A new political party is born


A new political party is born
FilExpat News

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2 May 2008 – The Overseas Filipino Workers community leaders from various Filipino organizations in Riyadh gathered at Al Mutlaq Hotel in the observance of International Worker’s Day, also known us Labor Day.

In many countries, May 1 is commemorated as economic and social achievements of workers. Being part of the labor force outside the Philippine soil, OFW community leaders celebrate the occasion.

Overseas Filipinos dubbed by the Philippine Government as “Bagong Bayani” or “New Hero” and “Unsung Heroes” because of its remittances uplifting economic downturn in the country. But most OFWs complain that nothing much has been done for the so called “New Heroes.”

Working away from home, the progress they seek is too elusive, comfort they long, yet comfort is a myth.

Many OFWs says “they leave the country honored, they come home betrayed.” An easy prey for illegal recruiters; the sad story and the untold stories of maltreatment and abuse in their country’s destination.

OFWs or Overseas Filipinos probably the biggest sector outside Philippine society yet neglected and unrepresented in Government policy making bodies, even in the Philippine Hall of Congress.

Thus in the same day in commemoration of the Labor Day, an OFW led Political Party is born. They named it “Partidong Pandaigdigang Pilipino” the worldwide OFW-led national political party for the Overseas Filipinos, Overseas Filipino Workers and the Filipino People.

PPP offers itself as the instrument of the people to sweep away abuses, injustice, graft and corruption, to build a new and nobler Philippine republic. Overseas Filipinos today are estimated eight to ten million in diaspora with more than 20 million dependents in the homeland.

A year ago, an e-group was created as a discussion forum for the purpose of uniting Filipino community leaders and OFW advocates worldwide. After tedious and usual negative setbacks normal to any organizations in its formative stage, the long time dream come true. Exhausting all possible efforts to unite Filipinos worldwide was a great success.

OFWs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the leading proponent of the party’s birth decided to draft the “Partidong Pandaigdigang Pilipino” Constitution and By-laws. Crafted by brilliant minds in the party chapter Committee on Rules and Resolutions headed by Joey Badong together with long time OFW advocates like Francis Oca, Alex Veloso Bello and the Party President Dr. Lito Astillero presented to the chapter members the party’s draft Consitution and By-Laws. After long intense deliberations the said charter and by-laws was approved. The party members agreed that the “working draft” will be presented in the coming Global Filipino Leaders meeting next week in Manila. If ratified by the founding members, it will be soon registered to COMELEC as the new national political party in the country, the first ever in the history of Philippine politics.

Ramon Ignacio, who support the idea in the formation of an OFW led political party in his proposed party platform outline said “The conscience of the people, in this time of grave national problems, has called into being a new party – the Partidong Pandaigdigang Pilipino, born of the Filipinos’ sense of nationalism, social and economic justice, quest for progress and demand for effective governance in the Motherland. We of the Partidong Pandaigdigang Pilipino dedicate ourselves to the fulfillment of the dreams and aspirations espoused by our heroes and forefathers to stand with the Filipino pride, and in today’s reality – wherever we are.”

“The PPP will be like a national political party, much like the Liberal Party and the Nacionalista Party where only one part of it will be devoted to elections. The rest will have other concerns like getting OF representation in related government agencies like the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration” said Francisco “Jun” Aguilar one of PPP prime movers.

Jun Aguilar now based at home is a former technical analyst in Saudi Arabia for 13 years and presently a successful “OFW entrepreneur”. He is actively running businesses in the country along with other Filipino expatriates who belong to the Filipino Migrant Workers Group or the FMW Group.

Aguilar added that “this party will open up more slots and positions to willing, capable and qualified PPP members who want to serve the sector. It will create a tremendous clout in any administration which could result in better consultation and cooperation to lead to the improvement of the sector and to good governance.” He further added that “the Partidong Pandaigdigang Pilipino or PPP will be a party for overseas Filipinos regardless of his or her status in his or her respective host country as well as those who have come home and the families of overseas Filipinos.”

In Jun Aguilar’s concept paper, it is stated that “the basic reason why PPP is born is that overseas Filipinos, despite their large number has never maximized its potential to address its numerous concerns. It has failed to garner a seat in Congress despite several tries by OFW Party Lists. Moreover, the sector has never been consulted on any State policies, regulations and major appointments that would greatly affect its concerns.”

Bong Amora, one of the movers clarified that “the PPP Constitution and By-Laws could not be perfected at this time but if ratified and approve by the Global Leaders in Manila, a General Membership Assembly will be called maybe this year or next year for amendments and election of the party’s National Executive Council.”

He added that “PPP’s participation this coming 2010 election once recognized by COMELEC, will start by forming its political machineries at Barangay or grassroots level and probably support a certain candidate identified as an OFW advocate or to those who are concerns in the plight of the Overseas Filipino Workers.”

Roger Bantiles, one of the founding members based in the National Capital Region also said “the Philippines has more than 42,000 barangays, I doubt if we can claim influence over even 1% of total, or 420 and yet, this is where the votes are first counted and protected. And the barangay people are the ones who will go all the way to the municipal and provincial Comelec offices to protect the votes. PPP, which is global or pandaigdigan, will have to go “barriotic” or “baranganic”, literally “thinking global, but acting local.”

The PPP Constitution and By-Laws dubbed as “The Working Draft” approved by the PPP-Riyadh Chapter during its intense deliberation, OFW Congress Riyadh President and Board Chairman of PPP Riyadh Board of Trustees, in the person of Mr. Alex Veleso Bello will present the “draft” to the PPP Global Leaders in Manila this coming May 8 to 11, 2008. The PPP Global leaders are among the participants coming from all over the world to attend the “Global Filipino Nation International Conference” at the University of Makati.

In the said GFN conference PPP Riyadh will also present in the Political Module the proposed OFW empowerment which is the creation of an OFW led political party as a means for a change in the shattered image of Philippine politics. Mr. Alex Veloso Bello stresses a point during the meeting that it is about time that Overseas Filipinos and dependents at home are represented and be actively involved in Philippine governance.

The goal of the GFN conference would bring all overseas Filipinos who share a common goal of effective governance in the Homeland, anchored on grassroots economic empowerment and resolution of issues facing migrant workers and their families, and with raised consciousness of a nation ready to march as one. The event is an assembly of overseas Filipinos leaders, members of their families, their friends onshore who share the same governance vision, collaborative global business partners and investors, grassroots entrepreneurs, new nationwide potential political leaders.

A job fair will also be held simultaneously at the University of Makati campus.

Article 3, Section 6 of PPPs Charter is as follows:

SECTION 6 – Advocate and/or legislate such programs for the welfare of Overseas Filipinos, like:

6.1. Advocate for the safety and well being of the OFs.
6.2. Promote civic, social and economic programs designed for the upliftment of OFs.
6.3. Advocate for the implementation of a social security systems designed to meet the needs and requirements of OFs.

6.4. Advocate for the national Policy and program for crisis intervention on the plight of OFs in distress in various parts of the world.

6.5. Advocate for the national policy and program for the re-integration of OFs into the mainstream of Philippine economy and society;

6.6. Legislate laws to safeguard OFWs from illegal and exploitative recruitment practices, and enact a law that will provide stiff punishment;

6.7. Legislate laws that will provide stiff punishment to proven corrupt officials in the POEA, OWWA, DOLE and other government agencies mandated to take care of the plight of the OFWs.

6.8. Advocate for upholding the Human Rights of OFs all over the world, and urge the Philippine Government to exert more efforts through diplomatic channels to provide relief to OFs who have fallen victim to human rights abuses.

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MORE THAN 10% OF PHILIPPINE POPULATION WORK OUTSIDE OF THEIR HOMELAND
By CESAR TORRES
April 13, 2007

This is probably a first in the history of mankind.

More than 10% of Philippine population of 89.5 million are in Diaspora. We are working in various capacities all over the world. We have remitted US$15 billion to the homeland in 2005, according to the London-based Economist, an amount which is equivalent to 15.2% of Philippine Domestic Product for that year. Two-thirds of our people rely on us. Obviously, under normal circumstances, we should be given a little importance.

The powerful people in the Philippines cannot just consign us to a position as a lucrative and dependable source of Philippine foreign exchange to help stabilize our economy.

As a matter of fairness and in the national interest, we have to be represented in the affairs of government. When there is massive and legitimate dissatisfaction with the quality of national leadership and system of governance, our people can no longer continue to mass by the millions on a major street in Metro Manila like what happened in 1986 and 2001, in EDSA I and EDSA II, to demand that presidents depart from Malacañang. Resorting to “direct democracy” through mass actions can no longer guarantee a peaceful change in power. The potential risks have become deadly.

Consequently, less dramatic and less potentially dangerous was the enactment of two legislations by the Philippine Congress affecting overseas Filipinos. In 2003 a law allowing “Dual Citizenship”, Republic Act 9225, was passed. It allowed natural-born Filipino citizens who may have lost their Philippine citizenship due to naturalization as citizens of a foreign country to re-acquire their Philippine citizenship. As of January 2007, the Bureau of Immigration had approved the application for dual citizenship of more than 24,000 former Filipinos.

In the same year, the Overseas Absentee Voting Law (OAVL) was also enacted. This law allows qualified Filipinos outside of the homeland to exercise their right of suffrage.

The latest figure from the Philippine Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Foreign Affairs indicate that some 504,000 Filipinos have registered as Overseas Absentee Voters.

It is noteworthy that based on the available data, in North and South America as of January 19, 2007, the Consulate General in San Francisco tops the list of the number of registered absentee voters at 4,800 out of a total of 13,083. For the same period, Los Angeles recorded 154 and Honolulu 20. Needless to say, the figures in these two cities are dismal, considering the great number of Filipinos in those places.

The San Francisco Consulate General also accounts for some 6,500 Dual Citizens out of the 24,000 or so all over the world. This is more than 27% of the total world wide. In fact, about 50 Filipino-Americans are sworn in as Filipino citizens every week.

Participation in Philippine governance by exercising the right of suffrage is one way of being involved more closely in the affairs of the homeland. The Overseas Absentee Voters and the Dual Citizens who have registered to vote can help in the selection of the more qualified and competent legislators. It is unfortunate, however, that the right of suffrage is confined to voting for President, Vice President, Senators, and Party List representatives. Overseas Absentee Voters would prefer to vote for their congressmen and governors because they have a direct impact on their hometowns and communities more than senators and Party List representatives.

Aside from participating in the election of their Senators, Party List Congressmen, Presidents and Vice Presidents, there is now an intensifying clamor among the 10 million Filipinos all over the world that they should have the right to be voted on as candidates for political offices without renouncing their other citizenship. It is argued that the right to vote implies the corresponding right to be voted on. If one is a dual citizen of, say, the United States and the Philippines, and US laws do not prohibit Philippine citizenship while retaining American citizenship, Global Filipino Nation advocates such as Dr. Jose V. Abueva, Victor Barrios, Lito Gutierrez, Carmen Colet, Evelio Flores, Aida Barrios, Morgan Benedicto, University of San Francisco Professor Jun Jun Villegas of the Global Filipinos Coalition, UP lawyers Johannes Ignacio and May Ann Teodoro, journalists such as Greg Makabenta and Perry Diaz in the United States, and other concerned civic Filipino leaders all over the world such as Bong Amora, Sultan Rudy Dianalan, Bong Karno, Gerry Cuares in the Middle East, and Jun Aguilar and Leo Santiago whose network extend to sailors and Filipino workers all over the world, passionately argue that dual citizens should have the right to be candidates for political office or to be appointed to public offices in the Philippines.

This advocacy is now being hotly contested in the Philippines. Theodore Makabulos Aquino or Kuya Ted, a nephew of the assassinated martyr Ninoy Aquino, who is both a Filipino and an American citizen has filed his certificate of candidacy as an independent candidate for Senator this May 14, 2007 election. A graduate of the University of the Philippines, president of the UP Alumni Association of America, a volunteer in the Transfer of Knowledge and Technology program to the Philippines of the United Nations Development Program, an engineering and environmental consultant in America, the Comelec has disqualified his candidacy because he has not renounced his American citizenship. A request for reconsideration has been submitted. As we go to press, a decision is now being awaited. If the decision is adverse, then off to the Philippine Supreme Court it will be. It is imperative that the highest court in the land should rule on this critical issue.

In these critical times when mankind is faced with the deadly challenges of terrorism, global warming, globalization, intensifying poverty, environmental degradation, revolutionary movements, and hunger in the Philippines, our leaders cannot continue to lean on traditional and hackneyed ideas of citizenship and political participation. In California, the eight largest economy in the world, Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger is not only a dual citizen. He is a Triple Citizen. He is American, Austrian, and European Union Citizen. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is a dual citizen. He is American and Mexican. The Philippines needs to take this “New Reality”, in the words of Mr. Robert Ceralvo, an outstanding Filipino and IT engineer, into consideration.

In addition to the foregoing types of representation, the Philippines can learn from the system in Italy. Italians who are outside of Italy, those in what are known as “Foreign Constituencies”, are represented in the Italian legislature. Six senators and twelve deputies represent these “Foreign Constituencies” in the Italian legislature.

After the election on May 14, it is more or less certain that the issue of Charter Change will be addressed again. We are not familiar with all the details of the draft Philippine Constitution that the House of Representatives wanted to impose on the Filipino people. Whatever it is, the 10 million Filipinos can no longer be regarded as just brutalized and maligned domestic helpers and exploited Filipinos. They have every right to participate in shaping the kind of society that their fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, relatives, and fellow Filipinos are hoping for – the dream of a progressive, peaceful, respectable, and just Philippine society. They are paying with their lives, with their misery, with their pain for this dream.

[Published in the April 2007 issue of The Filipino Insider, a monthly supplement of the San Francisco Chronicle. The author was a former faculty member of the University of the Philippines Department of Political Science. He can be reached at Cesar1185@aol.com.]


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New Political Party is Born By Joe Avancena Saudi Gazette

Filipino community leaders in Riyadh drafted the constitution and by-laws of a new political party earlier this month.

The party is envisioned to represent the over eight million overseas Filipino workers around the world in the Philippine congress and government.
Called the Partidong Pandaigdigang Pilipino (PPP-Worldwide Political party for the Overseas Filipinos), the draft was presented for ratification during the four-day Global Filipino Nation International Conference on May 8-11 held at the University of Makati, Metro Manila.

The conference was attended by an estimated 10,000 clusters of overseas Filipino leaders from all over the world.

Alex Veloso Bello, president of the OFW Congress and board chairman of the PPP Riyadh board of trustees, presented the working draft of the new political party during the conference.

Thirty five community leaders from Riyadh, Jeddah and Eastern Province attended the conference.

After the ratification of its constitutions and by-laws, PPP will be registered with the Philippine Commission on Election.

The PPP will be like the existing national political parties in the Philippines that participate in elections.

It will also focus its mandate for proper representation of OFWs in government agencies like the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

The PPP is expected to participate in the 2010 Philippine national election and will be fielding its candidates from local to the national level of political positions.

The PPP was born out of frustration of OFWs who had been long denied of representation in the Philippine congress and in the general body politics in the Philippines.

The over eight million OFWs and their estimated 20 million families and dependents are considered strong voting blocs.

The draft of the PPP constitution and by-laws were penned and approved by the following PPP-Riyadh Chapter members, namely, Dr. Carlito Astillero, Alex Veloso Bello, Francis Oca, Manuel Amora, Joey Badong, Francisco Naval, Bioux Manilum, Abdullah Ronnie Ulip, Abdulaziz Virgula, Dante Villaflores, Ed Estrada, Pete Vicuna, Macario Escober, Cayetano Aloboyog, Roberto Barreto, Madid Alonto, Faizal Sarque, Manuel Morden, Abdulgaafar Dimalotang, Cenon Sagadal, Jr., Romeo Sinamban, Robert Ramos, Ricardo Roda, Jun Nacion, Engr. Allan Macabangkit, Saleh Ampaso Bucay, Dante Pangcoga, Mohd. Elias Mua, Rene Esperanzate, and Michael Dimalotang.

The drafted constitution and by-laws of the PPP provided wide-ranging support programs for OFWs, such as their representation in legislative branch of the government, promotion of their civil, social and economic, and safety in their jobsites.

OFW still in contention for top OWWA post


OFW still in contention for top OWWA post
KIMBERLY JANE TAN, GMANews.TV
08/30/2008 | 03:04 PM

Philippines – A group of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Saudi Arabia have said their nominee for the top post of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is still in the running.

“Allow us to clarify that Dr. Carlito Astillero has not withdrawn his nomination,” Manuel Amora, secretary-general of the OFW Congress in Riyadh, said in an e-mail GMANews.TV.

Amora said Astillero’s letter to his campaigners and supporters, which was the basis of a news report that he has withdrawn from the race, was only meant to thank everyone for their support.

Astillero’s e-mail read: “Thank you for all the support. I cannot forget your efforts although everybody knows what would be the outcome. As I told you from the beginning we have a very slim chance of being appointed.”

Astillero wrote the letter to his campaigners as speculation spread that former Surigao del Sur congressman Prospero Pichay Jr, an ally of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was already appointed OWWA administrator.

The rumored appointment was caused by a faulty memorandum issued by Malacañang Palace addressing Pichay as OWWA administrator. The correspondence office of the President dismissed the matter as a “wrong address.”

Last week, the OWWA Search Committee headed by former Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas was reported to have excluded Pichay from its shortlist of seven names, after which the Palace announced that Pichay was being appointed chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

Reports said that Pichay really wanted the OWWA position but was forced to back down because of many objections to his appointment.

Meanwhile, Filipino workers in Riyadh are hopeful that the President will heed their calls of appointing somebody from the migrant workers’ circle to the controversial post.

“In the meantime, we the OFW community leaders in KSA and around the globe are determined to continue our fight that a true bloodied OFW will be given a hand in the affairs of OWWA,” said Amora.

It was not known if Astillero is among the seven names in the OWWA short list. – GMANews.TV


New execs as biggest OFW group in Saudi marks 5th year

A new set of officers has been elected to lead the biggest organization of overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia during the group’s 5th founding anniversary recently.

The election and induction of the board of trustees and officers of the 7,000-strong United OFW Association were held at the compound of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.

The election was conducted under the supervision of chairman Joey Badong. It was assisted by Ed Estrada as vice-chairman and commissioners Tess Javier and Berna Degamo.

The new trustees are Frank Naval (chairman); Francis Oca (vice-chairman); Soledad Bahaynon, board secretary; Alex Bello, Jun Nacion, Manuel “Bong” Amora, Doming de Palma, Ding Manalo, Ping Gabriel, Dennis Porlares, Herman Honrado, Mohammad Eli Mua, Dante Guina, Gob Dimalotang, and Habib Batua.

From the elected trustees, the following executive officers were appointed: Mua, national chairman; Nacion, national vice-chairman; Manalo, finance officer; Porlares, administrative officer; Amora, information officer; Dimalotang, public relations officer; De Palma, logistic officer; Honrado, business manager; Batua, auditor; and Badong, the only non-trustee, is campaign manager.

During his keynote speech, Consul Romulo Victor Israel, Jr. took note of the transformation of the socio-economic organization which was founded in Riyadh on July 10, 2003 not only in terms of numbers but more so in the quality of its members, leaders and programs.

Also present during the induction ceremonies was Labor Attaché Rustico SM dela Fuente, who graced the occasion by awarding the Certificates of Appreciation to the guests, outgoing officers, and members of the organizing committees.

Outgoing national chairman Engr. Frank Naval expressed his thanks and appreciation to all the members and officers for their full support and participation in the activities and programs of the organization during the last five years.

Likewise, he also thanked prominent community leaders who attended the celebrations like Virgilio “Boggs” Bolor, president of PGBI; Cesar Gervacio, president of Royal Guardians; Flor Coronado former president of MKB; Ritchie Civil, president of ALCA; Danny Bendoy, president of Dabao; Engr. Faizal Sharque, founding president of the Filipino Retirees Overseas Movement; Engr. Ronnie Ulip, founder and advisor of GBI; Vouchard Arzadon, founder of Guardians Brotherhood Inc. in Al Hasa, 400 kilometers east of Riyadh; and Mario Ben of Kapitiran sa Gitnang Silangan.

Strategic partnership

Mua, the national chairman-elect, said there are three tasks the group should aim for and these are: “strategic partnership with all groups and agencies concerned with the plight of OFWs; a stronger and productive partnership with the Philippine Embassy; and greater involvement in improving the economic and cultural relation between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.

“Without your true involvement, the affair could not have been historic – yes, “historic” because it showed how thousand of OFW can be “united” for a cause with joy,” Mua said.

The group’s adviser, Dr. Carlito Astillero, 1990 Most Outstanding Filipino in Saudi Arabia awardee and 1992′s Bagong Bayani awardee, congratulated the elected trustees and officers.

“We all pray that United OFW will continue to inspire and unite all Filipinos in diaspora,” Astillero said.

Meanwhile, the celebration of the group’s anniversary also featured intermission numbers in the form of songs and cultural presentations provided by student performing artists from Elite International School and Millennium International School, under the direction of Ritchie Civil of the Artists’ League for Culture and Arts (ALCA).

An overview of the “Search for Miss United OFW World 2009” was also presented. The search will be one of the United OFW’s main social events that are going to be held in Manila next year. It will be participated by the prettiest among lady OFWs worldwide.

United OFW emcee Engr. Elmer Aquino acknowledged the sponsors, donors, patrons and support groups, some of which are the Philippine Embassy, Philippine Overseas Labor Office, Nadec, Dajen Restaurant, The Filipino Channel, Arab News, Abante Middle East Edition, Snacks-pack, Batterjee & Bros. Co., General Philippine International School, Royal Guardians, PGBI-GBHFI, ALCA, MIS, EIS, Partido Pandaigdigang Pilipino, Mr. Sonny Bello, Engr. Faizal Sharque, Engr. Ronnie Ulip, Nilda Ballesteros and the Filipina nurses from King Abdullah Medical Complex.

Nowhere to Go…Where are They?

My blood pressure goes up to a level of 150/150, reading inquirer.net online breaking news about “Abused maids die each week in Lebanon“.

Darna "GMA's Super Maids"

Darna "GMA's Super Maids"

I speak to myself loudly asking; How many in KSA???? How many untold stories of rape, maltreatment and abused in Riyadh alone? And how many of them under the care of fellow OFWs who instead of giving them shelter and comfort; only to give them more agony and pain. Who to trust? Nowhere to go…

Why our Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh, our Philippine Embassy in particular can not provide refuge and even refused to admit our fellow OFWs in distress?

What happen to  Magna Carta for Migrant Workers  of 1995 provision under III: Services, Section 19 Establishment of a Migrant Workers and other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center? What’s the use of this Center if they can not provide shelter to distress OFWs? Ano ang trabaho ng mga kawani sa Center na ito?  Umuwi na lang kayo! Ang laki pa naman ng allowance ninyo dito! Dollar pa nga yata!  

The establishment and operations of the Center are joint undertaking of various Philippine government agencies overseeing the plight of our Filipino migrant workers. Now! Where are they?!!#$%

Air Ticket

Ofwempowerment blog reader sent me a notes through comment portion of our blog asking  clarification re: air ticket.

Air Ticket

Air Ticket

He said: I started my work here in KSA Nov. 29 2003 and I get already 2 vacation and this is my fifth year and I file my resignation. I didn’t sign any contract except for the first contract 2yrs that I already fulfilled last 2003 end of 2005 Nov. and I just extend until now and I plan to go to Nov. 29 2008 the exact finish of my eqama and exactly 1 yr me already here since vacation last December. I inform already our personnel  not renew my iqama. Then I call labor law of Al khobar then they told me that the company will pay my ticket for one way to Philippines. Just I need a big help to have a copy of that article that mention the company will shoulder of that ticket. Please can you email me as soon as possible.

Reply:

There are 2 types of contract a) Specified Contract and 2) Unspecified Contract.

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 (in the absence of new contract) it shall be considered renewed for an unspecified period. (Art. 75-76, NSLL).

If the contract is for an unspecified period, either party may cancel it for a valid reason, subject to giving the other party a (30) thirty day prior notice in respect of workman employed at a monthly rate. (Art. 75-76, NSLL).

With regards to your air ticket, please note that you signed a contract for 2 Years based on your letter above. I just want to make a correction, it seems that you arrived in the Kingdom Year 2001, considering that you spent 2 vacations for the past 5 Years. Am I correct?

If I am correct, your employment with the company is in unspecified period, meaning an automatic renewal of contract.

Now, Al Khobar Labor office is right, the company will provide you an air ticket back to your country of origin, only if they accept your resignation and willing to shoulder your air ticket. Please note that you are employed in unspecified contract in which you are oblige to finish the remaining  year(s) of your employment with your employer to complete the 2 Years contract.

However, if your employer accept your resignation but refuse to shoulder your air ticket, then they have the right not to provide you an air ticket.  

The law is silent with respect to air tickets, therefore we must be aware of the condition written about the air ticket in our contract. What the law requires is that the employer should bear the cost of air ticket on final leave at the end of the worker’s contract (exit visa).

However, it seems that you have a 2 year contract (unspecified) so it means you have still remaining 1 year to finish your contract. In this case, you must bear the cost of your ticket,  if they refuse to provide it. However if you have good record with the company, maybe the company will bear the cost of your air ticket upon your request. Remember, for unspecified period of contract, either party may cancel it for a valid reason. (Chapter IV-Leaves, NSLL).

For more information please (click link ) or visit: Patnubay sa mga Mangagawang Pilipino sa Saudi Arabia and  related provisions about Leaves, (click link) “New Saudi Labor Law“.

DFA Press Release

SFA-AGR-517-08
 

 
FILIPINO TRAVELERS WARNED AGAINST INVOLVEMENT IN DRUG TRAFFICKING
August 2008—Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), including seafarers, and Filipino nationals traveling overseas are strongly advised to take necessary precautions to avoid involvement in the smuggling or trafficking of narcotics and illicit drugs.
 
International criminal syndicates operating in the Philippines, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Malaysia, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and other countries in Asia, Middle East, and South America have victimized unsuspecting Filipino travelers and have also succeeded in recruiting Filipino nationals to work as drug couriers or “mules”.
 
These criminal syndicates employ Africans and various Asian nationals, including Filipinos, who try to convince unsuspecting travelers to carry luggage or parcels containing narcotics. The syndicates also try to recruit travelers (especially those who are in need of money) to work for them as drug couriers or “mules”.
 
Travelers, tourists, or OFWs are approached by members of criminal syndicates and are offered attractive amounts of cash if they will carry luggage or parcels for delivery to a certain person at their point of destination. These items of luggage or parcels invariably contain narcotics or illicit drugs.
 
In other instances, Filipino travelers are recruited as drug couriers or “mules” and are paid to carry narcotics or illicit drugs by concealing these items in their clothing. Other couriers or “mules” ingest or swallow small packets of narcotics or illicit drugs or insert these inside their body cavities.
 
From January to July this year, 116 Filipino travelers were intercepted and arrested at various airports in other countries for drug trafficking, as follows: China (including Hong Kong and Macau) – 52; Middle East – 19; other Asian countries – 8; United States – 7; Latin America – 20; and, Europe – 10.
 
Filipino travelers should be aware that improved customs examination and law enforcement capabilities (particularly in drug trafficking) in many countries, as well as expanding international cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking, is helping many countries intercept narcotics and illicit drugs at ports of entry.
 
Filipino travelers should also be aware that most countries impose harsh penalties for drug smuggling or trafficking. Persons arrested and convicted for drug smuggling or trafficking can expect a lengthy prison sentence, at the very least. In many countries, the maximum penalty of life imprisonment can be imposed for this crime. In some countries, drug smuggling or trafficking is a capital offense with the maximum penalty of death.
 
Filipino nationals are urged to exercise caution in their travels overseas and to report any incident involving offers such as those indicated above to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Hotline No. 920-0967 (if they are in the Philippines) or to the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate (if they are overseas). END

Pag-Uwi “Tribute to our FHW”

Pag-Uwi by: Martin Nievera

O kay tagal na natin nagkakalayo
Nung tayoy magkahiwalay akoy musmos
At sa hardin ng kabataan nangakot nagpaalam
At hinagkan kita may gatas pa sa labi
Ewan ba saan napunta ang panahon
Sa hanapbuhay buhay koy nakatuon
Sa bayan ng mga banyaga

Manuel Dane

Manuel Dane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ako ay manggagawa
Pag-ibig ko sayo iniirog
Ohh kay layo mo
Di maabot nitong mga kamay
Walang tulay na kayang tumawid
Sa mga taon kundi ang alaala
Alam ko nang ating mukhay may guhit na
Mga dinanas natin ay magka-iba

Ngunit saking pagbabalik
Sariwa ang halik, halik sayong dibdib
Bayan ko
Ako ngayon ay pauwi at napapangiti
Pagkat malaon na oh bayan ko
Ohh kaylapit na
Akoy sabik na makapiling ka
Sa pagdating may luha mat wala
Akoy sisigaw at hahalik sa lupa ohhh

Kay tagal na nating magkakalayo
Noong tayoy nagkahiwalay akoy musmos
Ngunit ngayon ay pauwi at napapangiti
Pagkat malaon na sinta
Ako ngayon ay pauwi at napapangiti
At hahalik sayo bayan ko.

Palace letter addresses Pichay as OWWA chief

MANILA, Philippines – A memorandum from Malacaňang Palace addressing losing senatorial candidate Prospero Pichay as administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has caused an aspirant for the post and his campaigners to pull out of the race in dismay.

The memorandum bearing the signature of Assistant Secretary Ma. Lourdes P. Varona, head of Malacaňang’s correspondence office, referred to “Administrator Pichay” an e-mail by a Filipino community leader in Riyadh requesting review of the “pending and aging cases of OFWs filed in Philippine embassies, consulates and labor offices in the Middle Eastern region.

Rashid Fabricante’s e-mail was dated August 6 and Varona’s memorandum was dated Aug. 7 and released on Aug. 11. A digital copy of the memorandum was circulated via e-mails.

Memo address to Mr. Pichay

Memo address to Mr. Pichay

 A check with Malacaňang’s Correspondence Office on Friday revealed that the letter was genuine but there was nothing definite about Pichay’s appointment.

Liam Tinio, presidential staff officer of the correspondence office, said that at the time the memorandum was written, “it was announced that Pichay would be taking over OWWA.”

Tinio did not elaborate on who made the announcement but he said he called OWWA office and was told that the officer-in-charge was still Albert Valenciano.

“This can be considered as a wrong address,” Tinio said.

GMANews.TV also checked with the OWWA and learned that Valenciano was in charge. Calls to the administrator’ s office were not answered.

The top OWWA post was vacated with the recent permanent designation of Marianito Roque as labor secretary.

Pichay’s name as Roque’s replacement cropped up last month as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo started appointing her losing senatorial candidates in the 2007 elections to key posts in government.

Among the senatorial election losers who were given key posts were Mike Defensor as head of a task force at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). He later relinquished the post alleged amid infighting with other officials sidelined by his appointment.

Another loser was Ralph Recto, who was named socio-economic planning secretary and director general of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

Because of the Palace memorandum to “Administrator Pichay,” a Riyadh-based medical doctor being endorsed by various OFW groups withdrew his nomination to the top OWWA post.

“Thank you for all the support. I cannot forget your efforts although everybody knows what would be the outcome. As I told you from the beginning we have a very slim chance of being appointed,” said a part of Dr. Mohamad Carlito Astillero’s e-mail to his supporters.

Francis Oca of the OFW Congress in Riyadh suspected that the Palace memorandum “smells of a ploy orchestrated by some hidden hand to divide the OFW community supporting the nomination of Dr. Astillero.”

Oca noted that the date of the memo was August 6, the time the supposed screening committee headed by former Labor Secretary Pat Sto. Tomas was just looking into the “qualifications” of the nominees.

“We feel something is wrong with this whole scenario, including the sudden launching of an Online Petition in Kuwait supporting the nomination of Angelo Jimenez,” he said, referring to OWWA’s deputy administrator whose online nomination was reportedly endorsed by many placement agencies. - GMANews.TV

By ofwempowerment Posted in News Tagged

Open Letter to Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Dear Kabayan, 

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is one government agency that has been, for years, the center of criticism by the very sector of society that it seeks to serve – us the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).

The appointment of the Honorable Marianito Roque as the new secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment opened the door for the appointment of an OWWA Administrator, who knows what is in the mind and can feel what is in the heart of OFW like us.

Yes my dear Kabayan, it is high time that someone from among our OFW leaders be appointed to the post of OWWA Administrator; one who understands by heart the every day problems we overseas workers face inside and outside their jobsites, and during and after the tenure of our work contracts; one who has been in the jobsite has seen and attended to many of our problems.

With that in mind, we invite you to support our petition for Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to appoint Dr. Carlito L. Astillero to the post of OWWA Administrator.

Dr. Lito Astillero (left) with LAbor Attache Resty Dela Fuente

Dr. Lito Astillero (left) with LAbor Attache Resty Dela Fuente

Dr. Astillero has been an overseas worker, serving in various medical positions in three Middle East countries from 1976 up till now. Within those 32 years as an OFW, Dr. Astillero has been an active community leader, serving either as founder or head of various organizations engaged in OFW sports, economic, social, and welfare activities. He is also one of those who worked hard for the passage of the Overseas Absentee Voting Law.

 

In recognition of his contributions to the welfare of the OFW community, Dr. Astillero has been given the “Most Outstanding Filipino in Saudi Arabia” award by the Philippine Embassy in 1990, the “Bagong Bayani Award” by President Corazon Aquino in 1992, the “San Lorenzo Ruiz Award as Outstanding OCW” by President Fidel V. Ramos in 1994, and the Special Presidential “Banaag and Sikat Award” also by President Fidel V. Ramos in 1996, among other prestigious awards given to OFW in recognition of their services to the overseas Filipino communities.

 

We are confident that once appointed Administrator, Dr. Carlito Astillero will provide the missing link between OWWA and its members. 

Please click on this link to view and sign the petition:

http://www.petitiononline.com/OWWADMIN/petition.html 

read more click OFW’s Choice