Does R.A.10022 really help OFW Grievances?

Does R.A.10022 really help OFW Grievances?

It took five months from Government concerned agencies to craft up the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) covering the Republic Act No. 10022, more particularly known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, As Amended, further Improving the Standard of Protection and Promotion of the Welfare of Migrant Workers, Their Families and Overseas Filipinos in Distress, and For Other Purposes.

Abante-Atras

The question is Does R.A.10022 really helps OFW Grievances? The fact that it is still remains to be implemented or in other words remains to be seen; OFWs like me can’t expect the good outcome it would bring to the grievances of OFWs especially in Middle East where rampant contract substitutions are on the rise. Or it would just like as usual “a swinging pendulum that loses its energy once it is set into motion” shall we say.

DOLE said the IRR, published last Wednesday in Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Manila Times will take effect on August 13. At last after tedious discussions from the stakeholders coming from government sides, non-government organizations, OFW sectors, OFW advocates, Insurance companies, health professionals and others. Some of them raised their concerns and apprehensions on the new law. Recruitment agencies themselves even commented that it shields the government and the recruiters from their responsibility to the OFWs.

A visitor from manning agency in this blog even questioned the amended law that seafarers should NOT be covered into the “Migrant Workers Act” as the term “MIGRANT WORKERS” refers to the land base foreign workers where they need to obtain work permits or necessary workers visa. They argue that seafarer’s maximum contract tenure is only one year and has no guarantee that they will be migrated into one country having been aboard a merchant fleet sailing worldwide.

It also covers in the amended law that the employers are responsible for repatriation of stranded OFWs. Does this law have teeth to grind those employers in Middle Eastern countries where employers deliberately escape of their obligations once worker runaway or not anymore in their custody? And those crocodile recruitment agencies “na pag tatawagan at susulatan mo hindi sumasagot at umiiwas sa kanilang responsibilidad”.  Let us wait and see guys before we celebrate.

Anyway let us give a benefit of a doubt; after all, it is for the good of OFWs. It depends on how our DOLE and other implementing agencies to handle it in the battlefront and give mandate and power to their Labor Attaches or their representative at site.

DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said “R.A. 10022 will give expanded protection of the country’s “modern-day heroes” in pursuit of the new President’s 22-point agenda for labor and employment.

The rules and regulations salient protective measures of the new law are as follows:

1. Emphasis on stronger bilateral and multilateral relations with receiving countries for protection. Interpreting provision of free skills and livelihood programs as expanding free access to such programs;

2.  Criteria for host countries (guaranteeing protection), subject to concurrence to “take positive and concrete measures” to protect the rights of migrant workers; and clarifying a three-step process that involves a) DFA certifications on compliance by host countries; b) POEA resolution allowing deployment to complying host countries; and c) POEA processing of workers’ documents to countries identified in POEA resolutions.

3. Inclusion of amendments to prohibited acts that may constitute illegal recruitment by licensed and unlicensed agencies, as well as other prohibited acts, such as loans, decking practice in OFW medical examinations; and recruitment by suspended agencies;

4. Anti-illegal recruitment programs that include institutionalizing the role of LGUs; added capability of POEA lawyers; prosecution; and operation and surveillance to apprehend illegal recruiters;

5. Money claims. Inclusion of voluntary arbitration;

6. Repatriation and mechanism for repatriation. Responsibility for repatriation with principal/employer and licensed recruitment agency; 48-hour notice rule and 15-day period  for countries with exit visa requirements; provisions on repatriation of underage workers and asserting penalties and liabilities for recruiters who recruit underage migrant workers;

7. Overseas Filipino Resource Centers will now have additional required personnel, such as psychologists, etc. and be under direct POLO supervision;

8. Institutionalizing the National Reintegration Center for OFWs;

9. Protection from abusive medical clinics;

10.  Ensuring the use of the legal assistance fund for foreign lawyers and attorneys’ fees and for filing of cases against erring or abusive employers;

11.  Compulsory insurance to cover agency-hired workers for accidental death, natural death, permanent total disablement, repatriation costs, subsistence allowance benefit, money claims, compassionate visit, medical evaluation, and medical repatriation.

Hope so…..

By:  BongA

The Real State of the Nation

Mga minamahal kong kababayan:

Sa bawat sandali po ng pamamahala ay nahaharap tayo sa isang sangandaan.

Sa isang banda po ay ang pagpili para sa ikabubuti ng taumbayan. Ang pagtanaw sa interes ng nakakarami; ang pagkapit sa prinsipyo; at ang pagiging tapat sa sinumpaan nating tungkulin bilang lingkod-bayan. Ito po ang tuwid na daan.

15th Phil. Congress - Republic of the Philippines

Sa kabilang banda ay ang pag-una sa pansariling interes. Ang pagpapaalipin sa pulitikal na konsiderasyon, at pagsasakripisyo ng kapakanan ng taumbayan. Ito po ang baluktot na daan.

Matagal pong naligaw ang pamahalaan sa daang baluktot. Araw-araw po, lalong lumilinaw sa akin ang lawak ng problemang ating namana. Damang-dama ko ang bigat ng aking responsibilidad.

Sa unang tatlong linggo ng aming panunungkulan, marami po kaming natuklasan. Nais ko pong ipahayag sa inyo ang iilan lamang sa mga namana nating suliranin at ang ginagawa naming hakbang para lutasin ang mga ito.

Sulyap lamang po ito; hindi pa ito ang lahat ng problemang haharapin natin. Inilihim at sadyang iniligaw ang sambayanan sa totoong kalagayan ng ating bansa.

Sa unang anim na buwan ng taon, mas malaki ang ginastos ng gobyerno kaysa sa pumasok na kita. Lalong lumaki ang deficit natin, na umakyat na sa 196.7 billion pesos. Sa target na kuleksyon, kinapos tayo ng 23.8 billion pesos; ang tinataya namang gastos, nalagpasan natin ng 45.1 billion pesos.

Ang budget po sa 2010 ay 1.54 trillion pesos.

read more>>>>>>

Tidbits – 1 Yr. Ban (KSA and UAE)

Saudi Arabia

Fellow OFWs  leave comments in our blog  asking  if the (1) one year ban they heard circulating around the expatriate community in the Kingdom for quite a time now is true or not.

In my reply(ies), I always emphasized to our commenters/readers  that I don’t read any documents such as Saudi government memo that could  prove  of  a 1 year  ban  for those expatriates who wishes to return back to the Kingdom.

King Khaled Int'l. Airport - Riyadh, KSA

With regards to the issue about NOC (No Objection Certificate), I always give emphasis in my replies that  it is very clear in the New Saudi Labor Law that, the employer may put in a condition that the worker  shall not, after the termination of the contract, compete with him or divulge his secrets to another and    in order for the conditions to be valid,  it must be written and defined, in time, place, kind of work and within the necessity to protect the legal interests of the employer (see SLL Art. 83).

It further says that the new law annuls the provisions that conflicts with it (see SLL Art. 244);  

and lastly, it states in SLL-Art. 8  that – any waiver or settlement regarding the rights of the workman originating from this law during the validity of the contract, are considered void, unless it is more beneficial for the workman.

Note:  Please note that your passport is still subject for visa stamping with Saudi Royal Embassy  in our country. Therefore, if  an OFW  is having existing problem in the Kingdom or he/she is ban to enter the Kingdom then visa stamping is denied.  

Today, I went to our Personnel Department and  inquire whether there is a labor policy or a memorandum from the Labor Ministry imposing such ban.  Well, as I found out there was really a government order issued by the Ministry of Labor but not for those expatriates who left the Kingdom with clean hands.  It means – you exited the Kingdom without violating its laws,  that includes good relationship with your previous employer.  

But  watch out – to those who have exit and re-entry visa who did not return back to the Kingdom and have plan to come back with new employer, please  “DO NOT”  because you are going to be apprehended by the Saudi authorities in the immigration.  

United Arab Emirates

UAE Airport - Dubai

United Arab Emirates or UAE that includes Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other member emirates continuously imposed a one year labor ban for expatriates who breaks the terms of their labor contract with the said country. Some other reasons or conditions of the ban are those expatriate workers leaving government jobs, expats who lose a case with the UAE labor ministry against their employer, expatriates who leave their job before the completion of their employment contract and expats who starts a work stoppage, or instigates or participates in such acts.

The good news, UAE’s  Federal Supreme Court last week ruled that companies cannot slap a fresh ban on former workers after their old ban expires.

The law allows workers to re-enter the country using a new visa after the end of the first ban, the court said. The ruling came following a case filed by an Indian foreman, 29, against a contracting company where he worked for seven years.

According to the employee, his employer terminated his service because he demanded an increase in salary. The employer then cancelled his residency and imposed a one-year ban on him from the Department of Naturalization and Residency. He was later deported to his country.

After the expiry of the ban, a maintenance firm issued an employment permit for him through which he entered the country and passed the iris scan test.  read more >>>> No fresh entry ban after the first one expires

SAUDI’s are basically good at heart

It is just like, all Germans are as bad as Adolf Hitler,  but we know they are not.

People have wrong idea about  Saudi’s  because of  what we heard and read;  but to tell you frankly SAUDI’s are basically good at heart.  – Bong Amora

***

Marilou Lorenzo Ramirez with her sponsor Khaled A. Abdul Qader, Philippine Labor Attaché David Des T. Dicang and two nurse escorts at the King Fahd International Airport in Dammam on Saturday. (AN photo by Sadeq Al-Ahmad)

ALKHOBAR: Although there have been many cases of housemaid abuse reported over the years, a vast number of household helpers across the Kingdom are treated like family members.

Such is the case of Marilou Lorenzo Ramirez who likely will lead a longer life thanks to the generosity and concern of her Saudi employer.

The 41-year-old housemaid was hired in the Philippines two years ago by Khaled A. Abdul Qader, a senior planner at Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) in Jubail. Ramirez worked in the household for a year and won the hearts of Abdul Qader’s family with her dedication and hard work.

Five months ago, a brain hemorrhage paralyzed Ramirez. Abdul Qader first took her to Al-Mouwasat Hospital where he bore the complete costs of her treatment. Realizing the gravity of her illness, Abdul Qader requested the Ministry of Health to get her treated at a government-run hospital.

read more>>>>> 

PhilEmb should take Bashir Ayob into their custody

PhilEmb should take  Welfare Officer Bashir Ayob into their custody pending investigation on his case by Saudi authorities.

Bashir Ayob is an acquaintance way back  2007 and as a Filipino community leader whenever I asked for a status about Filipina runaways in the custody of Bahay Kalinga, he was always available in the other line every time I called.

WelOf Bashir Ayob (wearing black t-shirt) next to WelOf Umag during our visit to Bahay Kalinga distributing goods for our Female distressed OFWS.

Mr. Bashir Ayob is a welfare officer assisting overseas Filipino workers in distress in Saudi Arabia particularly in Riyadh. He is assigned at Bahay Kalinga as officer in-charge whose job includes follow up status of cases of our Filipina distressed OFWs at the Saudi Welfare Administration or SWA, a   female deportation shelter run by the Ministry of Social Affairs. Bashir as well is  the only one allowed to handle the processing of exit visas for those Filipina distressed OFWs finally scheduled to leave the Kingdom.

[If an undocumented Filipina worker is caught by the Saudi authorities, she will be sent to SWA where she will stay for 60 days or more, depending on her case and cooperation of her employers. If Philippine mission in KSA was the one who first found the Filipina worker in distressed, she will be in the custody of Bahay Kalinga until such time that distressed OFW will be forwarded or transferred  to SWA for deportation schedule.]

Now my friend Bashir is needing an urgent help not only from the Government that he served for 17 years (1993 with POLO/OWWA) but also to Filipino Community leaders who knows him well as an OFW servant  who is always there in time they need information and whereabouts of Filipina runaways.

Bashir started to work in 1980 as a contractual employee with our Philippine Embassy.

Bashir on June 12 while performing his duty at the Deportation office (SSWA) to process an exit visa for a Filipina cancer patient, he was arrested and held incommunicado up to this writing without any charges.

It was later known that he was arrested over the death of a woman on May 22, 2010 on which his name was mentioned as the one who brought a pregnant woman believed died of massive bleeding.  But according to Al Shumeissy Hospital the husband was the one who brought the bleeding pregnant woman at the hospital. However, there was no record that could prove it was not Bashir but the husband brought the woman to the mentioned hospital.

Janet the wife of Bashir cries for help and believed that his husband is a fall guy and alleges that powerful Saudi officials are behind his continued detention even in the absence of formal charges against him. Janet, a 39-year-old nurse, joined Bashir in Riyadh in 2003. They have a five-year-old son.

Upon hearing, the ordeal of our friend Bashir Ayob, the OFW Congress-Riyadh is requesting our Philippine Embassy to exert their best effort to take custody of Bashir pending the outcome of the investigation. So with the OUMWA (Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs) to immediately release the SR 50,000 needed for attorney’s fees.

Many of our less unfortunate Filipina runaways and distressed OFWs, to proved (3) three of them were fellow town mates of this blogger are now in the Philippines. Bashir Ayob facilitated the immediate processing of their deportation documents. In relation to this, I personally appeal to our government especially to our dear President Noynoy Aquino for the immediate release of the legal assistance fund under Section 18, Section No. 25 of Republic Act. 8042, as amended in order to provide the necessary lawyer in defense to the case of Welfare Officer Bashir Ayob.

The last time I talked with Bashir was last January when I inquire about the status of my runaway townmate (Filipina Domestic Helper now in Manila) who was maltreated and abused by her employer.  He was happy at that time informing me that he  might be posted soon in Dubai, unfortunately he was now posted at Deraa Police Station behind bars.

PCG Advisories

New Labor law in the offing…..

New Labor law in the offing…..

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Labor unveiled a new bill that would unify contracts in the private sector along with a set of measures that are to be implemented in the future. The new set of measures aims to address workplace relations between the employee and the employer in the private sector.

The ministry’s new measures will focus on reducing labor disputes in the workplace, especially on payment issues. It will also address issues pertaining to job transfers, especially with regard to an employee seeking to change jobs.

Abangan!

The ministry also emphasized that the employment contract has to be made in duplicate with each party retaining a copy of the contract. The Ministry of Labor also said the new measures would include the caveat that no owner of a private sector company in Saudi Arabia’s shall be able to terminate an employee from service due to health problems. Also, the employees can now combine their annual leave to their sick leave.

Business owners will now be required to furnish their employees and workers the termination letter before the actual firing occurs. No owner shall transfer their employees to another location without the employee’s prior knowledge unless it is expressly written into the contract and signed by both parties.

The new bill states that an employee has the right to leave the job if there are any contractual violations, if the employer fails to pay the employee’s salary or subjects a worker to abuse.

Some measures are aimed at streamlining payment of salaries. The Ministry of Labor now states that an employer shall not change their employee’s status from a monthly-based salary to an hourly or daily wage without the employee’s agreement.

The bill also affirms the business owner’s rights to terminate the contract of their workers without compensation in cases of assault or fraud. Employers can terminate employees for disclosing company secrets.

By SULTAN AL-TAMIMI | ARAB NEWS

Published: Jul 9, 2010 23:14 Updated: Jul 9, 2010 23:14

No Gay, No Employment Policy

Tunay na naging mainit sa nagdaang buwan ang usapin tungkol sa deployment ng mga Filipinos na nasa kuwadra ng mga homosexuals pagkatapos lumabas ang recruitment directive na pinadala ng Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia sa mga employment recruiting agencies sa Manila. At kasabay nito, naging mainit din ang naging mga paalala at tagubilin ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno at sanggunian ng Pilipinas tulad na lamang ng Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) sa mainit na isyung ito.

"Aminin"

Sa nakaraang personal na pagbisita ng manunulat sa tanggapan ni G. Mario Tuscan N. Nas, Chief ng Balik Manggagawa Processing Division (Department of Labor & Employment), napag-alaman na matindi ang ginagawa nilang mga paalala sa mga kababayang bading lalu na yung mga bagito na tunay na mag-ingat at igalang ang batas ng Kaharian sa isyu ng kabaklaan. Ayon kay G. Nas, walang tigil ang kanilang mga pagpapa-alala kahit sa mga datihang OFWs na kabilang sa third sex na lubusang sundin ang mga kalakaran ng Kaharian para hindi maharap sa mga problemang moral at malagay sa balag ng alanganin. At kung hindi man makakasunod sa batas na umiiiral ay mabuting huwag nang dumiretso pa sa pagpunta para magtrabaho sa Kaharian ng Saudi Arabia.

Sa ilang ginawang pagbisita sa mga recruiting agencies na tumangging magpalathala ng pangalan, napag-alaman na tunay na sumusunod sila sa “no gay, no employment policy” dahil ayaw nilang magkaproblema sa kanilang relasyon sa Kaharian at maiwasan ang pagbulusok ng kanilang revenue, kasabay din sa kanilang pagprotekta sa kapakanan ng mga Pinoy na kasama sa third sex lalu’t alam nila ang kasalukuyang batas. Isa sa pinagpapasalamat ng mga naturang recruiting agencies ay ang hindi pagkakaroon ng “clampdown” sa mga datihang OFW gays dahil kung mangyayari ito, tunay ding mabubusisi kung saan nga bang recruiting agencies sila umalis papuntang Kaharian.

Sa umiinit na kaganapan, ang tunay na nasapol at tinatamaan ng naturang recruitment directive ay ang mga homosexuals na lantaran ang pagiging bading. Isa sa hindi maitatatwang katotohanan ay tunay namang napakahirap matukoy kung sino nga ba ang bading (at hindi) sa gitna ng mga Pinoy gays bunsod sa bagong kalakaran (gay trend) sa makabagong henerasyon nang mga bading kung saan mas gusto nilang mgmukhang mga tunay na lalaki dahil ayon sa kanila ito ngayon ang uso.

Samantala, ayon naman sa ilang grupo ng mga bading na nagpahayag nang kanilang punto de vista, kanilang sinabi na hindi naman lahat talaga ng bading na Pinoy ay mga “sakit ng ulo” ng Kaharian lalu na’t marami sa kanilang bilang ay naghahangad lamang na makapagtrabaho sa kanilang mga piniling propesyon at kumita ng pera para matugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng kanilang mga naiwang pamilya. At para naman sa kapuwa nila bading na lantaran ang pagpapakita ng kanilang pagkatao sa napaka-konserbatibong lipunan ng Kaharian, ang tangi nilang hiling ay huwag lamang sariling kapakanan, ‘kalandian’ at kagustuhahan ang isipin bagkus ang kapakanan, reputasyon at magandang hangarin ng lubos na nakakarami na maaaring tuluyang maapektuhan. – (J. Nava Cruz, an OFW, is a writer-documentarist. E-mail at bashamel007@yahoo.com)

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sun 4th July 2010, J. Nava Cruz Saudi Arabia