Global Filipinos convict Maguindanao Murderers

The Global Filipino Nation condemns with a grave sense of guilt the Maguindanao murderers who mercilessly slaughtered innocent lives in the pursuit of evil designs.

The use of brazen force numbs the minds of all decent men.

We call on the highest authorities to move with dispatch in arresting the masterminds and their minions.

The eyes of the entire world are glued on efforts to bring the guilty to swift justice.

There should be no quid pro quos in the administration of justice.

Decisiveness and action can demonstrate that the rule of law can prevail in our country.

Inaction, torpor or ineptness would mirror the country’s slide to anarchy.

We raise the spirits of the victims to God’s goodness and care, praying that, where human frailty impedes speedy dispensation of justice, God’s wisdom will hasten the Day of Judgment for the guilty.

** 

GFN

 

Global Filipino Nation is an international organization of overseas Filipinos, their families and all onshore Filipinos who are committed to the goal of “Building the Global Filipino Nation for Good Governance”.

OFW: A Must Read about Saudi Arabia

To : Fellow  Filipinos  and to would be OFWs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  A must read book or online publications about Saudi Arabia. 

Just click the book  icon to read.

Saudi Arabia in 100 Questions

Saudi Arabia in 100 Questions: Most of those who come to Saudi Arabia either as visitors or a workers are often awe-struck at the vast development all over the country. They admit that their image of Saudi society was very different before they arrived and lived in the country. Many Saudis, too, lack the correct and reliable information to present to others.

“Saudi Arabia in 100 Questions” aims at presenting a simple and comprehensive answers for many questions that may be raised by others about Saudi Arabia.

 

The Political System of Saudi Arabia:

The Political System of Saudi Arabia

The discourse in this book addresses elite western politicians, intellectuals  and thinkers. It discusses the most important issues related to the political system of Saudi Arabia from an Islamic perspective and through the state’s laws like the Basic Law of Governance. Among the issues discussed by the book, for instance, the imama (leadership), the rights and duties of the Muslim leader,  the nature of relation between citizens and the King, the concept of Shoura in Islam and the impact of the implementation of this Shoura in Saudi Arabia compared with democracy, the concept of bayah (pay of allegiance), the formation of political parties and the so-called opposition, the freedom of opinion and political expression, as well as other issues raised in the Western media and political circles about the political system of Saudi Arabia.  

Saudi Women, Towards a new Era:  There has been much misinformation about the people of Saudi Arabia in Western media; some may be due to Islamphobia, but some come from the difficulty in getting an accurate picture of the Kingdom’s diversity from the outside. Saudi woman was no exception.

Saudi Women Towards a New Era

This books demonstrates the achievements been made by Saudi woman despite the difficulties facing them. It highlights the roles being played by educated Saudi women and the government efforts to change negative attitudes towards women.

While reflecting  the emerging role of Saudi women who have been marginalized by rigid traditions and restricted misinterpretation of Islamic law, the book stresses that the active roles of Saudi woman, at both domestic and international levels, has dispelled long-held stereotypes of these women as being uneducated and dull.

Religious Police in Saudi Arabia

Religious Police in Saudi Arabia:  This book includes a comprehensive vision of issues related to the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice and its official establishment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  This book was prepared by a group of Saudi academicians, males and females, representing different Saudi universities and various geographical regions. They address the Western public opinion, its political and intellectual sources. Their aim is to clarify reality for Western public opinion, its political, intellectual and media sources.

Enjoy reading!

From: Bong Amora

OAV Internet Voting and OFW representation – Hoping for the best

OAV Internet Voting and  OFW representation – Hoping for the best

GFN (Global Filipino Nation) a group of a coalition of major Filipino expatriate organizations who drafted the insertion of internet registration and voting said that the proposed amendment of Republic Act 9189 known as Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 is now pending in the Senate.  The bill contains the new version of allowing Internet voting for overseas Filipinos. 

internet

Internet Vote - OFW Vote

GFN office in Manila spokesperson Connie Gomez Valdes in an email said that  “the bill was technically approved in the Committee on Constitutional Amendments headed by Sen. Chiz Escudero and is being passed around the tables of Senators Loren Legarda, Manuel “Mar” Roxas and  Noynoy Aquino for signature.  Once they have signed, it will be discussed in the Senate.”   

GFN advocates empowering global community of unified Filipinos to proactively participate in their motherland’s mainstream activities particularly the right to vote.  GFN is pursuing the passage of this amendment for the coming May 2010 elections.  GFN led convenor, Asian Leaders 2004 awardee  Mr. Vic Barrios and FilAm community leader Ernie Del Rosario are the two proponents who drafted the insertion of internet registration and voting in the proposed amendment. 

Called GFN Lead Harvesters, they appeal to global Filipinos to help lobbying or pushing for the passage of the amendment before the May 2010 election.   “Since we did not make it happen for the registration period, I appeal to everyone to please help us by writing letters to the senators and congressmen” said Connie Gomez Valdes.

 ”It would be good also to write to your consuls to make them aware that we are on top of the situation” she added.

Internet voting was successfully tested in Singapore last July 20 to August 8 which the Commission on Elections describes as “major step forward” towards the full modernization of Philippine elections.  Being a remote electronic system, OAVs can cast their votes from their homes, workplaces and cyber cafes and voting stations to be set up inside the Philippine embassy.  

Filipino community leader Rudy Nazruddin Dianalan based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the main proponent of ”internet voting”  during the tripartite meeting of Filipino community in Saudi Arabia  said  “internet voting is the most practical method to maximize the participation of OAVoters in elections.”

Most Overseas Filipinos are far away from diplomatic posts and going to the nearest one to vote entails too much expenses. Like here in Saudi Arabia.  OFWs that are registered as absentee voters can only go either to the embassy in Riyadh or the consulate in Jeddah.

“Of more than one million OFWs in the kingdom, only about ten to fifteen percent are within reasonable distance to the two diplomatic posts here. Spread over a land area about five times larger than the Philippines, most OFWs do not have the means or the motivation to travel a long distance to cast their votes.”  Mr. Dianalan added.

Rudy Nazruddin Dianalan is among called by OFWs in Saudi Arabia to represent the OFWs in the Senate.  Filipino community is hoping that major Philippine political parties will include OFW stalwarts in their Senate slate.

“Assuming a crack at the senate, my advocacy shall center on the protection of OFWs from recruitment to worksite, the welfare of their families left back home, strengthening the ties of Overseas Filipinos to the Philippines and their reintegration, and enhancing a global Filipino nation.” He said.

Mr. Dianalan is the Chairman Emeritus of KASAPI,   duly recognized federated and coalesced alliance of Filipino community organizations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  He was one of those who hardly fought that  OFWs should be represented in Congress.  

Among the names eyed to represent OFWs is Susan “Toots” Ople, the daughter of the late Sen. Blas F. Ople.

She served in the Senate in 1987 as media relations officer of Senator Ernesto Herrera.  In 1989, the Citizens’ Drug Watch Foundation was created with Herrera as president and Susan as executive director.  When the late Sen. Ople was designated Foreign Affairs Secretary, he brought Susan with him as chief of staff.  It was during her stint at the DFA that Susan became deeply involved in human trafficking and OFW cases.  In 2004, after  Senator Ople  died, Susan Ople was appointed Undersecretary of Labor and Employment.

Since the 1970s, the issue of Overseas Filipino Workers welfare has become one of the primary concerns of the government. However, in spite of efforts to provide protection, benefits, and programs to address their welfare, there are still many OFWs that have become victims of various circumstances and abuses from their foreign employers.

In 1992, the Party List Act of the Philippines was signed into law.  However, the implementing rules of the Party List Act came very late and the  then newly elected President, Fidel V. Ramos, appointed party-list representatives from several recognized sectors, like labor, business, cooperatives, teachers, OFWs, and others.

Ramos also appointed two OFW sectoral representatives in Congress, from the ranks of  OFWs  in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  

But many say the failure of OFW sectoral representation in Congress was because the representation itself did not enjoy the mandate of the OFW sector they are supposed to represent.

In 1995 up to now many OFW party lists tried their luck to participate in the last elections, not even one of them  garnered the mandatory requirement in number of votes needed to be able to nominate a representative to Congress. 

Now, that unity is too elusive to achieve, the OFWs will try the upper House of Philippine Congress, the Senatehoping for the best.  

By: Bong Amora

Related Post : The continuing saga towards OFW Empowerment

Are YOU running for Public Office in 2010?

Is there a leader in you?  Do you have what it takes to win an election?

Here’s your chance to discover yourself, become a potential leader, learn from the experts and know the basics of running an electoral campaign.

The Ateneo School of Government (ASoG)  is hosting a Leadership and Campaigns Seminar, in cooperation with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Pelaez Foundation, on December 1-4, 2009 in Cagayan de Oro City.

Who may apply?

•    Prospective candidates for local and district (congressional) elections.
•    Advocates of effective and ethical governance.

Neophyte politicians, 21-35 years old, women and indigenous people are strongly encouraged to apply.

For more info >>>>>>>   

2n

 

Rural bankers try carving niche in OFW market

Rural bankers try carving niche in OFW market

by JEREMAIAH M. OPINIANO  (OFW Journalism Consortium)

[Reporting from Ibaan municipality, Batangas and Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. Some of the names were changed to protect against probable harm from persons scouring the news for potential victims]

LINDA has a problem with money: she has lots of it.

Her worries are less about meeting daily needs, which she gets from a regular pension, having retired from working as a nonprofit worker, and spouse of a German, in a European country.

Linda’s problem is how to grow a sizeable inheritance her late husband willed to her just recently.

She isn’t alone in such conundrum: rural bankers discovered this lately through dialogues with former overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and current OFW families.

Lorded over by large Manila-based financial institutions, the booming market for remittance by overseas Filipinos has attracted more than a dozen rural banks trying to carve a niche in that market by staying local.

bank

FINANCIAL COUNSELING. Former overseas Filipino workers from rural Philippines, mostly women, seek advice with rural bankers during dialogues with officials and staff of Batangas-based Bangko Kabayan.

Rural banks, according to Ildefonso Bagasao, are “in the best position to serve the financial needs of OFWs and their families, especially since they know each other and their needs.”

Bagasao is president of Economic Resource Center for Overseas Filipinos (Ercof), a nonprofit group trying to deepen this mutual awareness between OFW families and rural bankers.

Since July, Bagasao and his team has brokered dialogues to discover how families, mainly wives, of OFWs and OFWs themselves are managing new-found wealth from remittances and how rural bankers can help.

Linda is just one of the many participants in these dialogues that started in Bicol, which was organized by Ercof and the Moraleda family-owned Rural Bank of Camalig (Albay) Inc.

The last dialogue was co-organized by Bangko Mabuhay in Cavite on the day, Sept. 26, typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) stormed through Metro Manila and Luzon.

The financial mosaic formed by Linda’s life as an OFW bare the general storyline of rural folks accustomed to simple living, but are now grappling with ideas on how to handle surplus money more productively.

And with the recent fiasco involving some rural banks in a get-rich-quick scheme, ex-OFWs like Linda understandably worry: it’s money earned with too many trade-offs that are mostly painful to recall.

Like Aurelia Sarina, who lightly chided her husband Primo at another bankers-OFW dialogue in Ibaan, Batangas, for “wasting” some of the money she sent home in the past 17 years as a domestic worker in Italy.

Slow buck

RURAL bankers, however, discovered that ex-OFWs like Linda and Aurelia are concerned less with a fast buck than how to squeeze the strategic worth of their cash.

“They don’t seem in need to borrow money from the bank because they apparently have lots of it,” Bank Victorias’ Bacolod City branch manager Pancho Javelosa mused.

Javelosa saw three seafarers’ wives slid inside luxury cars when the Bank Victorias-sponsored dialogue ended.

Their peer Jurry Tormis, Kabankalan City branch manager, said: “What I think these OFWs need are financial advisors.”

DSC01160

Insular Life Assurance Company Limited during Literacy Seminar held at Insular Life Bldg. in Cebu "Ensuring the Expatriate Filipino's Financial Security" in their IPINOY Money Management Program (Photo by: Bong Amora who attended the seminar)

Bank Victorias president Jaime Lopez, however, said the bank is willing “to go beyond money matters” in dealing with OFW clients within their five branches in the southern Philippine provinces of Negros Occidental and Iloilo.

Bagasao agreed with Lopez, urging the rural bankers to provide family counseling as one of their “services”.

Doing so would make OFW-focused rural banking distinct from other attempts to catch a windfall from the P150-billion remittance industry.

One such attempt was the so-called “double-your-money” time deposit scheme that involved 14 rural banks and a financial services firm called the Legacy Group.

Based on news reports, investors in this scheme who got “burned” included OFWs and their family members.

Bagasao said Ercof took the safer but slower boat by linking OFWs to 15 “stable” rural banks.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reveals there are 648 rural banks in 75 provinces.

If some of these remittances are saved and invested in rural banks, Bagasao said these remittances can help generate jobs since rural banks are mandated by law to invest their income and offer loans in the rural areas where they operate.

An Ercof report wrote that these banks, including Bank Victorias, have a branch network collectively covering over-220 branches found in 44 provinces.

These banks have collective resources worth P149.4 billion, or 13 percent of the resources of the Philippine rural banking industry, the report added.

Have money, won’t borrow

LINDA said she participated in the dialogue with the rural bankers to know if she can make money out of her inheritance to bankroll her home renovation project.

Likewise, she also plans to put up a coffee shop.

Marivic Valencia said as an observation that ex-OFWs like Linda and wives of OFWs like her dive into business sans having the skills.

Marivic admits they need people who can become their financial coach.

She said the coaching that occurred during the dialogue organized by Bangko Kabayan in Batangas was helpful.

A bank manager, for example, advised Linda to open a one-year time deposit, send the money via mobile phone, and withdraw proceeds of her time deposit also through her mobile phone.

The manager’s additional advice: “If you want to pursue your coffee shop business, be visible to customers and be hands-on in the business.”

Bagasao said by advising OFWs and OFW families in their financial needs and aspirations, rural banks can remain stable and create a resilient customer base.

That is also expected by OFW family members like Shirley Buenaflor from Rosario municipality in Batangas.

Buenaflor dreams of running a business out of some savings coming from her Saudi Arabia-based husband’s remittances, but she doesn’t know how to run one.

Buenaflor told a Bangko Kabayan staff: “I hope you can help us every step of the way.”

“No other financial institution knows the needs of rural folk and could offer friendly and personalized services than grassroots financial institutions such as rural banks, whose management and staff live in the same neighborhoods as OFWs,” Bagasao said.

He says Ercof is optimistic the dialogues, which are part of the Bayaning Bayanihan awareness campaign of the consortium of 15 banks and of Ercof, will enhance the relationship between rural bankers and their clients.

According to briefing materials, the campaign will stress the strategic role of rural banks in countryside development.

Other institutions involved in Bayaning Bayanihan (www.bayaningbayanihan.com) include: Rang-ay Bank (Ilocos and Cordillera Administrative regions); Bank of Florida (Pampanga); GM Bank (Nueva Ecija); First Macro Bank (Pateros, Metro Manila); Bangko Kabayan (Batangas), Bangko Mabuhay (Cavite), Quezon Capital Rural Bank (Quezon),  Camalig Bank (Bicol region); Bank Victorias (Negros Occidental), 1st Valley Rural Bank (Misamis Oriental and other Mindanao provinces), and Cantilan Bank (Caraga region).

Four other banks —One Network Bank (Mindanao island), Guagua Rural Bank (Pampanga), Xavier Punla Bank (Misamis Oriental), and Xavier Tibod Bank (Bukidnon)— are also part of the Ercof-coordinated consortium of 15 banks.

These banks have each designated an OFW desk officer to not only receive queries from OFWs abroad, but to act as the OFW’s financial consultant and planner.

The OFW desk officer can provide the portfolio customized to OFW concerns such as education, housing, health, or buffer fund for retirement.                                                                                             

Comments are welcome at editor@ofwjournalism.net

Pass the Senate and House Bill amending R.A. No. 8042

nograles

Speaker Prospero C. Nograles consults with leaders of the various Filipino communities in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who raised, among others, the need for faster facilitation by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration of services relative to OFW Welfare, and licensure renewals by the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC). The Speaker, together with his official delegation composed of Deputy Speaker Simeon Datumanong, Reps. Munir Arbison, Yusop Jikiri, Nur Jaafar and Mujiv Hataman, have assured the OFW leaders that their concerns, including better OFW representation abroad, will be taken into consideration and their suggestions be thoroughly studied. The common sentiment is to strengthen OWWA's programs and be more responsive to the needs of OFWs. Additional OWWA action desks in embassies and consulates are also being pursued. Saudi Arabia is the second home of more than one million Filipinos.

Philippine lawmakers are expected to arrive in Riyadh on November 5, 2009. They are on their working trip to Middle East for a series of consultation meeting with Filipino Community, Philippine Embassy officials and Philippine government agencies overseeing the plight of OFWs.

They are members of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA) to conduct congressional hearing among Filipino Community leaders in Riyadh on issues concerning  OFW grievances and complains. 

However, as of this writing, I haven’t yet heard from fellow community leaders of an invitation from Philippine Embassy/POLO/OWWA  to attend such important event. The visiting lawmakers are Representatives Luz Ilagan, Carlos Padilla, and Rufus Rodriquez.

The House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA) has the jurisdiction to tackle all matters directly and principally relating to policies and programs on the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers and their families.  The 14th Congress COWA is Chaired by Rep. Manuel  Zamora consisting  35 Committee members namely:  Five Vice Chairman, Lagman, Edcel, Gatchalian, Rex, Labadlabad, Rosendo and Romulo, Roman. Members of the Majority are Magsaysay, Ma. Milagros,De Guzman, Del , Estrella, Conrado III,Bichara, Al Francis,San Luis, Edgar,Sy-Alvarado, Ma. Victoria,Robes, Arturo,Roman, Herminia,Chong, Glenn,Codilla, Eufrocino Sr.,Alcala, Proceso,Cajayon, Mary Mitzi,Amatong, Rommel,Bonoan-David, Ma. Theresa, Dela Cruz, Jonathan, and Arroyo, Ma. Lourdes. For the Minority are Ilagan, Luzviminda,Villanueva, Emmanuel Joel, and Hataman, Mujiv.

If Philippine Embassy will invite me to the consultation/hearing and be given a chance to talk in front of the Honorable Lady and Gentlemen from the Philippine House of Representative, I will lobby for the immediate approval of House Bill 05649 or  Senate Bill 3286 and it should be signed into law before the May 2010 election.  

House Bill 05649:  “The Standards of Protection and Assistance For Migrant Workers Act” is an act guarantees the protection of the rights of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are to be deployed only in countries where labor and social laws protecting workers’ rights, adherence to conventions, declarations and resolutions, and bilateral agreements or arrangements are existing and guaranteed. Principal author of the bill is Rep. Manuel Zamora. It was approved on 2nd Reading dated 2009-02-03 and approved on third reading dated 2009-02-04 with the followingvotes Yes = 127, No = 0, Abstain = 0.

The abovementioned bill is a counterpart bill under Senate Bill 3286 known as an “Act amending R.A. No. 8042, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers Act of 1995, as amended, further improving the standard of protection and promotion of the Welfare of Migrant Workers, their Families and Overseas Filipino Workers in Distress and for other purposes.”  The legislative status of the bill is for recommendation for approval pending before the  “Senate and House Conference Committee” since August 17, 2009.

Above House Bill 05649 is a consolidated bill substituting the following House Bills:

HB00628 –  “Establishment of a legal attaché office in every country in the Middle East to provide free legal assistance to Filipino migrant workers in need of legal aid or in crisis or difficult situation”. The bill was authored by Rep. Judy Syjuco.

HB00700 – “Act Setting Higher Standards of Protection of Migrant Workers”. Authored by Rep. Rexlon Gatchalian, the bill prohibits the issuance of a work permit to a country where there is no existent guarantee for the protection of the rights of migrant workers.  Bill Status: House agreed to the request for a conference made by the Senate.

HB00769 – “An Act Setting Higher Standards of Protection of Migrant Workers and their Families”. Authored by Rep. Arthur Pingoy, Jr. The proposed bill is an act to institute policies of Overseas Employment and establish higher standards of protection and promotion of the welfare of migrant workers, their families and Overseas Filipinos in distress.

HB04783 – “An Act Improving the Protection of Migrant Workers, amending for the Purpose Section 4 of R.A. No. 8042. The bill was principally authored by Rep. Edgardo Chatto.

HB00699 – “Act Providing for the Selection of Additional Memberships in the Boards of the POEA and the OWWA, amending for such Purpose Republic Act 8042. Authored by Rep. Rexlon Gatchalian.

There are 41 House Bills and Resolutions currently referred to the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA) found at Philippine House of Representative official website.  Several  of this House Bills seek to amend R.A. 8042 known as Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.  These bills are currently on hold pending deliberations and approval by both the House and the Senate.

Relevant House Bills intended for the promotion, welfare and protection of Overseas Filipinos are the following:

NO. HB00819 - Principal author:  Rep. Judy Syjuco. The bill provides for the abolition of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and for the transfer of their functions to the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers. Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION.

NO. HB03115 – Principal Author: Rep. Bienvenido Abante, Jr. “Overseas Domestic Helpers Act”, the bill aims to determine the countries where maltreatment and abuse of overseas Filipino workers is rampant and to ban their development to these countries. Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on OVERSEAS WORKERS AFFAIRS.

NO. HB04310 – Principal author Re. Narciso Santiago III. “Migrant Worker’s Retirement Act of 2008” establishes a retirement fund that shall provide social security protection to OFWs and their beneficiaries for contingencies resulting in loss of income due to inability to find another employment overseas due to old age, disability and/or sickness. Principal Author Rep. Rexlon Gatchalian, co-authored by Rep. Narciso Santiago III, Rep. Arnulfo Go. Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on OVERSEAS WORKERS AFFAIRS.

NO. HB04845 – Principal author: Rep. Narciso Santiago, III. “Left-Behind Households of OFWs Act of 2008″, that seeks the establishment of OFW family centers that shall provide welfare assistance and counseling services to the families left-behind by OFWs. Also directs the OWWA to develop a program for the re-unification and reintegration of returning OFWs. Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on OVERSEAS WORKERS AFFAIRS.

NO. HB05621 – Principal Author:  Rep Rufus Rodriguez. “Overseas Contract Workers Insurance Act”, seeks to protect and ensure the welfare of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) by providing them compulsory welfare insurance program in addition to the benefits being provided by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on OVERSEAS WORKERS AFFAIRS.  

NO. HB05657 – Principal author: Rep. Satur Ocampo. “An act expanding Legal Services to Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos in Distress”. Seeks to expand the legal assistance the Philippine government presently extends to migrant workers and overseas Filipinos, both documented and undocumented, in distressful situations abroad, particularly those who are incarcerated in the Middle East on account of lack of access to Shariah lawyers and other specific legal concerns. Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on OVERSEAS WORKERS AFFAIRS. *End*

By: Bong Amora

Read Related Postings:   

Proposed Amendment of R.A. 8042 

Amend R.A. 8042 

Migrant Workers Day – Nothing to Celebrate  

OFW’s opposed newly appointed OWWA Board