How much more…..

Government officials/employees especially those who deal with public are requested not to be rude but courteous to improve the image of the civil service. Patience and professionalism are  vital elements that could help upgrade the image of our Government. Also, civil servants must listen to the grouses and problems of the public.

You are about to read a scenario that will explain today’s inescapable realities, the Filipino people’s chronic absence of trust in politics and Government.

The letter below comes from a friend who facilitated the claim request in behalf of the deceased OFW’s heir. ***

 This is pertaining to our claim request for the last pay and other benefits of your sister, Arlin V. Bello, who died last Aug. 24, 2009 while on tour of duty in Dubai, UAE.

To begin with, the employer of your sister, Al Shola Driving School in Sharjah, UAE will only release her last pay and other benefits only after the presentation of the following documents: a) Authenticated Certificate of Heirship and b) Authenticated Special Power of Attorney, authorizing Congen Benito Valeriano of the Phil. Consulate General in Dubai-UAE to claim for the above.

Although, the process was a bit tedious for the bereaved family of your late OFW sister, but in our desire to get even the last centavo of her hard -earned money, we abide by the requirements without any hesitations at all.

This is where our calvary started. The long process of getting the approval of the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court , the authentication of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the UAE Embassy, and a corresponding price for every process that we underwent , not to mention the difficulty that we encountered while queuing were followed without any complaints at all.

Finally, last March 1, 2010 at 9:20 am after almost a month of waiting, I was instructed by the Secretary of Usec Conejos of the OUMWA to submit it to the Docket, in spite of my request to hand carry your personal letter addressed to her boss with the endorsement of Congen Valeriano. I have no choice but to follow, thus, the letter together with all the original documents were submitted to the docket officer, a certain Joey Magaso, who promised me that the same will be forwarded to the office of Usec Conejos and will be given the priority in sending it to Congen Valeriano in UAE.

 I was so surprised when you told me that up to last week the said letter and documents were not yet received by Congen Valeriano. I started to follow it up, I called the docket department again to find out the reason for the delay in transmitting the said documents. To my dismay, I was asked to call different numbers and then finally this morning, I called the office of Usec Conejos and her secretary asked me to see or call Joey Magaso of the Docket Department. A woman whom I approached in the said department, easily traced the documents but again told me to go and see Joey Magaso. A man who seems to be the head of the department, a certain “ Roxs” told me the following” alam mo kasi, si Joey ay naka leave of absence at nag – iikutan sila dito, baka hindi na kay Joey yan, kay Gina na yata yan” , to which I responded: “ Sir, where can I see Gina?” and he told me: “ Wala din si Gina nakabakasyon”. I started to flare up and told him: “ Sir, where can I trace the said documents, in the absence of Joey and Gina, will somebody assist me and look for the said documents?” , to which, he said: “ Wala nga eh!, bumalik ka na lang sa ibang araw!”. I told him: “alam mo sir, pabalik-balik na ako dito, ang pinapakiusap ko ay amin at kung kani-kanino lang ako tinuturo, Sir, pupuntahan ko po si Usec. Seguis para mag patulong sa kanya at ikuwento ang lahat ng pangit na experienced ko sa Department na ito. He replied: “e ano kung magsumbong ka kay Seguis?” and I ended the conversation by saying: “ I wont argue with you sir, thank you”.

 This is too much for me to take, the people whom we thought would be the first to look after our welfare are the same people who don’t care and did not even lift a finger to extend help and provide good service to us. The OFWs who are being praised as the unsung heroes are ironically, the last to be remembered and worse, not given the fair treatment by his country men. If the Filipinos are considered the second class citizen in his own land, I can now imagine why they are being treated poorly in other countries.

I am sharing this story with you, not because the victim here is your family but since you represent the OFWs in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as the President of OFW Congress and other associations for Filipino workers in a foreign land, but because, I feel that it is your duty to bring this matter to the right authority and give us an assurance that the similar incidence should not be repeated to any Filipino workers because, if this is happening to you in spite of your position as an OFW leader how much more with our fellow Filipinos that have no contacts nor connections at all.

Maybe we can request from our good ambassadors to look into this case and to please investigate any similar cases which our helpless countrymen have been encountering in the Dept. of Foreign Affairs.

 Thank you and regards.

Sincerely yours, Cielo

"Consider it Done"

The White House Doctor

The "WHITE HOUSE DOCTOR", will be hitting the book stores on June 22. You can pre-order the book now on Amazon.com .

Dr. Eleanor Concepcion “Connie” Mariano

is a physician, the first Filipino-American to reach the rank of Rear Admiral in the United States Navy, the first graduate of the Uniformed Services University of Medicine to reach flag officer status and the first woman to be the director of the White House Medical Unit.

Mariano was born at the Sangley Point Naval Base in Cavite City, Philippines in 1955. Two years later, her parents arrived in the United States. Her father served in the navy as a steward and eventually retired with the rank of Master Chief. Mariano was the valedictorian of her Mar Vista High School, Imperial Beach, California, class of 1973. She is a University of California, San Diego Alumna from Revelle College where she graduated with cum laude honors and received her degree in biology at the University of California, San Diego. After her undergraduate studies, Mariano joined the navy in 1977 where she received her medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of Medicine in 1981 Bethesda, Maryland.

Mariano was nominated to the rank of Rear Admiral by President Bill Clinton and eventually served as the White House Physician for President Clinton and President George W. Bush.

In 2001, Dr. Mariano retired from the Navy and left the White House to join the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was succeeded as White House Physician by Richard Tubb. In 2005, she went on to found the Center for Executive Medicine in Scottsdale.

Hawaii Senator Will Espero submitted Mariano’s name to President Barack Obama for the position of Surgeon General of the United States in May 2009.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Mariano 

The story behind the scene

The story behind the scene

Imagine from establishment to a reputable number 1 group of companies in the Kingdom, now became a household name to Filipinos in Saudi Arabia and at home. This is because for its abusive, unprofessional conduct and mismanagement towards migrant workers in their companies.

Why in decades of its operation this company became controversial among Filipinos and other nationalities in the Kingdom? Why it happens?

Established in mid quarter of the 70’s, the company became a Group of companies. Then emerged as leading name in country’s operations & maintenance market during the construction “boom” in the Kingdom; and later one of the most reputable and trusted company in KSA with more than 12 thousand employees from various countries.

Behind the Scene

In the early months of Year 2K the company’s good reputation as one of the best operations and maintenance service providers in KSA has changed when they get involved in hiring expatriates and share out these warm hot bodies to their subsidiaries and affiliates companies around the Kingdom.

Maybe, unknown from the top brass of this multi-divisional organization, their recruitment arm become greedy that even their medical trading business (importers & resellers of various medical, surgical and other items) turned into hiring medical workers such as hospitals janitors/janitress, patient attendants, dental assistants and caregivers to various government-run medical facilities and rehabilitation centers all over the Kingdom. Worse, some of those recruits  were dispersed  out to clinics and hospitals not affiliated with the Group.

What is the story behind the scene? According to a reliable source, this problem started as early as 1995-1998. There were already complaints filed at POLO (Philippine Labor Office) regarding unfair labor practices of this company. He added that there was a negotiation made between the company and POLO at that time which resulted into an amicable settlement. He narrated further that there was a friendly relation transpired between POLO and this company during the negotiation.

Online news reported that it started Year of 2001 where OFWs lodged complaint against the company for delayed wages, illegal deductions, contract substitution, dehumanizing work and living conditions, harassments and divisive tactics during their employment.

Year 2005, this company was barred from participating in the overseas employment program due to a number of complaints against them.

Unknown to POLO or POEA, they were able to use the services of several recruitment agencies in Philippines to facilitate their manpower requirements. Upon arrival of the OFWs in Saudi Arabia this poor workers will then be employed to the company’s affiliates and subsidiaries around the Kingdom at  dito mag umpisa ang kalbaryo ng ating mga kababayan. Ang hindi ko maintidihan lahat ng “job orders” dito sa Saudi Arabia ay dadaan muna sa POLO for verification and approval bago  bibigyan ng go signal ng POEA sa Pilipinas ang recruitment agency sa pag recruit ng mga OFWs. Ang tanong, bakit lumusot? Bakit hindi ito napuna ng ating POLO?     

In 2008 the order was lifted after several complaints had been resolved and the agency had reformed its system of employing OFWs.

Now,  this company is facing a permanent delisting from POEA of hiring Filipinos citing numerous complaints of contract violations (contract substitutions) and unfair labor practices lodged against it in the past years.  Maging permanente kaya?

The alleged current report treating our fellow OFWs  appallingly is unlawful in the eyes of men and the whole world and even violates certain provision in their own Labor Law (See SLL, Chapter 2 – Duties and Disciplinary Rules).

Labor Attache Rustico Dela Fuente should do his best to clean and clear these issues once and for all dahil kung hindi ang mga walong daan pang natitirang pinoy sa kompanyang ito (nasa ibat ibang establishment) ay susunod na mag hunger strike para lamang  maka-uwi. It means, this is a never ending story.

Siguro naman Sir, matuloy na po ang nabibitin ninyong “new posting” kung bibigyan mo ito ng panahon at ma-tuldokan ang problemang ito para naman ma miss namin kayo!  Good luck po! 

No Change in Family Visa Rules: Official

No Change in Family Visa Rules: Official

Visa Category: Cleaner

Visa Category: Cleaner

DAMMAM: Government officials have denied recent reports that there have been changes in visa rules for the dependants of expatriate workers. Reports in the English and Arabic media had claimed that high-earning expatriates working in the Kingdom on low-category work visas would be allowed to bring their families into the country on permanent resident visas.

“Those reports are not true,” said a Dammam isteqdam official who requested anonymity.

“The family visa is very much linked to the profession on your iqama. We have issued and are issuing family visas to only those in white-collar jobs such as engineers, doctors and executives. The financial status of the applicant is only one of the conditions.”

According to him, nonprofessionals, such as those who are listed on their iqamas and work permits as laborers, masons, electricians and so forth, will have their applications for family visas rejected automatically. “The rules are clear-cut. Professionals — yes; nonprofessionals — no,” he said.

The general assumption in government circles is that those listed as laborers or drivers on their iqamas will not be able to meet the expenses of their families.

An Engineer/Executive with Visa Category: Cleaner

However, there are many expatriates in the Kingdom who are working in top jobs and are earning healthy salaries, yet are only classed as laborers or similar on their iqamas.

Take Abdul Kareem’s case, for instance. He arrived in the Kingdom from India in the late 1980s.

Armed with a bachelor’s degree in commerce, he took up a job at a prominent bank as a typist or tiba’a.

In the years that followed, he rose through the ranks and became a manager in one of the bank’s branches. However, he could not bring his wife and four children to the Kingdom because his iqama still classed him as a typist.

“I even produced a letter from my bank proving my salary to the isteqdam guys. It was more than SR10,000 then. They were sympathetic to my case but were helpless,” he told Arab News.

Abdul Kareem instead took the easier route of inviting his family over on Umrah visas. “The bank had shifted me to Jeddah, and that helped me reunite with my family on and off,” he said.

Like Abdul Kareem, there are hundreds of expatriates working in the Kingdom’s private sector in top jobs who have been designated by their employers as laborers to avoid penalties from the Labor Office for not meeting Saudization targets.

Low-category professions are exempted from rules that govern the implementation of Saudization or nationalization of jobs.

Expatriates in situations similar to that of Abdul Kareem have tried asking their companies to change their professions on the iqama. In many cases, they have succeeded.

“However, that option became too difficult with time. It is just not easy to change the profession on your iqama anymore. It is a very cumbersome process and needs a lot of wasta (influence) and money,” said Sarwar Shakoor, a Pakistani national working as an administrator at an Alkhobar-based IT firm. “I instead invite my family on visit visas.”

By SIRAJ WAHAB | ARAB NEWS

Published: Mar 19, 2010 23:21 Updated: Mar 19, 2010 23:21

OFW problem poses major challenge for next president

OFW problem poses major challenge for next president

By NIKKA CORSINO & ANNIE RUTH C. SABANGAN, GMANews.TV

They may have brought home the bacon – $17 billion in 2009 or over 10 times bigger than last year’s expected foreign direct investment – but more than an economic force, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have evolved into a social phenomenon that the country’s next president needs to resolve decisively.

The Filipino diaspora has fostered a “culture of migration,” Professor Mary Lou Alcid of the University of the Philippines’ College of Social Work and Community Development said in a campus forum in early February. This has resulted in “transnational Filipino families” with the father in Saudi Arabia, the mother in Hongkong, the daughter in Taiwan, the brother in Dubai, and the youngest left in the Philippines, she added.

In the May elections, migration experts believe that voters should pick a candidate who can resolve the problem of large-scale labor deployment abroad which results in the break-up of families, abuse of OFWs, the spread of infectious diseases, and other ills.

Source: POEA Planning Division

However, less than three months before the polls, migrant groups say no candidate has come up with specific strategies to address these problems.

“Migration is a new answer to a very old problem, which is unemployment,” said Maria Angela Villalba, executive director of the non-government Unlad Kabayan Migrant Service Foundation.  read more>>>>>> 

***

Noynoy’s  Platform re: OFWs 

A Commitment to Transformational Leadership:

(10) From a government that treats its people as an export commodity and a means to earn foreign exchange, disregarding the social cost to Filipino families to a government that creates jobs at home, so that working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity; and when its citizens do choose to become OFWs, their welfare and protection will still be the government’s priority.

Susan “Toots” Ople inindorso ng PPP pagka Senador

Susan “Toots” Ople  inindorso ng PPP pagka Senador

Susan "Toots" Ople (click photo of Toots my choice for Senator )

March  5, 2010 Riyadh – Idinaos ang pangalawang pagtitipon o “2nd Tripartite Meeting” noong Biyernes ika-5 ng Marso ng mga community leaders na nagmula pa sa iba’t-ibang bahagi ng kaharian. Mainit ang pagtanggap ng Central Region na siyang tagapamahala sa mga delegates (delegado) na galing sa Eastern Region at buong pwersa na nagpakita ng kanilang supporta ang Western Region na bumiyahe pa ng mahigit sampung oras, kasama ang ilang mga kabataan na nakilahok sa naturang pagtitipon na ang layunin ay ang pagkakaisa at pagtibayin ang samahan para isulong ang mga adhikain at kapakanan ng mga OFWs.

Ang forum ay nag-umpisa pagkatapos ng isang almusal na inihanda ng mga Filipino Community Leaders ng Riyadh sa Al Mutlaq Hotel, eto ay nagbigay din ng pagkakataon para makasalamuha at maipakilala ang bawa’t isa.

Shakehand - 2013 OFW Sector Senator Rudy Dianalan and Upcoming 2010 OFW Mayor of Tubigon, Bohol William R. Jao

Napag-usapan ang pagrehistro ng isang malakas na puwersa, ang partidong pandaigdigang pilipino o PPP na isang partidong politika upang paghandaan at makilahok sa halalan sa hinaharap.

Ang matagal na paghahanda ng PPP mula ng naratipika ang Charter and By-laws nito noong Mayo 2008 sa Makati ay nagkaroon ng liwanag ng maipasa sa pagtitipon na ituloy ang pagparehistro nito bago matapos ang taon 2012.

Inaprobahan rin ng mga miyembro ng partido ang mungkahi ni Alex Veloso Bello, Chairman of the Board ng PPP na pasiglain muli ang membership campaign isang buwan pagkatapos ng halalan o sa darating na June 10, 2010.

(Breakfast prior to the Meeting) L-R Jauhari Usman (PPP-WR), Ding Manlapaz (PPP-CR), Dr. Astillero (PPP-CR), Rudy Estimo (ArabNews), Robert Ramos (PPP-CR) & Bel Hugo (PPP-ER), Rudy Dianalan (PPP-WR), Jun Aguilar (PPP-MLA/HQ) and Boggs Bolor (PPP-CR)

Nabigyan din ng pagkakataon si  Susan “Toots” Ople,  anak ng yumaong nationalist lider Blas F. Ople na isa sa mga kumakandidatong pagka senador sa pamamagitan ng phone-patch at inihayag ang kanyang programa para sa mga OFW na ikinagagalak ng mga nagsidalo.

Pinag-uusapan rin sa pagtitipon ang malawakang paghahanda ng Regional PPP Chapters na kung saan kinasasakopan nito ang probinsya, siyudad, munisipyo at barangay chapters alinsunod sa patakaran ng COMELEC upang mabigyan pansin ang aplikasyon nito.

Jun Aguilar (PPP-Manila/HQ), Alex Veloso Bello & Tony APolto (PPP-CR)

Ayon sa isang panayam kay Mr. Bong Amora, secretariat ng PPP Central Region, “Nagkatipon-tipon ang mga filipino community leaders ng 3 rehiyon ng kaharian upang pag-usapan ang OFW Representation, at magkaroon ng endorsement sa mga kumakandidato sa nalalapit na halalan”.

Ayon kay Engr. Frank Naval “in order for the OFWs to be heard, we are bound to support this endeavor because this is the only way, and this is the only organization that is very vocal as far as representing OFWs in our government”. Si Frank Naval ay kasalukuyang Presidente ng United OFW, isa sa mga organisasyon sa Riyadh na may pinakaraming bilang na mga kasapi.

Ayon naman kay Engr. Faisal Sarque, “humihingi kami ng supporta sa mga OFWs around the world para sa pagkakaisa.”

Meeting Proper

“Kung gusto natin na marinig ang mga hinaing o boses ng mga OFWs, kailangan na pagtuonan pansin ang problema ng hindi pagkakaisa at pagkakaunawaan ng mga lider komunidad hindi lamang sa Saudi Arabia kundi sa buong mundo na may mga Pilipino” dagdag ni Sarque, na kasalukuyang tumakbo ng pagka Bise Alkalde ng Navotas sa darating na halalan.

Sa pagpakilala naman ni Engr. “Jun” Aguilar na galing pa sa Manila para konsultahin ang mga kapartido “in this meeting we will endorse a common candidate in the person of “Toots Ople” for among the candidates she has the only concrete labor agenda for the LABOR sector and the migrant workers including their families and who could carry the legislative agenda in the senate.”

“I believe that we will come-up concrete steps on how to register the party and the timelines required.” Dagdag ni Aguilar na isa ring dating OFW sa Saudi Arabia.

Raul Valenzuela, Ben Manikan, Francis Oca & William R. Jao (PPP-Central Region)

Sa pagtitipon umabot sa mahigit isang oras ang deliberasyon tungkol sa pag indorso sa pinakamataas na puwesto sa gobyerno. Iginiit ng pinagsamang suhestiyon nina Bel Hugo ng PPP-Eastern Region, Faizal Sarque at Frank Naval ng PPP-Central Region  at  Jauhari Usman at Atoy Esguerra ng PPP-Western Region  na hindi pa napapanahon na ang partido mag indorso ng mga tumatakbo sa pagka-pangulo, pangalawang pangulo at mga sampung senador. Sa huli pinagkasundoan ng mga delegado na ipagliban muna ito sa darating na tamang oras at panahon.

Habib Batua (PPP-CR) & Boy Cornejo, Jauhari Usman, Arman Muleem (PPP-WR)

Binigyang diin ng mayoriya ng mga delegado na dapat lamang na si “Toots Ople” ang bibigyan ng suporta ng mga OFWs dahil siya lamang ang karapat-dapat na magdala ng boses ng mga OFWs sa senado.

Kabilang sa mga inindorso ng PPP ang mga sumusunod na mga tumatakbong meyembro at supporters ng partido; Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim (Senator), Engr. William Jao (NP, Mayor, Tubigon, Bohol),    Dr. Rusty Balderian (Congress, 2nd District, Leyte), Andy Rosales (Councilor in Quezon City), Beng Causing (Councilor in Koronadal City), Kit Tejero (Municipal Councilor, Leyte) and 1 GANAP for Party list group (Boggs Bolor, 3rd Nominee).

PPP Founding Members Chris & Marlyn Lavinia of TFC Balitang ME

Napagkasundoan rin ng partido ang paglikom ng sapat na pondo para sa paghahanda ng mga regional or local chapters sa buong Pilipinas para sa pagpa reghistro ng partido bago ang halalan 2013. Umabot sa P570,000.00 ang nakolekta na pondo sa pagtitipon para sa mga unang hakbang na gagawin upang ipagpatuloy ang pagbuo ng isang OFW-led National Political Party.

Group Photo

Ang nasabing pagtitipon ay pinangungunahan ni Engr. Rudy Dianalan bilang moderator, Dr. Lito Astillero, Presiding Officer and Bong Amora bilang Master of Ceremony.***

Who’s running and where?

Whose running  and where? A GMANews.TV interactive Map
GMANews.TV, GMA News Research

In the interest of voters’ information, GMANews.TV and GMA News Research are posting the official list of candidates for the May 10, 2010 elections at the national level (presidential, vice-presidential, senatorial, and party-list); at the congressional district level (Lower House seats), and at the provincial level (gubernatorial, vice-gubernatorial, and provincial board).

Click the Map to appear the GMANews.TV Interactive Map

Moving the mouse over any of the country’s regions will highlight the region and display a text box listing its constituent provinces and some basic figures relevant to the elections.

Clicking any of the highlighted regions will bring voters and users to congressional and provincial candidates in those regions. The start of the campaign period for those positions is on March 26.

The campaign period for national positions — president, vice president, and senators — began on February 9.

The lists posted here are based on the certified lists of candidates available at the website of the Commission on Elections (www.comelec.gov.ph), which we downloaded on February 4 and 9, 2010, and are therefore valid as of those dates.

We will update the lists as candidates withdraw or are replaced by substitutes. Substitutions are allowed in cases of death or disqualification of the certified candidates.

—JV/TJD/HS, GMANews.TV, GMA News Research