MY PRESIDENT

SAMA SAMA NATING ITULOY ANG LABAN!

JUNE 30, 2010

Today is Noynoy Aquino’s inauguration day as the new President of the Philippine Republic. It is not only an occasion of victory but it is Noynoy’s most sacred oath, a dedication and consecration under God to the highest office in service of the Filipino people.

Now, the ever-increasing burdens are in his shoulder, the Filipino people has spoken, giving him the mandate for a real change.

Nevertheless, WE, the Filipino people have contributed to the recovery and progress of the nation. The recent election proves that democracy works and Noynoy’s victory has given a renewed hope and courage to all who have faith in government. But we should keep an eye on him, his action, especially the people that surrounds him, in other words we will guard him from the devil’s whispers and the wicked hands.

Today is a very important day, I am proud to be part of the new era of Philippine democracy, I am so proud I voted Noynoy as My President.

In his tenure….

My President…

WILL re-establish the vigor and effectiveness of law enforcement and entire machinery of justice, the redistribution of its functions, the simplification of its procedure, the better selection of judges, and the more effective organization of our agencies of investigation and prosecution that justice may be sure and that it may be swift. Reform, reorganization and strengthening the whole judicial and enforcement system, both in civil and criminal system.

My President in his tenure WILL … read more

Amended R.A.’s signed by the out-going President

AMENDED REPUBLIC ACTS SIGNED BY THE OUT-GOING PRESIDENT

14th Congress

(From June 17,  2008 to March 17, 2010)

S U M M A R Y

  • · RA 9504 – Amendments to the Individual Income Tax
  • · RA 9505 – Establishing the Personal Equity and Retirement Account (PERA)
  • · RA 9501 – Amendments to the Magna Carta for Small and Medium 
  • · RA 9500 – Amendments to UP Charter 
  • · RA 9510 – Credit Information System Act
  • · RA 9511 – National Grid Corporation
  • · RA 9513 – Proposed Framework for the Development of Renewable Energy
  • · RA 9520 – Amendments to the Cooperative Code of the Philippines
  • · RA 9576 – Amendments to the PDIC Charter
  • · RA 9593 – National Tourism Policy
  • · RA 9646 – Real Estate Service Authority
  • · RA 9648 – Exemption of Secondary Trading of Stocks from the Documentary Stamp Tax
  • · RA 9679 – Strengthening the Home Development Mutual Fund
  • · RA 9728 – Creation of Bataan Special Economic Zone
  • · RA 9729 – National Framework on Climate Change
  • · RA 9829 – Instituting a Pre-Need Code
  • · RA 9853 – Amendments to the Customs Brokers Act
  • · RA9856 – Real Estate Investment Trust
  • · RA9994 – Expanded Senior Citizens’ Act
  • · RA 10001 – Exemption from Documentary Stamp Tax and Premium Tax of Life Insurance
  • · RA 10021 – Exchange of Information on Tax Matters Act
  • · RA 10026 – Income Tax Exemption of Local water Districts
  • · RA 9996 – Mindanao Economic Development Authority – February 17, 2010
  • · RA 9999 – Free Legal Assistance – February 23, 2010
  • · RA 10022 – Migrant Workers – March 8, 2010

For the  amended features or text of the law,  read more>>>>>>>> 

Want to read important Philippine Laws? Please click  image below…. 

The LABOR CODE of the Republic of the Philippines ( click for full text )

Regulating Recruitment Agencies in the Philippines

Costs of Private Recruitment Agencies for Migrant Labor Sometimes Outweigh Benefits, MPI Study of Philippines-UAE Corridor Finds

WASHINGTON —Private recruitment agencies manage much of the flow of the 200,000 Filipino workers who head annually to the United Arab Emirates, which is the third-largest destination for Filipino migrants after the United States and Saudi Arabia.

While the recruitment agencies, which are located in the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates, provide critical services such as logistical support and information about visa policies and living and working conditions, some abuse their clients by charging exorbitant fees or violating basic human rights.

In a new report, Migration’s Middlemen: Regulating Recruitment Agencies in the Philippines-United Arab Emirates Corridor, the Migration Policy Institute examines the recruiters’ practices as well as their regulation by the Philippine and UAE governments, finding room for significant improvement.

“While the two governments have regulated recruitment agencies’ operations for nearly three decades, there is a policy mismatch between the two regulatory systems that, coupled with difficulties in enforcing regulations, has led to inadequate protections for migrant workers as well as a continuing flow of unauthorized workers,” said the report’s author, MPI Policy Analyst Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias.

The result is a three-tier labor migration system for the nearly 600,000 Filipinos working in the United Arab Emirates (and comprising close to 12 percent of the UAE population):

  • A documented and organized labor migration based on written contracts following strict regulatory guidelines of both countries.
  • A labor flow based on shifting arrangements that typically result in a lower wage, a different job, and reduced benefits compared to those originally promised to migrant workers by recruiters.
  • An unregulated, unauthorized flow of workers who bypass the recruitment system altogether and migrate to the United Arab Emirates with a visitor visa.

The report was informed by 44 in-depth interviews with government, recruitment agency, employer, and NGO officials in the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines, as well as focus group discussions with 86 Filipino migrant workers in Dubai and Manila.

Click Cover Book for the full report

While both countries are considering more stringent regulations for recruitment agencies, the report cautions that both governments must first commit to fully funding and creating capable and effective institutions to jointly harmonize, enforce, and closely monitor the impact of current and new regulations. “Otherwise, regulatory changes could open the door to unintended effects, including increasing abuse and corruption and making illegal channels more attractive for prospective migrants,” Agunias said.

Kathleen Newland, who directs MPI’s Migrants, Migration, and Development Program, said: “The findings of this study are relevant beyond the Philippines-UAE corridor. They serve as a vital point of reference for other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere as they attempt to balance the need to create a flexible and dynamic labor migration system with the obligation to protect workers’ welfare in an increasingly transnational and interconnected global economy.”

The report also makes the case for new initiatives to empower migrants – who fill jobs as domestic workers, engineers, office assistants, and nurses, among other occupations – including a core set of rights and meaningful mechanisms for representation.

The report is available at www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/FilipinoRecruitment-June2010.pdf.

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The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels.

OWWA honors outstanding OFWs of Eastern Visayas

Tacloban City (June 9) — The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Region 8 led by Director Juliet Tan, spearheaded this year’s Migrant Workers Day celebration dubbed as “Araw ng Pasasalamat.”

Conducted on June 7 at the Robinsons Place, the whole day Araw ng Pasasalamat which revolved around the theme: “OFWs: Tagumpay sa Hamon ng Panahon, Kaagapay sa Pagsulong,” was highlighted by the awarding of prizes to this year’s Outstanding OFWs of Eastern Visayas.

The outstanding Overseas Filipino Workers Award is divided into two categories namely, the landbased and the seabased migrant workers.

In the landbased category, there were three awardees, OIC Tan said. They are Alex V. Bello, Engracio B. Custodio, and Rafael Tolibas.

OFW Alex Veloso Bello (during FIlCom Meeting in Riyadh)

Alex V. Bello is an accountant from Imelda Village, Tacloban City who is currently at the jobsite at Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Bello is the president of the OFW Congress in Riyadh. He initiated the raising of a big amount of money from the OFWs for the Guinsaugon Landslide victims in Southern Leyte through the Secretary of Labor Marianito Roque to OWWA.

Engracio B. Custodio is a plant operator from Sulangan, Guiuan, Eastern Samar, who is now employed at Commonwealth Utilities Corporation in Saipan. He is the founder of the Human Dignity Movement in Saipan which advocates human rights as its main concern. He promoted fair treatment, improvement of status and increase in minimum wage of OFWs, organizing prayer rallies and submission of petitions.

He was given a certificate of appreciation for his skills, professionalism and dedication to his duties to the project that was successfully implemented.

Rafael Tolibas from Barangay Guingauan, Tanauan, Leyte, is the site foreman for Milwright of Consolidated Contractors International Company at Doha Qatar. He was appreciated and recognized by his employer for his dedication and commitment to work.

In the seabased category, this year’s outstanding OFWs are Rafael Apolinar, Francis E. Solvera, and Francis A. Ceballos.

Rafael Apolinar is an oiler from Barangay San Isidro, Palompon, Leyte. He is one of the distinguished company group called worthy Shellbacks. He helped in rescuing employees of a burning oil rig in Conga. His right hand was hit while disentangling the ropes to move out from the burning oil rig.

Francis Solvera, an oiler of the Bright Maritime Corporation’s M/T CM Spirit. This migrant worker from Barangay Cabalawan, Tacloban City is being cited for his bravery ? continuing to serve the foreign ship despite the traumatic experience of being hostaged by a group of pirates in Africa on May 13, 2009.

Francis Ceballos from PC Village, Tacloban City, is reefer repairman of Star Cruise who was cited as the Achiever of the Month by his company in appreciation of his outstanding effort and commitment to the pursuit of excellence.

OWWA 8 through OIC Tan also presented the Physically and Financially Challenged OFW to Olivia Badidles of San Jose, Tacloban City, who while serving as domestic helper in Singapore suffered from a disease called crytogenic liver cirrhosis.

The Most Senior Surviving OFW attendee award was presented to Juanita Llemos of Barangay Sulod, Basey, Samar who at 73 years of age, is a domestic helper in Hongkong. (PIA 8)

PIA Press Release/ 2010/06/09

In your Inauguration Day! An Open Letter for You, Mr. President!

An Open Letter to the President-Elect of the Philippines

Dear President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III ,

The Proclamation

First and foremost, we extend our deepest and sincerest congratulations on your ascendancy to the highest-elected office of our beloved country through a democratic process that every Filipino can take pride in for many generations to come. The first step inherent in the process of transformation is recognizing the need for change – and our capacity to change for the better! Thus, from this point onward, we are hopeful that inspired by your convincing victory and leadership, every Filipino will assume his or her role and responsibility to change the status quo by initiating positive changes towards a better and brighter Philippines, no matter where he or she is, and regardless of what citizenship he or she now holds.

We, the Overseas Filipinos Worldwide (OFW), are a group of Filipinos based abroad and in the Philippines, representing various organizations implementing projects in the Philippines and in our host countries for many years now that are aimed to strategically harness the Philippines’ migration gains into mechanisms for the development of the motherland and our communities of origin.

Migration gains are mainly remittances by overseas Filipinos to their family members, which are now in the region of USD17 billion and are the primary source of livelihood for millions of Philippine households. At 10.8% of the country’s GDP, they are also the third biggest source of the country’s foreign currency reserves and act as primary driver for our economy, shielding us from bankruptcy during the financial crisis in 1997 and the current one.

The Filipino diaspora, estimated now at about 10 million working or residing in 239 countries and territories worldwide, send back donations to various humanitarian causes, such as disaster–relief, medical missions, schoolhouses, and other infrastructure. These contributions supplement local and national government deficits and, as of 2003, have already amounted to USD218 million, per BSP figures in that year.

We do not count here the investments made by OFWs in real estate and the education and health of their family members, and the money spent on various goods and services, as well as on construction, food, shelter, and other inflows that support sectors like the airlines, shopping centers, and banks. Yet, after more than three decades of overseas employment, we do not see genuine signs of poverty alleviation, and instead more and more of our countrymen leave for work abroad.

Ironically, the Philippine model of overseas migration has become a model of sorts, for other migrant-origin countries to emulate and even copy. This however does not tell the whole story or reveal the other face of migration that has escaped the serious attention of past administrations, specifically, the social costs that migration has bred since government-managed deployment started in the early 70s and up to the present, where we now see at least 3,000 of many of the best and brightest Filipinos leaving daily to take up jobs overseas, due to local employment deficits.

Other nations like South Korea, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, and Taiwan, who once were labor exporting countries, have been able to get over their migration hump, as a result of their governments’ consciously harnessing their workers’ remittances and investing them to develop local infrastructure, shipyards, factories, and other industries. Convinced of the effectiveness of government programs and also trustful of their leaders’ sincerity, these countries’ expatriates and overseas workers, at great sacrifice, left their high-paying jobs overseas and returned to their home countries to lend their talents and acquired expertise in further helping their respective country’s leap towards developed status even working at low salaries.

India, another migrant-sending country, is also now going in that direction. These examples serve to illustrate the dictum that migration should be temporary, that it must not be used as a substitute for development. The desirable goal of countries wishing to be strong and globally competitive must necessarily be self-sufficiency and the ability to provide its people with necessary components needed for their human development.

The advent of a new administration, especially one under your inspired leadership, is a good time to ask where the Philippines is going regarding migration, and to act accordingly. Shall we continue to send out our people and rely on remittances and without any development objectives in sight? Conversely, don’t we have the talent to formulate a road map towards self-sufficiency over a period of time, in order that the hemorrhage of talents could be stopped, that a crisis in our dysfunctional families and society at large could be averted, and so that our people do not have to take migration as a forced option? If long-term migration goals are set now, the government could in the meantime work on some basic but urgent deployment and migration issues in order to clear the way towards having a genuine and serious program on translating migration gains for use in human development.

In view of this, we humbly suggest starting to look at the following:

• The government must send clear and strong signals that migration and remittances are only temporary measures to help the government prepare for a longer-term goal of self sufficiency, in which Filipinos no longer look at migration as a forced option. This must be integrated in Medium-Term Development Plans, which is currently being formulated by NEDA, and which should also include how in the meantime strategies, policies, and mechanisms for the productive use and investment of remittances could be harnessed to strengthen the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals.

• Create a position for a Special Presidential Adviser on Migration and Development, who will work with a technical working group (TWG) composed of qualified individuals who have a background in migration and development, including knowledgeable and committed migrant leaders. Among others, the TWG could conduct studies, consultations, and discussions, and come up with updated situationers and appropriate policy recommendations on how to effectively translate remittances and migrant resources to develop local economies; and to address social costs, facilitation of return migration, reintegration, mechanisms for the counterparting of funds between Filipino diaspora groups, LGUs, and development agencies for local and countryside development, incentives for OFW investments in agriculture, SME, infrastructure, microfinance, cooperatives, and other sectors that need stronger funding support. The work could take the form of draft legislation for study by Congress’s standing committee on OFWs or form the basis for an Executive or Administrative Order, whichever is appropriate or workable. The committee’s work shall be purely consultative and should not supplant the work of government migration agencies.

• Review and monitor the performance of government agencies in charge of migrant workers, such as the POEA, OWWA, CFO, and the Department of Foreign Affairs, with a view to strengthening these institutions, reducing wasteful and ineffective programs or duplication of work, giving agencies needed resources and funds for effective implementation of programs, and strengthening the capacity of their overseas offices to become centers of service to migrant workers overseas.

• Departing OFWs contribute USD25 each as a requirement for departure and membership in OWWA and entitlement of welfare benefits. The total corpus of this trust fund is already at the level of at least PHP10 billion. The disposition and administration of this fund has been subject of criticisms, as its use has not been transparent and shown susceptibility to mismanagement. Specifically, reforms in OWWA should (1) impose strict criteria in the process of selection of people who will sit in the Board of Trustees, such that only those qualified and are committed to work for their constituents are appointed, e.g., women OFWs, sea-based, land-based, etc. (2) OWWA proceedings should be made transparent and open to public scrutiny, particularly the investment of the trust funds. (3) the incoming administration, for the benefit of OFWs and through the working group, should require from the current OWWA board an accounting of OWWA funds and how they were invested/used. To this end, the most recent COA audit of migration agencies, like POEA, OWWA, DFA, and POLO offices overseas, must be consulted.

• The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) are two small agencies that are doing important work on mobilizing diaspora contributions for development and assistance to OFWs who are reintegrating to Philippine society after working abroad. The CFO, for instance, has submitted recommendations on how gaps and barriers to enhanced diaspora contributions could be addressed, but these have never been acted upon. The NRCO, in the three years it has been created, has given assistance and referrals on livelihood and employment to OFW returnees affected by the global crisis. Their work should be seriously looked into, and whenever necessary, the appropriate level of funds, resources, and support should be given to these agencies.

• Lack of financial literacy or of the ability to use resources and incomes productively and wisely has been highlighted as a major cultural barrier among not only OFWs but also for most Filipinos. It prevents our people from improving their socio-economic conditions, despite years of employment in the Philippines or overseas. This refers to lack of savings or investment mindset and excessive spending on non-essentials. No less than an institutionalized nationwide program on financial literacy will be able to address this and should include not only OFWs but also members of their family.

The BSP has been the lead government agency that has conducted financial literacy seminars for OFWs and families since 2006 in more than 30 Philippine cities and 10 cities overseas. This program could be improved and expanded through an impact assessment of the campaign and which might include providing resources for enlisting the DECS to include financial literacy and migration as part of school curriculum, starting from grade school, or the LGUs, by including financial literacy and social costs of migration in the Pre-employment Orientation Seminars (PEOS) conducted in their territories for intending migrants.

As a final note, while the recommendations above address specific OFW issues, the programs you had avowed to pursue in your electoral campaign on good governance—better access to health, education, employment and livelihood, and business opportunities for all—are all in the right track, constitute the basic elements for self-sufficiency, and provide viable options to our citizens to remain in the country and to devote their talents and resources to developing the homeland. On these, please be assured of our continued support.

Signed:

Doris Alfafara, Habagat Foundation, The Netherlands
Ren Arrieta, USA
Alex Veloso Bello, Saudi Arabia
Marvin Bionat, USA
Ding Bagasao, Economic Resource Center for Overseas Filipinos (ERCOF), Philippines
Jack Catarata, Germany
Basco Fernandez, Damayang Pilipino sa Nederland, The Netherlands
Lorna Lardizabal Dietz
Cristina Liamzon, Italy
Judith Puyat-Magnaye, USA
Mariel Vincent Rapisura, SEDPI Philippines
Leila Rispens-Noel, Wimler Partnership for Social Progress, Hongkong/Contact Person
Dennis Yaun, Luxembourg