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.   

Hanggang Kailan – Until When..


Hanggang Kailan – Until When..

May of this year, news broke out that Saudi Arabia will stop hiring Indonesian workers that includes household helpers. The reason – the cost of recruiting labor from Indonesia is ridiculous. The Saudis spent SR 9000 in getting an Indonesian maid and Indonesian government also asked  for a  SR 375.00 increase of wage in all Indonesian workers coming to the Kingdom.  

On the other hand, Indonesian government banned their warm human bodies to work in Kuwait and up to now the two countries are still exchanging drafts of a Memorandum of Understanding that would help improve the conditions of Indonesian’s working in Kuwait. The Indonesian government promise to lift the ban if the requests to provide more protection of their nationals are written in the MoU.

Early of this year, there were rumors that Saudi government will likewise moving towards stopping the recruitment of housemaids coming from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam for alleged failures to supply qualified housemaids that suit the local culture and tradition.

L.T. Ariyawathi, a 49-year-old Sri Lankan maid

Probably this time it is not Saudi Arabia that will impose the ban but the Sri Lankan government should do the first move after what had happened to L.T. Ariyawathi, a 49-year-old Sri Lankan maid who complained of maltreatment and abused.

Ariyawathi x-rays have shown that she had 24 nails and needles in her body. “They (her employer and his family) did not allow me even to rest. The woman at the house had heated the nails and then the man inserted them into my body,”  Ariyawathi was quoted as saying in the Lakbima, a newspaper published in the local Sinhalese language.

Without Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam as a source of warm human bodies in the Saudi households, there will be more likely Filipina domestic helpers in every Saudi houses in the Kingdom. It means –  Philippine government is happy, the more OFW remittances, the better and merrier.

Believe me this countless sob stories of abused to our Filipina domestic helpers abroad will continue and surely there will be like  L.T. Ariyawathi if the Philippine Government could not come up with concrete measures to protect them.

 In 1998 Saudi Arabia and Philippines enter into less formal bilateral arrangements focused on household helpers such as: that overseas employers must guarantee the safety of the workers and provide human condition in the workplace, give them one day off a week, pay them overtime for work during Friday’s and grant them a two-week annual leave or 30 days upon completion of 2 years. However, we all knew that these agreements based on the mutually agreed employment contract never materialize when the workers arrived at site. The fact that there are many complaints and runaways  housed in Resource Centers and welfare centers in the Gulf countries, the so-called arrangement are not efficiently being implemented.

Last year, Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council passed a bill  to improve legal protections for the estimated 1.5 million domestic workers in the country, but the measure still falls short of international standards according to Human Rights Watch.

I, personally appeal to Rep. Carlos Padilla and to all the members of the House of the Representatives fact finding committee to move and let your recommendation proceed to the next level of talks among your peers.  A total ban on sending Filipino maids or domestic helpers to the Middle East is the right and concrete move.  

The recommendations was made last year by members of the fact-finding mission after they found out that many of the Filipino maids working in different places in the Middle East were being treated as slaves and were sexually and physically abused.

 “Kailan titigil ang pang-aabuso at kailan matatapos ang kalbaryo, ng mga taong hindi masagot ang mga tanong at walang lakas lumaban…. Hanggang Kailan”

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

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

pragmatically witty


The Trophy

I just read a realistic response out of 1,387 comments on issue about  WAR in the recent Yahoo news online regarding  future tank defense system.  I found it pragmatically witty.

read>>> Futuristic tank defense system unveiled

I think it is just a waste of time. Some country will come out with something to counter this. It is like a merry go round, it keeps going around in cycles. Why don’t they come out with something that prolong human lives rather than finding more ways to kill. Such a waste on funds and human resources. Suggest, we fire all the nukes and exterminate humans from the earth. Then we don’t need to kill anymore. – Confucius

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 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! 

(P)arty for (P)ersonal (P)olitical ambition


Political Tidbits

(Re-published) A friend and an active Filipino community leader in the Kingdom (name withheld) called me last night and reminded me of the consequences that I might be getting into in the world of  Philippine politics. He is referring to our e-group named Partido Pangdaigdigang Pilipino, PPP for short. He added that like any other e-group some individuals might be using it in their personal political interest (PPP- Party for Personal Political ambition).

He maybe be right or wrong, everyone has the right of opinion. But from the start it never occurred to me that PPP will be utilized in one way or the other for political interest of  few aspiring politicians. 

Being one of the prime mover in the creation of this e-group, it was formed primarily as a forum or a venue to interact other Filipino communities worldwide whose objective is to discuss and possibly unite Global Filipinos for political empowerment.

PPP is not yet a political party of Overseas Filipinos, it was created as the starting point or  the first step towards OFW political empowerment.  As what I’ve said never regret joining this group. 

However, PPP is aiming that it will be a political party in the  future for overseas Filipinos represented by various Filipino groups  worldwide.

Note:  Published: 1/17/07

The OFW Journalism Consortium: A Reader’s View


The OFW Journalism Consortium: A Reader’s View
by ILDEFONSO F. BAGASAO

(click OFJCI Logo to view their Site

(click OFJCI Logo to view their Site

AMONG my peers, there seems to be a common observation in the reporting of any kind of news that media generally shows bias for sensational stories that whet the reading public’s appetite for such accounts but which incidentally also sells newspapers, broadsheets and tabloids.
News reportage on Filipino migrants is no exception.

Stories about overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) coming home in coffins, jumping out of the windows, committing suicides, of rape, torture, and other forms of maltreatment in foreign shores, continue to dominate our daily newspapers. One has to find balance and variety in reporting of this or any kind of news.

For one like myself engaged in advocacy for migrant empowerment, I continue to wonder; given that we have an estimated 10 million of our fellow citizens working and making a living overseas, there must be and, indeed, there should be success stories and other development-oriented diaspora activities initiated by migrants all over the world that mirror their sacrifices and continued love for their origin countries.

However, if one has not scoured papers, studies and reports, or participate in conferences of development, international and multilateral agencies, academic and research institutions, which monitor, support, assist or enhance these activities, the public remains unaware of the important contributions to the economic, cultural and human capital made by migrants to their countries of origin, and the enormous challenges that had to be surmounted by people who once upon a time made a momentous decision to migrate.

Which brings me to the work of the OFW Journalism Consortium, a small band of journalists who in the last few years since their formal organization, chose to focus on development-oriented migration journalism, bringing to the public stories, reports, and even person-to-person accounts, that may well have escaped our notice.

I am quite sure the OFWJC’s brand of journalism has enhanced the public’s level of awareness on core issues, concerns and challenges of Philippine migration, diaspora activities that highlight the overseas Filipinos’ love for their native land and, at the same time, has pointed out to policymakers where reforms should be directed.

As a migrant advocate since 1999 to the present, I know of no other media group, here or elsewhere, that is engaged in this type of journalistic work regarding migrants.

Their reports have often been quoted or cited not only in academic papers but even by local and foreign newspapers. Perhaps, these are indications their decision a few years ago to focus on migrant issues was a wise one.

Well, they don’t sell newspapers –they only write and report these stories.

If that is not commitment, I don’t know what is. end

Editor’s note: The author is president of the nonprofit Economic Resource Center for Overseas Filipinos (Ercof), and plays the bass guitar and keyboards.

OFW’s opposed newly appointed OWWA Board


OFW’s opposed newly appointed OWWA Board

Saturday, 22 August 2009,  Riyadh –  An online Petition is now gaining momentum demanding the recall of  President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s  new appointee to OWWA Board of Trustees.

OWWA BOT

OWWA BOT

Just recently, PGMA  appointed  Mr. Joselito “Jojo” Sapio  as  new member of OWWA Board of Trustees and according to the Petition,  the new appointee was  GMA’s  election Campaign Manager in Hongkong and the founder of “GMA Pa rin Movement.”

The said online Petition demanded that the  conduct of selecting land-based OFW representation in the Board should be more impartial, transparent and independent.

The Petition demands includes:

Increase the number of OFW representatives to the OWWA Board and reduce those from the  government.

Make the OWWA work concretely for the welfare needs of OFWs and their families by scrapping the OWWA Omnibus Policies and promulgating a pro-OFW Charter.

The OWWA Fund should never be used for the personal and political agenda of a few.

For the past years, OWWA has consistently been questioned with regard to the management and allocation of its funds. One of the most controversial issues involved the transfer of the OWWA Medicare Fund to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in 2004. This was made after Health Sec. Francisco Duque (then head of PhilHealth) wrote to PGMA endorsing the transfer, saying such would have a “significant impact” on the impending election at that time.”  the Petition said.

A year ago PGMA rejected  an online petition asking PGMA to  appoint Dr. Carlito L. Astillero a  Saudi-based Cebuano pathologist as chief of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) vacated by the then OWWA Administrator Marianito Roque who is now the current DOLE  Chief.  

The current OWWA Board of Trustees are:

Hon. Marianito D. Roque – Secretary of Labor and Employment and Chairman

Hon. Carmelita S. Dimzon –  OWWA Administrator and Vice-Chairman

Members:

Hon. Luzviminda G. Padilla – Undersecretary, DOLE
Hon. Esteban B. Conejos – Undersecretary, DFA
Hon. Jennifer J. Manalili – Administrator, POEA
Hon. Arturo C. Bumatay – Director IV, DBM
Hon. Gil S. Beltran – Undersecretary, DOF
Hon. Victorino F. Balais – Representative, Labor Sector
Hon. Rene Y. Soriano – Representative, Management Sector
Hon. Gregorio S. Oca – Representative, Sea-Based Sector
Hon. Corazon P. Carsola – Representative, Land-Based Sector
Hon. Bai Omera H. Dianalan-Lucman – Representative, Women’s Sector

The said Petition strongly  opposed  the arbitrary and biased selection of the land-based OFW representative to the Board of Trustees of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

You may access to the Petition by clicking the link below :

http://www.PetitionOnline.com/owwa4ofw/  ( “No to GMA ‘yes-man’ in OWWA Board of Trustees”.)BongA

related post:  Migrant Workers Day Nothing to Celebrate Amend R.A. 8042

The same People…


Migrante at DFA

Migrante at DFA

When Filipinos heard or watched about Migrante’s activities in Philippines and other countries kadalasan mag comment kaagad yan “Leftist naman ang mga iyan”. Pag sinabing “Leftist”, usually you are referring to those who oppose on how the administration governs the country and its people.  So if you’re opposing or contradicting a certain policies of the Government then those Congressmen and Senators who opposed the administration of GMA is Leftist!  According to them “NO” – sila daw ay mga leaders belong to the “Opposition”. Huh! Sige na nga.

In Web definition, the word Leftist particularly in politics means “left-wing, political left, leftist and the Left are terms applied to positions that focus on changing traditional social orders and creating a more egalitarian distribution of wealth and privilege”. 

Egalitarianism on the other hand is defined either as a “political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights, or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people”. 

In the Overseas Filipino Community  here in Saudi Arabia, Migrante is “an alliance of various OFW groups committed to protecting and upholding the rights and welfare of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia and their families in the home front” (source http://migrante-ksa.blogspot.com/).  

Kung wala sila walang maingay, walang kakalampag sa mga kinauukulan upang mabigyan ng kasagutan ang mga hinaing ng ating mga kapwa OFWs“.

For me, I don’t consider Migrante a leftist group; I consider them an organization committed to help others in needs especially to those whose rights have been violated.  

Sen. Mar ROxas with MIGRANTE

Sen. Mar Roxas w/ Migrante (Click photo & read Sen. Mar Roxas "Stronger Protection for OFWs Urged)

Those fellow OFWs arrested by Saudi authorities were there in a right place and the right time. The meeting perhaps was called to update the status of their cases being handled or monitored  by kind individuals belong to the group Kapatiran ng mga Mangagawang Pilipino sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS).

I knew some of them; they are the same OFWs who help us in the implementation of Philippine Embassy on-site mobile overseas absentee voting registration.  They are the same ordinary OFWs who donate goods and food at Bahay Kalinga intended for our runaway maids.  They are the same people I mingled inside the Philippine Embassy during Filcom events. They are the same people who help us for the orderly conduct of Absentee Voting in Philippine Embassy.

Now, they are the same group of OFWs that needs help from our Philippine Embassy/POLO/OWWA.

DARNAAA!!! Kumakatok lang Po! Distress Call


A friend of mine called me a few minutes ago asking for my help. His friend, a Filipina Household Service Worker (PGMA’s Super Maids) called him narrating her ordeal in the hands of her Egyptian employer (bakit kaya Egyptian, siguro naloko naman to ng recruiter). She was “kono” maltreated and abused”. At sabi pa sa kanya na pag wala daw tumulong sa kanyang tumakas “tatalon daw siya sa ika-apat na palapag ng building na kanyang tinitirahan.  Tanong ko sa kaibigan ko “Bai basin imo na UYAB, pagkatapos ma rescue kunin mo sa Bahay Kalinga at ibahay habang buhay” sabi niya “he he, ikaw talaga bai, hindi oy”! para bang nahihiya, he he. 

FHSW "Darna in Real Life"

FHSW “Darna in Real Life”

Well, well, well,  im not new in this kind of distress call, some of them true and some of them not, “bakit pa kasi nauso ang cellphone may text mate tuloy”. 

Pero wala akong magagawa kundi tutulong sa ating mga kawawang “PGMA’s Super Maids” in Filipino dialect “DARNA“.   

Sabi ko sa kaibigan ko “Bai, gawin ko ang aking makakaya na makaabot sa mga kaibigan “kono” natin  sa Embassy at POLO/OWWA, pero huwag kang umasa dahil yong problema sa Makkah/Jeddah na nakakarating na sa pinaka matayog na opisyal ng Konsulada natin doon, sa awa ng Diyos wala pa akong natatanggap na balita”.  Dagdag ko “pag nagka ganon, bai! hindi malayo mag ALA DARNA yan” huwag naman sana. &*#@ Kumakatok lang po!. Sensya na.

Let us wield the power of the overseas vote


INQUIRER.net First Posted 12:37:00 07/05/2009 Filed Under: Migration, Elections, Eleksyon 2010,

Some four years ago, the Overseas Absentee Voting Act and the Dual Citizenship Act were passed by the Philippine Congress and signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The first enabled overseas Filipino immigrants to vote in Philippine elections. The second allowed those of us who had become naturalized citizens of other countries to reacquire Philippine citizenship and thus enjoy the right of suffrage, among other rights.

OFW Vote

OFW Vote

We who live in America lobbied long and hard to have both laws passed. We said we wanted to alleviate poverty, stimulate national development, and change the culture of corruption and incompetence in government. We demanded a say in the way the country was being run because we were keeping its economy afloat with our billions in dollar remittances. And we argued that our voting potential, numbering in the millions, could place honest, competent, and dedicated leaders in office and bring about a renaissance in the Philippines.

But what has happened when we were finally given the right to vote? Of the millions that make up the overseas Filipino population, only a few disappointing thousands have bothered to register and even fewer actually voted in the last Philippine elections.

Many reasons have been given for this. Stringent election rules and requirements. The belief that our votes would not be counted anyway in an electoral process notorious for cheating. The cynical view that the incumbent rascals would simply be replaced by a new set of thieves and incompetents.

But weren’t these the very reasons why we demanded our rights as citizens? Didn’t we insist that our enlightened votes could change the status quo?

As strangers in a foreign land, we have dared uncertainties and challenges and have become masters of our own destiny. Should we now become defeatists in the face of a challenge that we are perfectly capable of confronting?

In only a few months, a crucial election will take place. In May 2010, a new president will be elected, amidst increasing poverty and growing unrest among the masses and allegations of rampant corruption, extra-judicial killings, and abuse of power. Once more we are being asked, as overseas Filipino citizens, to participate in the electoral process and help achieve the reforms that our country desperately needs.

It is not enough to send money. Not enough to criticize and complain. Let us not turn a deaf ear to the pleas of our country and people. Let us perform our sacred duty as Filipino citizens. Let us wield the power of the overseas vote.

Yes, we can elect competent and honest public officials if we cast our votes wisely. Yes, we can make our votes count by being vigilant and involved. Yes, we can help lift the Philippines from its miserable state.

The last day of registration to vote in the 2010 presidential elections is on August 31. Let us all register and vote.

We can do it. Yes, we can!

Global Nation:  Let us wield the power of the overseas vote 

****

related post:     Absentee Voters GO Out and VOTE  ; Riyadh Group Says Yes to OFW Political Party

Pasaway

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Yesterday, I read an online news at GMANews TV  about “72 Filipinos” rounded up during a concert inside a compound in  eastern Riyadh.  Gays are not prohibited in Saudi Arabia but  display of homosexual behavior is strictly forbidden.  Such offense could suffer imprisonment and lashing for immorality.

Vice President Noli De Castro who is also the Presidential Adviser on OFW Affairs reminded OFWs to abide laws in their respective host country more particularly in Saudi Arabia.

This blogger also reminded fellow kababayan’s in KSA to respect the strict laws of the host country in an entry titled ” Immorality a Serious Offense “.

Just two weeks ago  the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the Kingdom raided a Gambling Den (Sabongan) in Buraydah.  A total of 150 gamblers in different nationalities many of them Filipinos  were arrested during the raid.

2Gambling is also strictly prohibited in the Kingdom.  Caught and if found guilty of organizing such gambling arena will be imprisoned for months, lashing and be deported to their respective country of origin and be blacklisted to enter back again in the Kingdom (see related entry “Massive Fingerprinting of Expats Begins“).

Filipinos said “we are smarter than other nationalities when it comes to work, we are not lazy, we are very industrious, we have bigger brains, we can invent things that can make our life more easier and safer”  that is why in every corners of the world there are Filipinos and it is true. Though sad to say that in every part of this world there are also “PASAWAY Filipinos” see more photos below.

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Diplomat Ako OFW lang Kayo


Online GMAnews.TV reported that Department of Labor and Employment official urged overseas Filipino workers to expose discourteous Philippine embassy and labor personnel in their work sites so that they may be punished.

Wow! A GOOD news! A lot of them in the Philippine Mission abroad. It’s about time to expose and name those “insensitive, rude, discourteous and arrogant” diplomat “kono” manning government agencies that are supposed to look for the welfare and protection of our fellow OFWs.

But how about a word coming from the mouth of a top diplomat telling OFW “Diplomat Ako, OFW lang kayo!” would it be a valid cause for immediate dismissal? Maybe a new posting will do.

"FBack Off"

"FBack Off"

 

In this photo during ZTE hearing at Philippine Senate, De Venecia said that Mike Arroyo approached him and with a finger that was about “two inches from his nose,” told him to “back off.”

It is just like Diplomat Ako, OFW lang Kayo!”