Transnational Philanthropy 2

wowowee

wowowee

Watching Philippine game shows on TV is one of the alternative means of easing homesickness away from home. Being an OFW, I am hypocrite if I will not say that I am a fan of  “Wowowee” game show aired at night in KSA hosted by Willie Revillame.  I watched the show not exactly for the game, but for Willie’s corny jokes that made me smile. No offend to Willie, he is a good funny host not to mention that “Wowowee” in general helps many of our poor constituents dreaming of an instant hope.  

What actually fascinates me is the presence of TFC subscribers and foreigners everyday who contributed much for the success of the widely watch noontime TV game show at home.  And I considered that the game show is use as an instrument of God’s kindness to those really in needs. Many will disagree with me; however, if the game of chance is truly meant for the poor then it is God’s given grace.  

UFWCD Global Officers at Manila Pen

UFWCD Global Officers at Manila Pen

Indeed, God touches the heart of every TFC subscribers to share a little of their blessing to others. One time I saw a group of Filams named Filipino American Movement for Empowerment (FILAMME) shared a monetary contribution for one of Willie’s project intended for the poor people in the provinces. Others give instant cash in dollars to contestants whom they feel worthy to receive such monetary help.

UFWCD and good donations to typhoon victims in Caramoan town particularly Baranggay Bical, Gata, Haponan, and Gibgos

UFWCD donated goods to typhoon victims in Caramoan town particularly Baranggay Bical, Gata, Haponan, and Gibgos

Sharing God’s blessings to others whatever small things it maybe is a fulfillment; and heavens rewards is happiness and contentment in life. Like my previous entry Transnational Philanthropy, there are many OFWs, Filipino Migrant Workers, individuals or groups around the globe who give back something to their place of origin or lend a hand to our less fortunate kababayans.

Last year’s typhoon that shattered many barangays in Albay left many homeless; and our displaced kababayans has found a new kindhearted friends from the ranks of the Overseas Filipino Community. The group “United Filipinos Worldwide for Community Development” formerly known as “Filipinos Worldwide for Better Philippines” whose members are Migrant Filipinos/OFWs coming from South Korea, Canada, Germany, Saudi Arabia and other parts of the globe and at home, personally visited Caramoan town particularly Baranggay Bical, Gata, Haponan, and Gibgos and handed out goods and other items for our less fortunate brothers and sisters in the said areas.

UFWCD handed over cash donations to the Sisters and Administrators of the Tala Leprosarium in Cavite

UFWCD handed over cash donations for our less fortunate brothers and sisters at Tala Leprosarium in Cavite

Prior to their visit to Albay, the group which is now in the process of incorporating their existence with SEC as a non-profit organization, handed over cash donations to the Sisters and Administrators of the Tala Leprosarium in Cavite.    

More power! To the Global Officers and members of “UNITED FILIPINOS WORLDWIDE for COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT” and to all Overseas Filipinos.  -BongA

To quote “The essence of giving would not sound as important unless you believed in something more important than us“.

About these ads

Internet Fraud

Many people nowadays used the power of Information Technology to deceive others. Emails or chain electronic letters are commonly used. Some are using bogus names about a million  dollar  account asking the recipient of the email to help her/him to withdraw the non- existent account that would definitely put your own finances  in trouble.

Presently, there are new method of luring others by way of using an e-group for charitable purposes. Once the pledges are pouring in and the donor convert the pledges  into cash, the person or the organization disappear without a trace. 

cafe-press1Sorry to tell you this, I have a bad attitude about electronic chain letters or individuals  asking money for charity. They are virus on the Internet community. Most often, they’re outright hoaxes. So be sure to think before hitting the forward button that might bring trouble to the list of names in your contacts. 

Many instances of fraud occur over the Internet. Remember these important tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of an Internet scam:

 

1) Be cautious about unsolicited emails. By opening unsolicited emails, you may be opening yourself up to potential fraud. Computer hackers send viruses over the Internet that can collect the personal information on your computer to be used later for fraudulent purposes. The best approach is to simply delete the email.

2) Beware of “dangerous downloads.” In downloading programs to see pictures, hear music, play games, etc., you could download a virus that wipes out your computer files or connects your modem to a foreign telephone number, resulting in expensive phone charges. Only download programs from web sites you know and trust. Read all user agreements carefully.

3) Pay the safest way. Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or the offer was misrepresented.

4) Know who you’re dealing with. If the seller or charity is unfamiliar, check with your state or local consumer protection agency.

5)Look for information about how complaints are handled. Look on the web site for information about programs the company or organization participates in that require it to meet standards for reliability and help to handle disputes.

6)Understand the offer. A legitimate seller will give you all the details about the products or services, the total price, the delivery time, the refund and cancellation policies, and the terms of any warranty.

7) Beware of imposters. Someone might send you an e-mail or someone create an e-group pretending to be connected with a business or charity, or create a web site that looks just like that of a well-known company or charitable organization. If you’re not sure that you’re dealing with the real thing, find another way to contact the legitimate business or charity and ask.

8) Guard your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card, Social Security number, or bank account number unless you initiated contact.

By ofwempowerment Posted in Others

Sacrificial Lamb

Sacrificial Lamb

Sacrificial Lamb

In the Overseas Filipino community, many dubbed him as a “sacrificial lamb” for the 8 million Filipinos overseas when he decided to file his candidacy in the Philippine senatorial race. I am referring to Engr. Theodore Bradford Macabulos Aquino, “Ka Ted” to his Filipino colleagues in San Francisco. He is a Civil Engineer and incumbent President of UP Alumni America.

Ted Aquino

Ted Aquino

Giving the chance to run under the existing Dual Citizenship Law, Ka Ted said, “He wanted to test the principles of the Dual Citizenship Law”.

However, others commented that his chances of winning is extremely slim considering the fact that Philippine Politics is predominantly occupied by the “trapos” and “the rich”. The lack of political machinery in the grassroots level for a “political babe” like Ka Ted could eventually contribute for his electoral defeat.

Even the so-called “jologs” prefer to vote those they considered “a candidate for the masses” and the “bakya crowd” favor media and showbiz personalities.  Not to mention that Ka Ted is faceless at home, he could also be declared a nuisance candidate on the basis of not having the capacity to campaign nationwide.

Though some quarters said if we would not do it today, WHEN? Our 8 million Overseas Filipinos need to be represented in our Government. A servant among the overseas Filipinos that may craft up policies and laws responsive to the needs of our Overseas Filipino Workers.

Former U.P. Professor Ceasar Torres now based in U.S., in his reply to my inquiry posted at PPP e-group asking “if Ka Ted truly represents the Global Filipinos”, he said, “Ted Aquino represents “all” of us, not just Mr. Victor Barrios and Lito Gutierrez of “Global Filipinos” (a non political group based in U.S.). He added that “When Ted talks about Global Filipinos, that means all of us, in the Middle East, not just in America, including the estimated 200,000 TNT or undocumented aliens“. 

My question is – Does the estimated 500,000 OAV registrants and their dependents at home, the “jologs” and the “bakya crowd” are aware that a “lamb” belong to 8 Million Overseas Filipinos that helps Philippine economy afloat is here willing to serve the country and its people?

If we believe that there is a need of a “sacrificial lamb” within our midst to achieve our long awaited dream for political empowerment – then the answer lies within us. Otherwise we may end up the same fate and we cannot afford anymore failures this time. If we loss in this battle therefore, it is about time that an overseas Filipino political party should emerge, stand and act in the coming years. Hoping that when time comes it would be a triumph for all of us.  – BongA

“From the mouth of a political babe”
Lito Gutierrez
Inverted Pyramid
Jan. 22, 2007

RIO VISTA, Calif. Philippine senatorial candidate Theodore Bradford “Kuya Ted” Macabulos Aquino instantly realized the gaffe the moment it left his mouth.

During a TV interview in his living room, Cristy Morales of The Filipino Channel must have asked him what he thought of the Philippine political situation when he blurted out, “You know, Philippine politics is like organized crime.”

Then he went on to explain, though anybody listening would have perfectly understood what he was talking about.

Later, after Cristy had left, he furrowed his eyebrows and muttered, “That was a mistake, wasn’t it? Calling Philippine politics organized crime.”

Kuya Ted lives in neat, three-bedroom house in a plush gated retirement community here nearly a two-hour drive east of San Francisco. But he is not retired. He is a civil engineering consultant who telecommutes.

He was able to acquire a house here because at 58 he is a senior.

From his living room the view is an immaculately manicured golf course and a sculptured water cascade at the center of which was a stunning sculpture silhouetted by the setting sun.

A two-minute walk away is an ultra-modern country club that includes a covered and heated Olympic-size swimming pool.

Maybe Ted Aquino, the president of the U.P. Alumni Association, needs to see a psychiatrist, one is tempted to suggest.

Who with a sound mind would decide to set aside the comforts and security of home to wade into the toxic swamp that is Philippine politics?

Actually when he first broached the thought of filing his candidacy, his objective was not really to campaign for, much less, win a Senate seat.

As part of the Gobal Filipinos Coalition, a nonpartisan San Francisco-based group advocating equal rights for all Filipinos, he said he wanted to test the principles of the Dual Citizenship Law, whose provisions about dual citizens’ ability to run for elective office in the Philippines is rather murky.

The group’s position is unequivocal: dual citizens have the same rights and privileges as all Filipino citizens.

Ted said the most he expected was a challenge to his candidacy in Supreme Court, for which he is now putting together a team of lawyers to argue his case.

Then something happened after word came out that he had filed his candidacy.

Wishes of congratulations and pledges of support came pouring in, largely through phone calls and emails. Suddenly it seemed he had become a viable candidate.
Is he?

The simple answer is no. Not yet, anyway.

According to him, he learned that he needs about 400 million pesos (about $8 million) to run for a Senate seat, much of it to buy votes and/or protect them.

For somebody who has to worry about who’s going to open his mail and attend to his bills while he is campaigning, the amount looks pretty formidable.

He also neither has the eloquence of a Joker Arroyo nor a film star for spouse as senators Francis Pangilinan or Ralph Recto have.

And already he is under attack no less than by members of his clan.

According to him, Tessie Aquino Oreta, Ninoy’s younger sister, who is making another bid for the Senate, has asked him to withdraw. Some have also questioned whether he is a real Aquino. (Yes, he is and he’s got a book to prove it.)

And he is also being branded another opportunist, trying to capitalize on Ninoy’s legacy. (To which his response, particularly to the other Aquinos, has been to run simply as “Kuya Ted.”)

But what he has, he says, is Ninoy’s dream which, being one of the founders of the Ninoy Aquino Movement, he helped craft while the martyr was in exile in the U.S.

It is a dream that, many of us feel, has been squandered by politicians, among them Ninoy’s kin, who invoked his name but later upon winning only worked to perpetuate the system Ninoy fought.

(Tessie Aquino Oreta dancing on the Senate floor and playing mahjong with Blue Label-sipping Erap Estrada and current prison inmate Atong Ang are vivid recollections.)

He also brings with him a message of hope from Filipinos across the world who feel it’s about time they give back to their motherland. It is a message shorn of pretense and rhetoric, but pregnant with meaning and substance.

And he is putting what little money he has where his mouth is.

Like everybody else, myself included, Filipinas Magazine publisher Greg Macabenta has something to bitch about in government, particularly the Philippine government. One day, he related, someone challenged him: instead of whining, why don’t you run instead?

The usually quick-witted Greg, who could get crusty with dimwits, was stumped.

The way I see it is thus, Kuya Ted is running in place of all of us whiners. And at this point, the most we can do is lend whatever support we can so people can at least hear what he has to say.

No, he is not your garden variety traditional politician.

He is one of us, the only difference being he has the courage of his convictions.

Take Note (Running as Independent)

Magandang Gabi Bayan

Magandang Gabi Bayan

Running as independent risks almost certain defeat in the history of independent  candidates for lack of a grassroots organization. Even the venerable Lorenzo Tanada, with his tiny Citizens’ Party, had to be a guest candidate of a major political party to be reelected twice as senator. – Jose “Pepe” Abueva

What the candidate needs to do is to found and lead a new political party, drawing on the talents and enthusiasm of the Overseas Filipino community.  Only in this way the sacrifices can be shared and the front broadened. -joopthedutchman@yahoo.com

Even when my senatorial candidacy was being trumpeted in 2003, some of my friends in the homeland said that I should have done my homework and did some projects to show the voters proof of what my campaign platform talked about. –  Roberto “Bobby” Reyes

To Bobby Reyes: We are not forgetting that you were going to run for the Senate if our favorite Senator, Nene Pimentel, ran for the Presidency. Well, it did not happen. And now here is Ted Aquino who has done what you were thinking of doing. – Prof. Cesar Torres ( U.P. Professor now in U.S.)

While we would like to participate in governance, the Partido Pangdaigdigang Pilipino (PPP) has not yet taken off the ground. We were not actually eyeing it for the coming elections but rather beyond 2007. We would like to have it as a work in progress until it is ripe to stand and act. –  Jun S. Aguilar (The Filipino Migrant Workers Group) 

Senate Seat for OF

Sen. Pimentel with FilCom in USA

Sen. Pimentel with FilCom in USA

I heard that Sen. Aquilino Pimentel (the champion for the cause of Overseas Filipinos) currently visible in gatherings and meetings of Migrant Filipinos and OFW leaders based in Manila. Though it is not clear that he is going to tap a possible senatorial candidate that would represent the 8 million overseas Filipinos but I can sense that he is actively involve for it to happen. 

Huh! I just can’t forget him holding the microphone while GMA takes her oath of office during EDSA 2.

Anyway, I remember in Year 2003 Sen. Nene Pimentel supported a certain Roberto  Reyes an Overseas Filipino based in U.S. to run in Philippine Senatorial race. 

Now, an Overseas Filipino also based in U.S. by the name of Ted Aquino is vying for a seat in the Senate. As of this writing I haven’t heard anything from Sen. Pimentel yet. – BongA

FDH $ 400.00 minimum wage

I watched the news the other day where hundreds of our Filipina Domestic Helpers protesting the Government required minimum monthly wage of USD 400.00.

While other countries like Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, etc., complains of very low salary aside from maltreatment and abuse.

One thing pops out in my brain cell, most likely the said protest was organized by recruitment agencies opposed to the said policy.

Maid for Sale

Maid for Sale

Ito namang ating mga kababayan sigaw pa ng sigaw sa harap ng DOLE ang lakas pa! Pag dating sa Saudi or other parts of Middle Eastern countries pag may masamang nangyari ayaw ng sumigaw, tatalon na lang mas madali ang repatriation. Kung sisigaw man, galit sa ating gobyerno dahil walang ginawa. Hay naku! Ano ba talaga? Mag isip isip naman kayo! para rin naman sa kabutihan ninyo ito.

Recruitment agencies said that the new wage policy could cause a sharp drop in the deployment of Filipino domestic helpers. So Whatttttt!!!??? Dahil mabawasan kayo ng income. Pag may problema ang FDH ang tagal ninyong mag response. Kayo kaya ang nandito sa lugar namin na halos araw araw nakaka-received ng text at tawag ng mga minaltrato at ni-r…e na mga FDH natin.

I agree with Sec. Arturo Brion that “our maids deserve better treatment not only in terms of decent salary but also in terms of greater respect from their employers. Many have lost their honor and dignity by accepting low wages and succumbing to employers’ abuse and exploitation.”

Kaya lang siguradohin ng Gobyerno na ang pinapadala ninyong FDH ay talagang may alam, baka naman makuha rin sa lagay ang mga sertipikong hinahawakan nila at pagdating dito walang rin palang alam sa trabaho. Hindi malayong mag-ala “Darna” ang ating mga FDH para mapadali ang lipad pauwi sa atin.

PPP (Party for Personal Political ambition)

Glad you're Here

Glad you're Here

A friend and an active Filipino community leader in the Kingdom (name withheld) called me last night and reminded me of the consequences that I might be getting into in the world of  Philippine politics. He is referring to our e-group named Partido Pangdaigdigang Pilipino, PPP for short. He added that like any other e-group some individuals might be using it in their personal political interest (PPP- Party for Personal Political ambition).

He maybe be right or wrong, everyone has the right of opinion. But from the start it never occurred to me that PPP will be utilized in one way or the other for political interest of  few aspiring politicians. 

Being one of the prime mover in the creation of this e-group, it was formed primarily as a forum or a venue to interact other Filipino communities worldwide whose objective is to discuss and possibly unite Global Filipinos for political empowerment.

PPP is not yet a political party of Overseas Filipinos, it was created as the starting point or  the first step towards OFW political empowerment.  As what I’ve said never regret joining this group. 

However, PPP is aiming that it will be a political party in the  future for overseas Filipinos represented by various Filipino groups  worldwide.

By ofwempowerment Posted in Others

The Career Path

Career Path

Career Path

1) “VISION”: PROJECT your destiny while STILL young. Identify the state where you are happy, which kind of work that suit your taste and who you will be in the near and distant future. Know your destination. “A person without a vision is like a ship without a rudder”. It just depends which direction the wind blows.

2) “MISSION”: CHART YOUR DESTINY WITH A ROAD MAP. Identify which road you are going to take in going there. Identify what are to be accomplished. What should be done to prepare yourself.

3) “STRATEGY”: STRATEGIZE TO ACTUALISE YOUR MISSION. Hone your skills and competencies while there is still time. According to Stephen Covey, “Sharpen your tools. Train yourself”.

book%20coverThe story of the disappointment that led to the “cuaderno” was after all not wasted. It was part of reality, a part of the never-ending learning. Each learning is a preparation to a higher level of responsibility.

4) “ALIGNMENT”: Drive yourself into correct direction desired. According to Jack Welsh, CEO of the great General Electric, “control your destiny or somebody else will”. Align yourself with the company’s mission & vision. You will then feel comfortable in your work.

5) “BE A SHINING JEWEL”: Broaden your capabilities so that you will be on top of the heap among jewels. You should have the TECHNOLOGY, keeping abreast of TRENDS & other competencies that others don’t have. Make yourself exceptional.

6) “DO IT”: Make it happen. Create opportunities. Don’t wait for something to happen. Make yourself a participant to the events. Don’t be a fence sitter.

The story of the “cuaderno  did not end up hanging. It had already produced five books.

7) “KAIZEN”: Continuous Improvement. Don’t sit on your laurels because if you rest, you rust. It means relentless adrenaline & energy. Remember, your best may not be good enough. There should always be an extra mile.

8) “TEAM PLAY”: Don’t think of yourself. That’s Interpersonal Relationship in American management. Interdependence in Japanese style of management. Make something to lift others. Make a clone of yourself. Make others as good as you are so that others could replace you. Remember, you can’t be promoted to higher position if nobody can replace you. Remember, Management is the art of making others do it for you.

9) “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS SUCCESS”: Never think that you are successful. Success is relative, intoxicating and momentary. You might be the president of a company but your family might be in shambles. Thus there should be a balance of career success and family success. Remember, man’s life is an open book until he dies.

10) “AIM SMALL BREAKTHROUGHS”: A winner never quits, a quitter never wins. You should learn to accept small breakthroughs as winnings because success is not all material. What’s important is that you are happy in what you are in. “Mababaw lang ang kaligayahan”-that’s better than a Big Success but laden with corruption.

11) “GOD’s GRACES”: Seek ye first the kingdom of God and everything shall be added on to you. Your greatest inspiration, mentor and ally is GOD. No matter how colossal your efforts are, they are nothing if there is no grace from heaven. Remember, for every great phenomenal fortune, there is always a crime in the closet.

Taken from CESEEPS 

By: Doods A. Amora ( Managing Director-CESEEPS International )

Note: See  related article by clicking “CUADERNO” .

Transnational Philanthropy

The number one trait a pure Filipino have is hospitality. Hospitality in a sense that there is KINDNESS in every heart of a Filipino.  

Many Overseas Filipino Migrants and OFWs give something back to the place where they were first molded as a responsible human being.  Some of them shared their blessings in their place of origin.  Filipino groups or individuals overseas are actively involved in humanitarian causes or development projects in their hometown.

According to expert that studied the effect of Filipino migration says that this kind of humanitarian gesture is called Transnational Philanthropy or Filipino Diaspora Philanthropy.  

Transnational Philanthropy operationally define as the process in which migrants or immigrants abroad, in forging and sustaining their social relations with their origin societies, allocate a certain portion of their remittances to fund development projects.- The Dynamics of Transnational Philanthropy by Jeremaiah Opiniano.

Economic Resource Center for Overseas Filipinos corroborated above that says “The giving or donation of funds, equipment, skills and technology, through various means and channels, by Filipino groups or individuals overseas to humanitarian causes or development projects in the Philippines has evolved into the all-encompassing term now known as Diaspora Philanthropy”.

Anda, Bohol

Anda, Bohol

Speaking of Philanthropy, AndaBohol.Org Scholarship Program initiated by group of Andahanons in Bohol who already migrated to other countries side by side with OFWs in that area build a community that would help sustain the needs of their less fortunate constituents in going to school for their better future.

Another town in Northern Mindanao, Migrant Filipinos of Nasipit Agusan Del Norte through their web site http://nasipit.atspace.org/  also shared the part of their  blessings  back home, especially in the barrios.

Nasipit, Agusan Del Norte

Nasipit, Agusan Del Norte

“Adopt a Schoool Kid Program”, was initiated by Nasipitnons residing in United States.  The concept of the program is to provide the school kids in the remote Barangays  especially the less fortunate and deserving kids with their school supplies and needs. A gesture that help motivates kids to attend school and obtain a good education and better prepare them to be a good citizen in our society.

Linking to the place where we once belong using the resources and power of information technology is a praiseworthy move of those kind hearted people. Even in the absence of physical aspects and without faces, the heart of a kind person truly speaks and Filipino Diaspora Philanthropy will continue to live on.

Special Thanks to all Andahanons around the globe and the energetic members of the AndaBohol.Org Scholarship Program Adhoc  Committee on ScholarshipRio Makinano, Leo Makinano Lumacang, Kim Lim-Adams and Margie Amora Mills.

 Also, Special Thanks to all Overseas Nasipitnon and to those especially behind the scene;   Minda B. Rosales, Belen Lindo Ablis and Alex Eroy. 

Conference on Media Reform

Veteran television journalist Bill Moyers opened the National Conference for Media Reform Friday with praise for SavetheInternet.com’s grassroots campaign to keep the Internet open and fair for all comers.

 

“You lit a fire under people to put Washington on Notice,” Moyers told a packed house of more than 3,000 activists:

 

Net Neutrality, which Moyers dubbed the “Equal Access Provision of the Internet,” became a broad public issue “that once again reminded the powers that be that people want the media to foster democracy not to quench it.”

 

Moyers highlighted our grassroots and online organizing efforts, saying that Washington hadn’t reckoned with our movement.

 

It’s Because You Took Action in ’06

 

“Free Press and SavetheInternet.com orchestrated 800 organizations, a million and a half petitions, countless local events, legions of home-made videos, smart collaboration with allies in industry and a top-shelf communications campaign,” he said. Read more

By ofwempowerment Posted in Bloggers

ASEAN “OFW Highlights”

* Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wants ASEAN to redefine its Global Role. Strengthen its   cooperation and unity;  broaden and intensify its  interaction (ASEAN member relations) so that Asean can play its crucial role in the global scenario.  He commented that if ASEAN member nation will not do this – the rest of Asia will grow at the expense of the South East Asian nations. 

 

* Migrant Workers in the Southeast Asian region will enjoy more benefits and protection from abuse and maltreatment with the signing of the Migrant Workers Pact (Cebu Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers). The agreement covers the families of ASEAN Overseas Workers. 

By ofwempowerment Posted in Others

Faulty Wiring?

This is not about OFWs but I just found it very interesting to read.

House Fire

House Fire

We are all powered by Electrical systems; I can’t even post entries in this blog without switching the power ON first of my computer. But in our everyday lives, like me, whose electrical system is not part of our job, it seems that we don’t bother knowing how important electrical power was.

The recent tragedy (fire) that engulfed the house of famous actress and environmentalists Chen Chen Gutierrez; was primarily suspected as a result of “faulty wiring”.

However, according to the author of “The Competency Development of the Electrical Engineer” said “There is no such thing as faulty electrical wiring; only abuse or misuse of electricity”.

It is not because the author of “FAULTY ELECTRICAL WIRINGS – A CLOSER LOOK” is my elder brother but I would recommend my readers to give a glance in this article. Guaranteed  it’s read-worthy.

Promises should not be made to be broken

I received two calls today and a few email messages from Filipino community in Riyadh about the presence of the new Philippine Ambassador in the Kingdom.  They inquire if I receive any invitation from the good Ambassador to have an audience with the community.

 

So far as of today we haven’t received any or maybe I am not one of those invited – if there is any.

 

Perhaps the good Ambassador Antonio Villamor is still in the process of getting acquainted with the job. As we all knew that he just arrived last December to assume his post.

 

Let us be patient, I knew he is a kind of person that keeps his promises. If you haven’t read it, excerpts of the things he is going to fulfill:

 

“I will take a more direct hand in attending to these OFWs,” he said, adding that such a practice will make sure the embassy staff will be working “because the boss is watching and so they themselves will feel good.” – Arab News (Oct. 23, 2006).

 

Speaking to The Saudi Gazette at that time, the new envoy said he would personally initiate programs that would protect the interest of OFWs and make regular visits to Filipino workers’ camps and worksites to hear problem. He said he would set up an active networking with OFWs in the Kingdom. – Saudi Gazzette (Dec. 25, 2006).

 

After all, Ambassador Villamor is not a politician; therefore “promises should not be made to be broken“.

Contract Official Version

I received an email this morning from my reader about his present employment problem. He signed a contract in the Philippines with a job position as a Secretary. But when he arrived in the Kingdom 8 months ago he was assigned as an office assistant where his work includes janitorial job. He went directly to Saudi Labor office upon advise of friends to file a complaint. However, the SLO refused to acknowledged the English contract he signed in the Philippines.

 

To enlighten my readers who wish to work in Saudi Arabia, please note that Saudi courts do not recognize contracts signed by recruiting agents or other parties. In cases of bilingual contracts, the Arabic copy is the official one. I advise fellow OFWs that before they sign a new contract upon arrival in the Kingdom, it is very important to obtain an independent English translation of the contract. Usually a contract is written in an A4 size of paper (letter head of the company) where there are 2 columns on it, one for the English and the other is in Arabic language. Be sure that what is written in the English is the same as specified in the Arabic. 

 

The official and binding version of the contract that you sign is the Arabic text. Many OFWs have signed contracts that in fact did not include all of the benefits they believed they were acquiring, worst if the job promised to the worker do not exist. This is a case of contract substitution where a worker is forced to accept alternative work that does not match their skills. It means that job description was substituted of what was originally specified in their initial employment contract signed in the Philippines.

 

Moreover, an OFW should seek advise first to our Philippine Overseas Labor Office for proper guidance.      

Evaluate Non-performing POLO officers

I am not quite happy of the DOLE plan to close 2 Philippine Overseas Labor Offices. A country where there are 500 to 1000 OFWs warrants Government services that includes overseeing the plight of our working Filipinos overseas.  Non-performance in terms of their response to the calls of the distressed OFWs  should not be considered as the whole function of POLO.

 

Though I agree that here in the Kingdom, there are Labor Offices whose personnel and Welfare Officers are not doing their job well.  DOLE should evaluate and assess individual non-performing POLO officers or Welfare Officers and be sent back home in earliest flight possible.

 

In Saudi Arabia, an additional case officers and interpreters are badly needed as well as transportation facilities which is very necessary in order to provide excellent services for our OFWs in distress.

 

In another developments, DOLE announced 815,000 high-end jobs to be available to OFWs. According to my friend Labor Undersecretary Arturo Sodusta, most of the expected jobs are in the telecommunications, medical and construction industries, which will require engineers, pipe fitters, welders, painters, electricians, and surveyors.

 

Usec Arturo Sodusta was once posted as Labor Attache in Saudi Arabia and currently holds the position as DOLE Undersecretary for Workers Welfare and Protection. Prior to his present appointment he was then the Labor Attache in the United States.

 

He was the only assigned Labor Attache in the Kingdom I knew where he performed his job through constant dialogues or by diplomatic means. In handling labor cases, he traveled hundred kilometers away from the city proper particularly in the industrial areas-Riyadh just to visit the management of the companies and convinced both parties to come up a better solution rather than putting the complainant OFWs job at risk.

 

He truly deserves the title Undersecretary for Welfare and Protection in the government service – More Power Sir!

Working for nothing

It is not a surprise that recent study titled “Pay, Inflation and Mobility in the Gulf” by GulfTalent.com showed that the highest rate of foreign non-savers in the Gulf region is in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), at 43 percent.

 

 

Of course we all knew that UAE is an open country compared to Saudi Arabia where there are limitations of expats movement. In UAE you can dine anywhere you want and paint the city red if you wish to. While in KSA, expats should abide to the strict laws of the Kingdom otherwise you will be jailed or be deported at once.  

 

However, KSA is not longer an expats haven compared in late 70’s and 80’s, a mere construction workers during those days could earned USD 1,000.00 up while today skilled workers are lucky enough if they are hired with a monthly salary of SR 1,200.00 (PHP 16,500). 

 

Further, the study says Kingdom continues to enjoy low inflation but most OFWs here observed that the cost of living in the Kingdom goes up. We even can’t spend anymore the halalas (0.50 Riyals or P 7.00) to buy candies in the store in contrast a decade ago where halalas can be spent in a long distance call using phone booth. Now, we can buy the lowest  “sawa” load, which cost SR 10.00 that is already a P140.00 in a 2 to 3 minutes call to the Philippines. 

 

Most OFWs belong to the rank and files like me felt that earning a dollar here is just like living in the urban cities in our country. The only difference is that in the Philippines we are with our families for better or for worst.

 

Well, the survey is right anyway, stating that 52 percent of the expatriates working in Saudi Arabia are seeking jobs in other Gulf States.

 

That is why most OFWs here are leaving and try our luck maybe in Korea or perhaps in Vietnam or be in our country with our family for good.

 

The best way expats have to do is to save or we ended like “working just for nothing“.  

By ofwempowerment Posted in OFW Life

Progressive Year for Overseas Filipinos

A Prosperous New Year 2007  to everyone!

 

We celebrated our New Year in a very solemn way. I watched the live new year telecast of the TFC TV Patrol when my roommates called me for us to start our little celebration. We are all in a mixed emotion when we saw the spaghetti, lumpiang shanghai, fried shrimps and chicken in the table. Happy because in our own little way we were able to gave spirit in welcoming the New Year. On the other hand we were sad because our family are not with us.

 

As usual I open the midnight dinner table with a thanksgiving prayer for all – the blessings our Lord God provided to us for the year 2006 and a wish to have a prosperous and progressive new days ahead of us. Despite from freezing nights in KSA these days we were able to put a smile in our lips with our eyes focus on the TV set when the fireworks begun with a thought how happy Filipinos are and our families at home.

 

Well.. every New Year brings new hope, love and prosperity to all mankind.

 

To Overseas Filipinos, the Year 2007 “the World According to Julie” is hoping for the best and a productive one.

 

Hoping too that in 2007, our Overseas Filipino Youths can contribute whatever they can share to help shape our country move forward towards progress. And by empowering themselves through political and economic means is very essential in nation building and it is about time to know who they really are.  

 

OFY who are born outside the Philippine soil are still Pinoys sa Salita, Diwa at Gawa. Though, if they don’t have S-D-G because they belong to second and third generation of Filipinos Overseas then perhaps they should search of their Filipino selves or apply at TOS on line.