OFW Ako, Diplomat lang Kayo!

I posted an entry in this blog two years ago titledDiplomat Ako, OFW lang kayo!upon reading an online news that Department of Labor and Employment at home urged overseas Filipino workers to expose discourteous officials from Philippine mission abroad so that they may be punished. The entry was made referring to a top Philippine diplomat based in Riyadh telling to an OFW “diplomat ako, OFW lang kayo!” during altercation on the usage of Philippine Embassy grounds for FilCom activities.

Though a year before DOLE made that announcement, Sen. Manny Villar already filed Senate Bill 1879, to impose penalties on Philippine consular officials and other government personnel for failure to act on complaints of, or to give assistance or render service to migrant workers, their families and overseas Filipinos in distress. He also filed Resolution No. 248, urging the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to conduct an inquiry on the allegations of bad attitude, negligence and incompetence of some Philippine embassy and consular personnel stationed in various countries in handling cases of distressed OFWs.

The bill as per  Senate web site was substituted by Senate Bill 3286 which failed to become part of the amended provisions of the now Republic Act No. 10022. It is very unfortunate that R. A. 10022 does not reprimand, castigate or penalize any diplomatic corps of bad attitude, negligence and incompetence in attending to the cases of Filipino migrant workers in distress.

That is why our diplomats more particularly our Honorable Labor Attaché’s around the globe knows where they stands. They continue to be rude, indifferent to our unfortunate OFWs, unmindful of their acts, babbling like a parrot, waiting for their new post somewhere in Europe and America. Huh! You should be posted in the war torn Afghanistan instead.

That is also why OFW in distress turns from the help of fellow OFWs and Filipino Community organizations because they’re afraid to visit our embassy, POLO/OWWA offices because of their uncaring, unsympathetic, insensible attitude towards OFWs, more particularly those in need of help.

And now, YOU ask me to shut up and to stop minding these people(unfortunate OFWs) who seek our help?  Atty. Labor Attaché, please be reminded that Section 1. Par. (h) of Section 2 of Republic Act. No. 8042, as amended says “The State recognizes non-governmental organizations, trade unions, workers associations, stakeholders and their similar entities duly recognized as legitimate, are partners of the State in the protection of Filipino migrant workers and in the promotion of their welfare. The State shall cooperate with them in a spirit of trust and mutual respect. The significant contribution of recruitment and manning agencies shall from part this partnership.” 

Hongkong OFW Agnes Tenorio

Bakit mo ako pinapatigil sa pagtulong at pag-refer sa inyong tanggapan (POLO/OWWA) tungkol sa kanilang problema at hinaing?  Kung babaliktarin ko at sabihin sa iyo ang mga katagang ito “OFW Ako, Labor Attaché lang Kayo!” What would be your reaction? You should not treat us like the way Philippine Labor Attaché to Hongkong Romulo Salud treated OFW Agnes Tenorio. Wala kang karapatang patigilin ako. We are the “true unsung heroes” and “the savior of our nation”, don’t you know that – Atty. Labor Attaché?

 I respectfully request the Vice President and Presidential Adviser on OFW Affairs Jejomar Binay in your upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia and so with DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, to please evaluate the individual performance of the members of the diplomatic corps, especially officials from the office of POLO/OWWA to determine the merits of their continuing tour of duty. I am so sure that some of the “wheat should be separated from the chaff” or else kawawa ang mga OFWs na nangangailangan ng agarang tulong sa ating mga magigiting na diplomats.

Salamat po!

related post: http://ofwempowerment.wordpress.com/category/hit-u-hard-a-little/

The Al Khobar “Embassy on Wheels”

Please also be noted that the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh will be closed from 14 November to 19 November 2010 in observance of the Eid El-Adha Holidays.

 

A N N O U N C E M E N T :

EMBASSY ON WHEELS – PHILIPPINE OFFICIALS IN SAUDI ARABIA WILL CONDUCT AN “EMBASSY ON WHEELS” CONSULAR SERVICE FOR FILIPINOS AT INTERNATIONAL PHILIPPINE SCHOOL IN AL-KHOBAR ON Dec. 16 and 17, 2010.

VP calls for Multi-Agency Response to OFW Concerns

VP CALLS FOR MULTI-AGENCY RESPONSE TO OFW CONCERNS
Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010

Philippine Vice President and Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns Jejomar Binay

Vice President and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns Jejomar C. Binay today called for a multi-agency response to the concerns of OFWs, noting the multitude of issues facing them.
 
Binay has met with officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to know their respective functions, and discuss the welfare, concerns and issues that OFWs face abroad.
 
“Sa aking naririnig, di nagkukulang o nagpapabaya ang pamahalaan sa pagtulong sa mga kababayan nating pumupunta sa abroad. Titingnan namin kung paano pa makatutulong at ano pa ang mga pagkukulang na dapat naming mapunan,” Binay said.
 
During the briefings, the three agencies informed Binay that the main concerns of OFWs include repatriation, illegal recruitment, excessive collection of placement fees, and legal assistance among others.
 
Binay said close coordination of agencies will be essential in addressing these concerns. He added that it will also help the government to avoid overlapping of duties and responsibilities, and the wastage of funds.
 
“Nais ko ring hingin ang partisipasyon ng mga lokal na pamahalaan sa pagtugon sa mga pangangailangan ng ating mga OFW. Naniniwala akong malaki ang maitutulong nila dahil mas kilala nila kung sino man ‘yong mga mamamayan nilang nangibang-bansa para magtrabaho,” Binay said.
 
Meanwhile, Binay mentioned the government will give assistance to the family of OFW Marlon Cueva, who was found dead in the lavatory of a Gulf Air plane. The family of Cueva, who is an OWWA member, will receive P120,000 monetary assistance, a negosyo cart franchise and a scholarship for one of his three children.
 
POEA records showed that the Philippines is the premiere manning capital of the world with over 3,500 workers deployed daily. In 2009, around 1.4 million Filipinos went to work abroad, mostly in the Middle East.

ofwempowerment blog: one year stats

To our ofwempowerment readers,

Data Stats

Please note that  one (1) year viewing statistics for ofwempowerment blog as of yesterday 18 October 2010  has so far recorded a total of 32,765 direct hits to our “homepage” ; and the highest viewed entry was Iqama Rules, Jawasat Procedures, Repatriation Advisories  seconded by New Saudi Labor Law.  

The record also showed that July 20, 2010 was the highest hits recorded by “day” with 537 pages viewed by our readers across the globe.

For the recorded statistics re: “Comments“, the New Saudi Labor Law got the highest number of 331 followed by Iqama  Rules, Jawasat Procedures, Repatriation  Advisories with a total of 169 and  70  for OFW Guide.  

Thanks a lot!  Maraming maraming Salamat Po sa inyong patuloy at mainit na pagsusubaybay!   

BongA 

Top Posts for 365 days ending 2010-10-18 (Summarized)

Summarize: Year   From 2009-10-18 to 2010-10-18 

Title Views  
Home page 32,765 More stats
Iqama Rules, Jawazat Procedures, Repatri 6,475 More stats
New Saudi Labor Law 4,350 More stats
OFW Guide 1,909 More stats
Rep. Act #10022 1,861 More stats
About Me 1,153 More stats
Employee Benefits: End of Service Gratui 1,132 More stats
Top 10 Misconceptions About Islam 1,124 More stats
Salient Features of the Saudi Labor Law 867 More stats
Loan Assistance to OFWs 836 More stats

Busiest day: 537 views on Tuesday, July 20, 2010

KSA Exit & Re-entry Visa Online (Internet and SMS based services)

KSA Exit and Re-entry Visa Online (Internet and  SMS based services)

The WEBSITE

The WorldWideWeb

The Saudi Passport Department has launched a service to enable exit and re-entry visas to be issued online. This  was one of the new Internet-based services being introduced for both Saudis and expatriates. Although the department’s website (www.gdp.gov.sa) is in Arabic, there is an option to display forms and instructions on how to complete them in English language.

All who wish to benefit from these services can simply fill in forms through registering on the website and the forms could be filled without needing to visit the centers.

An initial one-off registration, however, needs to be completed and delivered to a local passport office.

Apart from the basic information section, the Ishaar services could be used for notifications regarding a passport.

The Muqueem services are for companies and institutions that need to complete paperwork regarding their employees, while there is a separate section for individuals. read more>>>>>

Open Reply to Rose

Dear Rose,

Hindi ako taga OWWA, isa rin po akong OFW na katulad ninyo. Nais ko rin pong mag for good pero hindi pa sapat ang naiipon para makapagsimula. Nakapag loan na rin ako sa OWWA pero ito ay sa contruction ng fence sa aking bahay, maliit lamang pero nakatulong na rin sa akin ang OWWA. I’ll share you a little about OWWAs OFW reintegration program.

OWWA has already an existing livelihood program for returning OFWs who don’t want to work abroad again. This program is a joint undertaking of OWWA and National Livelihood Support Fund (NLSF). The program helps OFWs to become an entrepreneur when they decide to return into the mainstream of our society. It is not just only for individuals but also to organizations. Possible business opportunities are 1) general merchandise and buy and sell, groceries etc. 2) repair shops, carenderia, parlors etc., 3) Meat and fruit processing etc 4) agri-business.

All OFWs and their dependents can avail for a loan, all you need to do is to visit OWWA Regional office near in your area. I advice you na sa ngayon palang na andito ka, papuntahin mo na ang member ng iyong pamilya or asawa para magtanong sa mga kailangan kung paano maka avail sa loan para sa pag uwi mo handa ka na sa iyong gagawin.

If ever you’re residing Laguna, instruct your family members to visit ATIKHA in San Pablo, Laguna. This NGO or Non-government organization helps OFW and OFW family members in determining viable business in your area. They will give training and assist you to start the operation. If you have time please visit this site:    http://www.atikha.org/index.php 

Good luck and please share this message to our fellow OFWs.

Salamat sa pagbisita.

Bong

P.S. To my readers and fellow OFW, I just want to share with you a Video taken at ATIKHA web site. The title of this Video  is  “Migrants’ children struggle with absence of loved ones.”

True or Not, WE deserve to know

True or not, WE deserve to know

Riyadh, 7  October 2010 - Four Filipina nurse were abducted and allegedly victims of rape in two separate incidents, according to Filipino migrant rights group in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Alarmed with such incidents Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan-Middle East appeal to the Philippine Embassy to conduct an investigation regarding the gruesome details of the incident allegedly done to the Filipina nurses.

According to KGS chairperson Eric Jocson, who conducted their own investigation, the victims were Filipina nurses working in several hospitals in Riyadh. In the first case, announced by Jocson one of the victims works in Riyadh Kharj Hospital (RKH) also known as Riyadh Military Hospital.

Crime against woman: naked realities

Based on initial investigation, the nurse was among the passengers of the hospital bus service but she was left behind and decided to take a cab. While on the way to her accommodation, unidentified man blocked the cab and forced the victim to his car. The Filipina nurse was found later in the desert and in critical condition. It was learned that there was an indication that she was abused. After two weeks the victim died.

In the second case, according to Jocson, three Filipina nurses who work in the National Guard Hospital in the same city were walking from their accommodation to buy something at a nearby department store. According to the witnesses, a car suddenly stops and forced the three Filipina nurses into their car.

After few days, the three Filipinas were found in a remote area in the mentioned city. The shocking discovery showed signs that the victims were gang raped based on the initial medical examination results that there were lacerations on sensitive parts of their bodies. Suspects of this heinous series of acts to Filipina nurses are still at-large.

Engr. Faizal Sharque, Executive Council member of the OFW Congress-Riyadh, a group of Filipino Community organizations and leaders advocating OFW issues and concerns reminds everyone not only to Filipina nurses working in this oil rich region to refrain from going out at nights. “Nurses who are invited by other nationalities and even fellow Filipinos outside their accommodation during night in any given places and time should not accept invitation”,  Sharque said.

“We are not in Manila where you can just roam around and paint the town red”, he added.

Member organizations of OFW Congress are also requesting the Philippine Embassy to investigate this ghastly news around the Filipino Community.

“Our nurses are here because our country can’t provide job to thousands of nursing graduates each year; and they received such horrifying deaths in exchange for a dollar”, OFWC said.

OFWC added that “the Filipino community leaders in Riyadh sincerely appeals to the good Consul General Ezzedin Tago to look into this matter, true or not, Filipino deserve to know if this country is still safe to us OFWs. If it is true please seek justice on our behalf”.

Consul General Ezzedin Tago has been recently designated by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs as Charge D’Affaires, ad interim, of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh. He was the Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah prior to his transfer in Riyadh.

In 2008, a rape case dubbed as “Rape on Christmas Eve” was the one greeted the good Consul General in the first days of his duty as Consul General in Jeddah, now, the same greetings in Riyadh in the first week of his duty.

A blog “Definitely for Filipino”

At first, I never thought that blogging will be part of my daily routine or perhaps became part of my life.  My week would be empty if I can’t post anything and my days would be boring if I don’t receive or read  comments and inquiries from our readers more particularly fellow OFWs.

And it is a fulfilling day if I can share with someone my thoughts, advices and opinions. Though I can’t say that what I shared or reply to those who asked my opinions are perfect, but it’s quite relieving that someone out there believes in you.

Blogging is being promoted as one of the easiest ways to promote oneself, organization, company or a product, etc. My friends asked me why I don’t put any ads on this blog and other money making features that can make money or earn money out of it. I told them blogging from the start is just a hobby and this is my personal blog and I am determined to write anything that will pop out in my mind, no one can ask me what to do, what to write and what to say because I owned this blog. I am the writer, the editor and publisher rolled into one.

Blogs these days are very popular form of expressing one’s self, pouring out your emotions on a certain topic  that you think entertaining or interesting to others or posting something that you think an important events, ideas and useful information that your readers may know.

The Philippines has plenty of historical buildings still standing today. To me, this particular building really stands out as it is one of the few that has survived the test of time and war. I am going to make the photos speak for themselves. (Click the Photo)

During most of my spare time in the office and at home, I surf the internet, and read blogs too that might interest me and give me an idea on what to post.  Today, I stumble upon a blog that I may consider calling it  “a fantastic blog” and a very informative blog in which you can find all the topics you want, from business, living, sports, technology, news, travel, photography, you name it!  You can find in this blog. It even has a chat room and a store, huh! If you’re a writer, you can submit articles. The design is superb and neat.  If you want “Nostalgic Videos”, it has! You can even watch “The Battle in Manila, 1945”.  Whew! My snappy salute to Ben Totanes the creator of DEFINITELY FILIPINO.

Want to see it for yourself guys! Visit “the blog for online Filipinos”, DEFINITELY FILIPINO!

Wait and see…

Kuwait announced that they will abolish sponsorship system in their country.  This is indeed a good news for expatriates in Kuwait.  Whose next in Gulf countries?

Saudi Arabia? Well, I don’t think so. If they are sincere enough to abolish sponsorship system, it should have been done ten years ago.

Actually, the plan to abolish sponsorship in Saudi Arabia have been the talk of the town since year 2000 and up to now the Saudi government is still drafting its Implementing Guidelines, given the fact that the effect of the abolition of the sponsorship system could also harm its own people.  

Saudi and expatriates queue at an Afghan foodshop in Jeddah in this file photo. Of the 27,136,977 people registered under the latest general census, 18,707,576 are Saudis and the rest are expatriates. ARABNEWS

Yes, putting an end to sponsorship system can eliminate exploitation of foreign workers. Once it is abolish, employer would not be responsible for any actions of the employee outside from the worksite. That includes the freedom from restrictions. Runaway workers will then have the choice to stay in the Kingdom or find another employer but the planned system should be implemented in a way that it could not be abused by the worker.  On the other hand, the said plan can minimize or totally eradicate a visa trade which is rampant in the Kingdom nowadays.

However, I have a doubt that the Saudi government is serious in this issue.  Last month  online news cited  Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior the pronouncement that the  “proposed unified recruitment companies will provide workers within 24 hours to people who need them, provided that applicants do not seek people with uncommon specializations or rare skills.”  It even reported that “applicants or employer can employ the workers for two years”.  Thus the creation of a government commission or a department handling recruitment jobs.  In my point of view, they will not abolish sponsorship system but they will encourage employers to hire workers through a unified recruitment firms in the Kingdom. In this manner, it will gradually eliminate sponsorship in the long run and then control expatriates in the Kingdom in the hands of a government recruitment firm.  Why not?  

The plan to abolish sponsorship has been in the air for a decade and why up to now the implementing guidelines still in the making?  Does this make sense?

Let us wait and see.   

Congratulations to the newly elected officers of Black Python!

OFW Congress Pres. Alex Veloso Bello (BPMA's Mass Induction)

 I was invited yesterday to witness the mass induction of the newly set of officers, members and  promoted Karate belters of the Black Python Martial Arts Association, Inc.!   CONGRATULATIONS!

OFW Congress-Riyadh President, Alex Veloso Bello was present  to induct the officers along with OFWC Executive Council Member Engr. Faizal Sharque.  The induction rites was held at a resort yesterday October 1, 2010.

BPMA has been very active in Filipino community activities and community service. The association recently was being honored as Outstanding OFW Congress-Riyadh member  in recognition for their untiring community service and sense of volunteerism.  BPMA were assigned as Marshals in the implementation process of the  2004/2007/2010 Oveseas Absentee Voting in Riyadh held at Embassy compound.  They also donate blood to those in needs.

Grandmaster/Founder/Overall Chief Instructor/7th Dan Black Belter "Boy Macion" (Exhibition Match)

The association was organized in Year 1998 and  registered as Filipino Community partner of the Philippine Embassy/POLO/OWWA in Year 2000. BPMA is also registered with Securities and Exchange Commission. It was founded by 7th Dan Black Belter  “Boy Macion.”  The main headquarter of the group is in Hinundayan, Souther Leyte.

The mass induction was also highlighted with kata’s and karate combat and judo exhibitions. Parlor games and gift giveaways contributed to the joyous occasion.

I would like to thank BPMA Grandmaster and Founder “Boy Macion” and officers for the certificate of appreciation they presented to the blogger during the ceremony. BPMA is always a partner of KAKAMPI-KSA and OFW Congress in many community activities since the 1990 up to present.

Certificate of Appreciation- Thank You! BPMA.