initial deposit and likewise an ATM Card will be issued.

Global Filipino-PNB

Global Filipino-PNB

The mentioned OAV registration is in coordination with the Kalipunang Kaakabay ng Manggagawang Pilipino (KAKAMPI-KSA) and Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS), with the support of the OFW Congress-Riyadh and Al Sharq-Savola Filipino Employees headed by Mr. Ronnie Lawas.

Thank you and see you there!

MAKILAHOK SA HALALAN 2007, MAGPAREHISTRO!

“White” in memory of AJG

Angel and Me in 2030

A young girl was looking through the family album and asked her mother

, “Who’s this fellow on the beach with you with all the muscles and curly hair?” the mother replied “That’s your father.”

The little girl look at her mother and said Then who’s the old, thin,  white haired man who lives with us now?”

The story above made me remember of a friend,  the late Dr. Alfred Ganapin’s poem. Here it goes..

White

 ALFREDGANAPIN A genetic ghost waiting for its time
to come out of the dark,
A weed sprouting, one by one,
at first, unmenacingly;
But, then, like an army or
that great white shark,
Circling my crown of youth, invading
every space, not sparingly.

I look in front of the mirror and
cry out in dismay,
“Ah! Youth, are you leaving me?”
White hairs coming out not like
the ‘darling buds of May*’
I have to ask someone to pick them
or dye them, even for a fee!

But I guess they’ll win someday
and I have to give them the crown,
For even now, they have already
invaded my nostrils!
I can’t help but look at myself
with a foolish frown,
That day may come, white hair and all,
Well? Am I thrilled!

by Alfredo Ganapin, August 21, 1996

** 

ALFRED GANAPIN passed away peacefully on 20th December 2004 at King Faisal Hospital, Riyadh, KSA.

He was admitted to the hospital almost a month before and courageously fought his illness day by day until his last hours.

Alfred was 43 years of age and had worked in veterinary medicine for the Ministry of Agriculture in Saudi Arabia where he lived since 1991.

Despite his busy schedule, Alfred was a passionate, committed advocate for the rights and welfare of migrant Filipinos. He campaigned for the enactment of the Philippine Absentee Voting Law and was a co-convenor of the International Coalition on Overseas Filipinos Voting Rights (ICOFVR). Dr. Alfred Ganapin was a pioneer member of the Progressive Times Group, and an original moderator of eLagda-Riyadh and proponent of e-Ladga’s Erap Resign Movement, and a Namfrel volunteer during the absentee voting exercise in May 2004.

One of Ganapin’s pet advocacies was making the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) more responsive to the rights and needs of overseas Filipino workers.

Small World

 

I can’t find the right words to say when I read my daughters’ message in my Cbox for the reason that I am not sure if I can go home in time of Christmas. Not certain, because the company policy states that an employee can avail his vacation entitlement or can go home for good (exit) based on the day he arrived from his last vacation.

 

My contract ends November of this year but since the nature of my contract is “unspecified“, I don’t have any other choice but to follow the rules.  Art. 72 of Saudi Labor Law states, “A labor contract concluded for a specified period shall terminate upon the expiry of its term. If both parties continue to enforce the contract thereafter, it shall be considered renewed for an unspecified period.”

 

Back to my daughters’ message, in order not to let her down I found the words “I will let you know” meaning no promises and no exact date. Kids nowadays are very sensitive, if you promised anything they would not forget it and you must fulfill that promise too.

 

Because her message is about exams at school, then I should have to say something about it. When I am about to mention her school I forgot the meaning of “E” from the acronym STEC. Then I started to search and got the meaning of STEC (Science and Technology Education Center). Huh!

 

But I found something more interesting in my search - a blog “Raising Boys” from a mother whose kids are currently studying in the same school my daughter was and possibly Dylan and Angel are classmates too.

 

I thought to myself - what a small world. Not only that! Her husband is one of my favorite links “Leon Kilat“. 

 

To:  Max and Marlen Limpag, nice meeting you-both in the world of Blogosphere. I’m sure we will be seeing each other in person very soon.

OWWA Total Portfolio

The OWWA Total Portfolio (Funds/Collections), including dollar deposits and holdings, and investments in two government banks - the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines - now amount to P7.73 billion. The combined LandBank and DBP deposits under an investment management agreement total P6.58 billion.

Below “Table” was based on the documents dated July 25, 2006 obtained by the PCIJ (Phil. Center for Investigative Journalism).

 

For more, please click link “The Truth about the OWWA Funds” by Alecks Pabico.

 

NATURE OF FUND

AMOUNT

Capital Fund (as of May 31, 2006)

36,067,487.37

OWWA-MWLGF (LBP) May 31, 2006

43,961,409.68

OWWA-MWLGF (DBP) May 31, 2006

60,288,053.83

OWWA-SWF (as of May 31, 2006)

73,234,639.10

OWWA-IBPF (as of May 31, 2006)

14,913,103.69

OWWA-NLSF Trust Fund (as of May 31, 2006)

61,133,577.42

Tbills-CMWSP, Tbonds, LBP Bonds & Debenture Bonds
(as of May 31, 2006)

371,491,073.99

TOTAL

661,089,345.08

US DOLLAR DEPOSITS

Savings Deposit

$682,501.70

OWWA-MEDICARE

Capital Fund (as of May 31,2006)

1,395,235.05

Tbonds, LBP Bonds and Debenture Bonds
(as of May 31, 2006)

365,599,693.09

TOTAL

366,994,928.14

US DOLLAR HOLDINGS

Savings Deposit

$652,266.07

Time Deposit

471,314.18

ROP Bonds

640,000.00

TOTAL

$1,763,580.25

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT

LBP (as of May 31, 2006) inclusive of interest earnings

3,259,553,389.00

DBP (as of May 31, 2006) inclusive of interest earnings

3,321,451,097.90

TOTAL

6,581,004,486.90

 

TOTAL PhP

7,609,088,760.12

TOTAL $

2,446,081.95

TOTAL PORTFOLIO

7,733,838,939.57

Style of Blogging

What I like with David Lloritos  “Without Borders” style of blogging is because of his objectivity in writing. Why? Because he embraces his views of being fair and accurate to the facts as well as the intent to inform openly rather than manipulating others mind while reading.

 

 

Globalizing Pinoy Manners” has been added in my list of good entries from a blogger like David.

 

I just want to add a quote to his latest entry, “To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered”.

By ofwempowerment Posted in Bloggers

Do we really have the Right?

I read an interesting letter posted at INQ7.net “Letter to the Editor” this morning and I admire her views that relates to my previous entries.

I am much concern about our Filipina Domestic Helpers and (my) our fight for a total ban of the deployment of our filipina household helps in countries where they are susceptible to maltreatment and abuse will continue to stand.

In the said letter KASIMBAYAN Sec. Gen. Norma Dollaga said, “It will not be a surprise if one day the tears of these suffering OFWs turn into a fire of resistance”.

Thanks Norma for reminding us. Our tears are already on fire and we’ve been fighting for the welfare of OFWs for all these years but as long as OFW leadership themselves are fragmented, our dreams and vision for the general welfare of OFWs can never be attained.

OAV registration is just one of the many example, we can count the days ahead; the turn out of new registrants is very low. How on earth do we have the right to criticize our Government? When we ourselves are not part of the process.

Given that we are not properly represented in any OFW Government formulating boards, as well as in Congress, our helpless OFWs will continue to suffer.

 

Dead Shadow in the Devil Smoke

What you have just seen below (photo) is an aftermath caused by non-sense war.  If you wish to see more photos just click link “Dead Shadow in the Devil  Smoke“. It is a compilation of photos found at Lebanese Embassy (web site) based in Washington DC. You can also view a movie “Lebanon on Fire“.

 

(Caution for Sensitive Viewers)

 

By ofwempowerment Posted in Others

GMA’s Super Maids

untitled

"GMA's Super Maids"

Our Government from the beginning is aware of the dangers our Filipina maids will be facing in foreign countries.

The report that I read from the International Confederation of Free Trade Union Asian and Pacific Regional Organization Consultation (ICFTU-APRO) on Protecting the Rights of Migrant Workers held three years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia concluded that:

“Migrants are denied their right to organize and to do the collective bargaining. No wonder, their plight is largely miserable. Further, in the absence of adequate enforcement mechanism, they remain vulnerable. It is not only the inequality of treatment meted out to them; increasingly the 3D jobs – dirty, difficult and dangerous – are associated with them. The high cost involved in migrating largely makes the migrant workers subservient, docile and vulnerable; this fully exploited by the employers. The plight of the “undocumented” workers is worst. Quite often they are detained and jailed, even and canned”.

Worst especially in Middle Eastern countries, where the employers hold their passports are subjected to violence and even sexual assaults. The fear of losing a Job is sufficient in many cases to keep them “silent”.

***

There are several attempts from many of our good lawmakers by filing a bill seeking to ban the deployment of Filipina domestics in countries where maltreatment has proven to be prevalent. But to no avail, even the name of the proposed bills did not reach in the Hall of Congress for its first reading.

Why? Our lawmakers argued that this might perhaps be an avenue for the deployment of many undocumented OFWs facilitated by crooked recruitment agencies themselves. If so, then why not phase out “domestic workers” in the list of “job orders” handled by recruitment agencies and let POEA be the sole recruitment institution that controls the deployment of GMAs so-called “Super Maids”?

Likewise, Martial Arts training should be included in one of the requirements needed for the issuance of our Super Maids “Certificate of Competency”.

Thank You! Atty. At Work

Everytime I am online and have much time to browse my links, I never missed to open one of my favorite links  “Atty. At Work“, a blog that features politics and law by Atty. Fred Pamaos.

In his latest entry “Browsing Through“, he mentioned that ofwempowerment is one of the many “noteworthy blog” to visit.

Thank you Sir! Though I am not one of those in the top pinoy bloggers list, a word of encouragement coming from someone like you is enough that deserve to have a celebration.

By the way, it took me less than 20 seconds to find out why  “Basang Panaginip” is no. 1 at Pinoy Top Blogs.

By ofwempowerment Posted in Others

Waiver for OFWs in Lebanon

Some of our Domestic Helpers based in Beirut refused to go home. According to them, Beirut is not affected by war and no work is waiting for their return.

Darna in real Life

Darna in real Life

On the other hand, citing recent online news that 2 OFWs jumped from a building somewhere in Beirut “in their desire to join ongoing (repatriation) operations”.

Conflicting scenarios, perhaps there are only two reasons, one with a good employer and the latter decide to jump not to escape from the ongoing war but to get rid of maltreatment and abused by her employer.

VP Noli De Castro, the newly appointed head of a task force on the Lebanon crisis is preparing for the forced evacuation of all OFWs in Lebanon. Forced evacuation means, mandatory and no one is exempted. However, kabayan said  “those who refuse to leave, as many of them now do, may be asked to sign a waiver”.

No Escape No Surrender "Bahala na kung Matamaan"

No Escape No Surrender "Bahala na kung Matamaan"

Supposedly (huwag naman sana) the war escalates to the northern part of Lebanon, and then Beirut is not exempted anymore from the Israelis flying bombs. Does the waiver justify that our Government is not to be blamed if some of these OFWs go back home in boxes? Huh! Hindi namin kayo patutulugin, promise..

My friend CMA Executive Director Ellene Sana during the Senate hearing is exactly right, “the government policy of voluntary repatriation is not acceptable“.

Regarding master list of 30,000 OFWs in Lebanon, I doubt if they have the complete list. We have been advocating this issue a long time ago pertains to the implementation of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing, RA 8042, XVIII, Shared and Government Information System for Migration.

Hoping and praying that concrete implementation of this important proviso of the Magna Carta for Filipino Migrant Workers will be properly implemented soon. This will give much help in locating almost a million OFWs in Saudi Arabia; if ever a war erupts in this region. (knock2 to the wood, wag naman sana).

TOBAW Awardees 2006

A Director of International Labor Affairs Service, Department of Labor and Employment that has been involved in programs and policies that help workers, particularly overseas Filipino workers, was chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Boholanos Around the World (Tobaw) awardees of 2006. She is in the person of  Merliza Makinano.

 

The awarding ceremonies Saturday, 29 of July 2006 at the Sandugo grand ballroom of the Bohol Tropic Resorts was sponsored by Tigum Bol-anon Tibuok Kalibutan and First Consolidated Bank, in cooperation with the Province of Bohol, Diocese of  Tagbilaran, Bohol Chronicle and Radio Station Dyrd, and Bohol Chamber of Cmmerce and Industry.

 

Makinano grew up in Anda and in spite of the lack of resources of her family, she studied and finished her political science degree from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. From there, she obtained masters in international relations from the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and a diploma in Oceans Law and Policy from the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy. Prior to her present position, she worked as senior researcher and analyst in the Office of Strategic and Special Studies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and became consultant on strategic matters in the defense department. When she moved to the labor department in 2001, she became its youngest director.

 

Other awardees are: Efren Chatto has dug up a niche in the field of agriculture. Melecia Uy Du is respected in business. Dr. Alma Bella Madrazo founds a base in engineering. Prudencia Cruz archives a record in library science. Cesar Montano makes a stellar name in the performing arts. Atty. Isidro Real Jr., distinguishes himself in public service. Rear Admiral Rogelio Calunsag sails the rough seas of military service. Dr. Antonio Daquipa excels in medicine while and Dr. Rico Cruz braves ways in the wonderful world of science.

 

In behalf of the Boholanos and Andahanons in Saudi Arabia, A Warm Congratulations! to Dir. Merliza Makinano.

By ofwempowerment Posted in Others

OWWA Fund Row

In the recent Senate investigation re: OWWA Fund Row, Sen. Drilon is right that by virtue of the Migrant Workers Act, the OWWA had the “administration, control, and supervision of the repatriation fund”. The said Section 15 of the Republic Act 8042, III. Services, it says:

Former OWWA Administrator and now DOLE Secretary Marianito Roque and DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos

Former OWWA Administrator and now DOLE Secretary Marianito Roque and DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos

**The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), in coordination with appropriate international agencies, shall undertake repatriation of workers in cases of war, epidemic, disasters or calamities, natural or man-made, and other similar events without prejudice to reimbursement by the responsible principal or agency. However, in cases where the principal or recruitment agency can not be identified, all costs attendant to repatriation shall be borne by OWWA.

For this purpose, there is hereby created and established an emergency repatriation fund under the administration, control and supervision of the OWWA, initially to consist of One Hundred Million Pesos (P100,000,000.00), which shall be taken from the existing fund controlled and administered by the OWWA. Thereafter, such fund shall be provided for in the General Appropriation Act from year to year: Provided, that the amount appropriated shall in no case be less than One Hundred million pesos (P100,000,000.00), inclusive of outstanding balances. **

In the Omnibus Rules and Regulations implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, XV-Repatriation of Filipino Migrant Workers, SEC. 59  (Emergency Repatriation Fund), pertinent provision are as follows:

** When repatriation becomes immediate and necessary, the OWWA shall advance the needed costs from the Emergency Repatriation Fund without prejudice to reimbursement by the deploying agency and/or principal, or the worker in appropriate cases.**

**In cases where the cost of repatriation shall exceed One hundred million pesos (P100,000,000.00), the OWWA shall make representation with the office of the President for immediate funding in excess of the amount.**

Good Luck! to OWWA Administrator Marianito Roque, Labor Secretary Arturo Brion, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos and Ambassador Bicharra.

My Blog Stats

To: All My Visitors

Thank you so much for visiting my blog.

As of today 31 July 2006, the following is the statistics taken from my Bravenet Counter.

Viewing Counter: OFWEMPOWER

Page Name: www.funchain.com/~ofwempowerment 

From 25 July to 31 July

Date Returning First-Time  Unique  Page Views
  Visitors Visitors Visitors  
7/31/2006 3 19 22 43
7/30/2006 1 36 37 67
7/29/2006 2 19 21 46
7/28/2006 2 11 13 21
7/27/2006 1 21 22 54
7/26/2006 2 18 20 36
7/25/2006 4 12 16 35

Page View – A page view is tracked everytime there is a hit to the page.

Unique Visitor – A unique visitor is a visitor that has not visited your website in the past 24 hours.

First-time Visitor – A first-time visitor is a visitor that has never visited your website.

Returning Visitor – A visitor that has previously visited your website.

Cumulative Statistics since

Total Page Views 2,851

Total Uniques    1,425

Uniques / Page Views  50%

Counter Start Date April 24, 2006

By ofwempowerment Posted in Bloggers