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

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Congratulations! AKBAYAN

Congratulations! To Akbayan Party-list  as one of  the  Party-list group winners in the  May 10, 2010 election.

Akbayan’s nominees are:  renowned economist and activist Walden Bello, agrarian reform and women advocate Atty. Arlene Bag-ao, peace crusader Tom Villarin; migrants champion Ellene Sana, youth leader Francis “Kiko” Isaac and peasant leader Ruperto “Ka Uper” Aleroza.

Akbayan is one of the pioneering groups in the party-list system.  In 1998, when the system was first implemented, former congresswoman Loretta Ann Rosales was the group’s first representative and was also represented  by Liza Hontiveros Baraquel in the 14th Congress.

The Constitution allots 20 percent of the seats in the House to party-list groups. For a group to get a seat in Congress, it must win at least two percent of the total votes cast for the party-list system.

We need charter change

We need Charter Change

By: Bong Amora

I : 2010 Election a success

Majority of the Filipino people actively embraced the new voting system, the “Automated Election System (AES)” which basically contributed to the success of the Philippine May 2010 election. It also means that manual election system is now part of the Philippine history. Although there were isolated glitches but rectifying the same would be an overwhelming success in the future Philippine electoral processes.

Congratulations to the winners! Especially to my President. The mandate of the Filipino people has spoken and now Aquino is armed with that mandate. Please don’t disappoint us, the Filipinos is giving you a chance to eradicate corruption once and for all. Don’t tarnish the good reputation of Ninoy and Cory. Keep us out from poverty and fix the problems we so desperately want to fix, the infrastructure, education, energy and health care.

II: The Aftermath

However, the aftermath of election remains unresolved. For each election brought a landslide of garbage. These are the rubbish generated not only by voting the wrong people in public office. These are the waste left in the election campaign of candidates from local to national to village level fighting for elective positions in government – posters, brochures, banners, placards, pamphlets, sample ballots, stickers, calendars, pins, buttons, banners, and other printed materials. Not to mention the billions of Pesos the government spent every election. A taxpayer’s money used to exercise our right of suffrage is a lot of money that instead can be used in other form for the benefit of the poor Filipinos.

Perhaps a two party system is the answer to this problem. It can lessen waste of votes and waste of taxpayer’s money.

III: What is a two party system?

Two Party System

Two Party System

The two-party system is a form of party system where two major political parties dominate in most elections, in part, at any level.

Under a two-party system, one of the two parties in general has a majority of the legislature (the parliament or a house on a bicameral system),  and is determined as the majority party. The smaller parties as the minority party called.

Prominent examples of countries with two-party systems including the U.S., Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Malta and Japan. Even though these countries are often thought of as two-party states, other parties have little longer, but significant bases and have seen the candidates elected to local or regional offices. In general, a two-party system, a share of the political spectrum in a field right and left parties.

Some governments, certain chambers of a two-party system and the other similar to a multiparty system. For example, the policy of Australia largely two-party (if the Liberal Party and National Party are both parties at the national level because of their longstanding alliance) for the Australian House of Representatives are elected by a ballot of the majority. However, others are more common in the Australian Senate, a proportional electoral system uses more amenable to smaller parties.

IV: Federalism

One of the most complex foundations of the United States is the principle of federalism. This is the idea that the central government does not control all power in the country. States also have the powers reserved for them. Each state is responsible for its own affairs without always relying on the federal government.

I think the form of government that we are now simply too overwhelmed with problems, the services required by the people and other things that need attention. If it decides to somehow transfer the important services closer to people, then at least relieved the national government too much effort. Even the developing countries, the development of sub-economy, and then in different parts of the country is most likely to occur.

If Philippines will embrace a Federal system of Government, we will split into separate regions or states, each with its own autonomy and economics and law. Each region has to manage its own affairs of governance. Maybe, a Governor, the highest chief executive of the region, could head it. Each region will have a democratically elected member of the Senate. We don’t need hundreds of  “districts” lawmakers that will represents in Congress. We don’t need many elected officials. The lesser representations in the Senate or Congress the lesser the corruption in government and could perhaps eradicate rampant vote buying during elections.

Federalism could result in better consultation and cooperation that will lead to improvements in any sector and good management. In the social sector, a federal government can play a key role in ensuring a high quality of life for all citizens in their own regions according to their customs, traditions and beliefs.

The federal region will see to it that the public goods, the supply market is enough and perhaps can compete to other regions in the implementation of infrastructure, learning and training, transportation, healthcare and environment protection.  It will give opportunity for each region, instead of treating them as recipients of services from the national government.

It can also anchor for economic growth and development on a policy of genuine agrarian reform and true industrialization of the regions in the entire country. It will ensure that the Philippine economy produced from all over the country will be competitive in the world market.

The National Federal Government should impartially allocate and encourage foreign and domestic investments among the regions that should translate to the local employment, food on every family’s table, decent housing and medical care, and quality education for all. The delivery of basic social services will always take precedence, as the welfare of the entire nation shall never be sacrifices to gods of the global market.

To the new administration, perhaps it’s about time to think and study a two party political system and a federal form of government for a better Philippines.  But before that, we need  Charter Change. – Bong A.

The lady with a big SMILE: 2010 AKBAYAN Party list nominee

AKBAYAN Party list nominee

AKBAYAN Party-List Nominee : Ellene Sana – Correcting Injustice, Promoting Human and Migrant Rights Here and Abroad.

Ellene Sana, the curly haired small lady with the big smile is an in and out human rights and migrants’ rights advocate. The current Executive Director of the Center for Migrants’ Advocacy-Philippines (CMA), an independent policy advocacy group working on issues of migrant Filipinos through research, education and direct assistance, Ellene is known for being an authority on migrant-related issues often invited as a resource person in forums, governmental and otherwise, both here and abroad. From providing direct assistance to organizing activities to promote the rights of migrant Filipinos, her name has become synonymous with migrants’ advocacy.

She is also acknowledged as a strong advocate of women ‘s issues. Together with women migrant workers, they seek the comprehensive protection of all women migrants from abuse and violence. A licensed Civil Engineer, she decided to leave her comfort zone and work full time to promote and advance the rights of the deprived and underprivileged, something which is close to her heart, being a political detainee herself in Mindanao in 1991.

Then again, Ellene’s advocacy is not limited to her fellow kababayans but also with other marginalized citizens as well. In 1997, Ellene was a founding member and coordinator of the Philippine Solidarity for East Timor and Indonesia (Phil-Seti), then the most active and relevant solidarity group based here in the Philippines which actively campaigned for the democratization of Indonesia under Suharto, and the independence of East Timor. In 1999, she was a member of an International Election Observer Team which monitored the United Nations-sponsored Referendum of East Timor and currently, an active member of the Free Burma Coalition (FBC).

Ellene takes her international solidarity and human rights work so seriously that she became re-acquainted with incarceration. In 1996, she was detained by the Malaysian authorities together with 48 other foreign advocates when they participated in an Asia Pacific Conference on East Timor held in Kuala Lumpur. She was again detained in 1998 this time in Burma by the ruling Military junta because of her pro-democracy activities in support of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Among the most momentous of Ellene’s crusades was the campaign that cemented the participation of Overseas Filipino Workers in our political process. With the help of the CMA and AKBAYAN, the Overseas Absentee Voting Law was passed in 2004, granting voting rights to overseas Filipinos.

However, not everything about the indefatigable Ellene is work. To many young advocates, Ellene is a sort of a “nanay-nanayan”, a nurturing and “cool “mentor and a good friend. She loves music and in a not so busy day, you’ll find her in the company of friends and colleagues singing and dancing to the beat of good-old reggae music.

With her entry in the 2010 partylist elections as one of AKBAYAN’s nominees, Ellene will surely be a strong voice of Filipino migrants in Congress.

First day of the 2010 OAV in Riyadh

The Official Residence of the Philippine Ambassador in Saudi Arabia (Bulletin Boards “Certified List of Overseas Absentee Voters”)

Today,  April 10, 2010  registered  Filipino absentee voters  comprised of Overseas Filipino Workers and  Migrant  Filipinos around the world will start casting  their votes  to choose new  Philippine national leaders, the President, Vice President and 12 Senators and 1 Party List. There are 93 Philippine embassies and consulates general around the globe that includes four designated centers in Saudi Arabia.

As a responsible citizen of the Republic of the Philippines and an absentee voter, it is my obligation to vote and I see to it that I will cast my vote in the first day of the voting period which ends on 10 of  May 2010.

CLOAV

I and my long time friend and Filipino Community leader Alex Veloso Bello were among the first absentee voters to arrive in the Philippine Embassy.  We noticed  that around 7:30 am  Philippine Embassy staff were busy preparing the elections paraphernalia’s  in the basement  of the Embassy where the voting process will takes place for  3rd Overseas Absentee Voting in Riyadh.  

Basement (The Polling Center)

Bulletin boards where the names are posted can be found at the Basketball Court before you enter the polling areas in the basement.  As usual, there were only handful absentee voters who came early in the first day of voting period.

At exactly 8:00 am, all precincts A to Z were already manned by the members of the Board of Election Inspectors.  We were the ones who were recognized as the first to vote.

We were able to meet the Cultural Officer Attache Rosario Malicse  and   Vice Consul Atty. Rousell Reyes , in charge of the 2010 Overseas Absentee Voting at the Philippine Embassy before leaving the Embassy compound.

Alex Veloso Bello at Precinct “B”

There are 52,887 registered voters in Riyadh, 37,063 in Jeddah, 21,537 in Alkhobar and more than 1,000 in Buraidah. There are four designated voting centers in Saudi Arabia, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Consulate General in Jeddah, the International Philippine School in Alkhobar (IPSA) and the Philippine International School in Buraidah.

The first day of the voting period was peaceful and in order. We are hoping that in the next few days absentee voters will troop down to the 4 designated voting centers to cast their votes.  

The Republic of the Philippines Official Seal at the Main Entrance of the Philippine Embassy

 The Philippine embassy officials are requesting those registered  absentee voters during the last 2003, 2006 and 2009 registration to verify their names first in the Certified List of Overseas Absentee Voters (CLOAV), which can be accessed either on the Commission on Elections website (http://www.comelec.gov.ph) or the embassy site: http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org.   You can also access the CLOAV in this blog by clicking this link OAV Philippine Embassy Advisory.   

Those  names  found in the list are required to present either their valid passport or iqama, or any valid identification documents such as OWWA, SSS, Pag-IBIG identification cards or a driver’s license.

 On the next succeeding days, Saturdays to Wednesdays, voting opens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Riyadh. On Thursdays and Friday, voting is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In Alkhobar, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Saturdays to Wednesdays and Thursdays and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Alkhobar and Buraidah.

In Jeddah, voting is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on all days.

On the last day, May 10, voting starts at 8 a.m. in Riyadh, Alkhobar and Buraidah, and 10 a.m. in Jeddah. Voting stops at all centers in the Kingdom at 1 p.m., which coincides with the 6 p.m. end of voting time in the Philippines. – end -

My choice is not your choice

Tomorrow, April 10, 2010 is the first day of Overseas Absentee Voting that will end on May 10, 2010. 

Below are my  choices  whom I feel worthy of my vote.

President: Noynoy Aquino

Vice President: Manuel Roxas

Senators:

1)      Toots Ople

2)      Bebot Bello

3)      Martin Bautista

4)      Ruffy Biazon

5)      Alex Lacson

6)      Lim

7)      Sonia Roco

8)      Liza Hontiveros Baraquel

9)      Enrile

10)   Adel Tamano

11)   Franklin Drilon

12)   Jinggoy Estrada

My Choice

Your choice is not my choice, no one could dictate you to whom you will vote. Just do the right thing according  to what your heart says.  Voting  is sacred, voting is the essential elements of freedom, it is a duty,  and therefore  don’t waste your  right to be heard;  that’s what democracy is all about. – Bong Amora

April 10 to May 10 : Boto Mo Pahalagahan Mo

On April 10, 2010, registered Filipino Absentee voters will head to the polls to vote.  It is a month period from April 10 to May 10, 2010. 

 “Ang tagumpay ng Overseas Absentee Voting ay nakasalalay sa pakikilahok ng bawat isa sa atin.  Let us troop down to the polling station/precinct or to the designated areas abroad where you can make use the power of the overseas vote. 

Ang Boto mo, Pahalagahan mo!

Voting is one of the most important rights and responsibilities we have as  Filipino.  Let us exercise this right of suffrage that we owe to our beloved motherland. Our participation is indeed an important part of  the Philippine electoral process.

Huwag po nating hayaan na bawiin sa atin ang ipinagkaloob na karapatang ipinaglaban natin ng mahigit labing-anim na taon.   

WE  urge our fellow absentee voters  to do your part,  Ipaabot ang nagkakaisang tinig! Gamitin ang karapatang marinig!  Ang Boto mo, Pahalagahan mo!  

GO OUT and VOTE  this coming April 10 to May 10, 2010.     

OFW problem poses major challenge for next president

OFW problem poses major challenge for next president

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

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

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

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

Source: POEA Planning Division

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

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

***

Noynoy’s  Platform re: OFWs 

A Commitment to Transformational Leadership:

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

Susan “Toots” Ople inindorso ng PPP pagka Senador

Susan “Toots” Ople  inindorso ng PPP pagka Senador

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting Proper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PPP Founding Members Chris & Marlyn Lavinia of TFC Balitang ME

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

Group Photo

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

Who’s running and where?

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

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

Click the Map to appear the GMANews.TV Interactive Map

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERNET REGISTRATION AND VOTING TO EMPOWER GLOBAL FILIPINOS

INTERNET REGISTRATION AND VOTING TO EMPOWER GLOBAL FILIPINOS

Quantum Breakthrough

Legislators have filed Senate Bill #3565 that would, inter alia, authorize Internet voter registration and voting. The bill amends R.A. No. 9189, otherwise known as Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) Act of 2003.  The authors of the bill are Senators Angara, Escudero (Committee Chair), Gordon, Pimentel, Santiago and Villar. The bill is ready to be heard and debated on.

The passage of the bill represents a quantum breakthrough in empowering millions of overseas Filipinos by allowing them to exercise their suffrage right in a convenient way. The present system of voter registration and voting requires physical presence at Philippine consulates – a stipulation that has hampered the ability of many Filipinos to register and vote.

A large number of Filipino population concentrations reside in areas that are far removed from the consulate sites. In many cases, potential voters have to invest more than one day to reach the nearest consulate. Delinking voter registration and voting from consulate sites frees up the time that overseas Filipinos would otherwise spend in registration and voting under existing law.

The registration and voting turnout during the national elections of 2004 and 2007 could have yielded significantly higher results had more voter-responsive modes of registration and voting been made available.  Additionally, a paper-less and non-physical site registration and voting would relieve the Department of Foreign Affairs and Commission on Elections of tasks and logistics that are considered burdensome. 

 Key Changes

 Section 6 of SB #3565 provides that, in addition to the use of biometrics: “Remote registration through the Internet may also be allowed based on the guidelines and procedures determined by the commission, provided that the appropriate technology will ensure adequate security and voter authenticity”. During the public hearings on the bill, experts clarified the highly secure elements of Internet registration, including the use of the (1) passport number as voter-unique identification that cannot be replicated by anyone else, and (2) voice metrics that likewise is unique to a particular voter. (Italics and underscoring supplied.)

 As for Internet voting, Section 30 of the bill stipulates: “Authority to adopt other modes or systems using automated election system notwithstanding current procedures and systems hereon provided, for the proper implementation of this act and in view of the peculiarities attendant to the overseas absentee process, the commission may explore and adopt other more efficient, reliable and secure modes or systems, whether paper, electronic technology, or internet-based, for onsite and remote registration and voting, counting, canvassing and consolidation of votes, as well as for the transmittal of results.” (Italics and underscoring supplied.)

 Genesis of Initiatives

 Global Filipino Coalition (GFC), a predecessor organization of Global Filipino Nation (GFN), initiated its advocacy for Internet registration and voting after the 2004 registration and elections. GFC’s international conference held in the Philippine Senate premises in 2005 referred to the need for Internet registration and voting. The initiative was in response to the complaints of overseas Filipinos overseas about the requirement of physical presence for voter registration and voting. 

The issue of distance from Philippine consulates and the mobility of global Filipinos hindered their ability to exercise their suffrage. In collaboration with different groups, GFN pursued without let-up steps leading to the adoption of Internet registration and voting. In 2007, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) carried out pilot e-voting in Singapore.

Organizational Collaboration

 Drawing on the resources and previous efforts of Global Filipino Coalition and Global Filipino Forum (an international initiative that focused on past Charter change issues), GFN held international conferences in July 2007 and May 2008, which included, among others, recommendations relating to the adoption of Internet registration and voting. The GFN Political Module Logical Framework incorporates the adoption of Internet voter registration as a key element in politically empowering global Filipinos. Subsequent to those conferences, GFN submitted appropriate recommendations to Comelec and Congress. 

 GFN participated in the drafting of the new bill as part of the Technical Working Group under the Committee on Constitutional Amendments chaired by Sen. Chiz Escudero. IT Specialist Mr. Ernie del Rosario provided expert inputs in the deliberations, in active collaboration with GFN. Mr. Victor S. Barrios, GFN Convenor, and Mme. Connie Gomez-Valdes, GFN Deputy Executive Director, interfaced with the authorities during the entire process.  After undergoing a series of deliberations, Senate bill #3565 incorporated GFN’s proposal on the use of Internet registration and voting.

 Elimination of Affidavit to Return

 Senate Bill #3565 introduces another significant aspect of the existing OAV law that removes a perceived past demotivation on the part of global Filipino voters. In particular, the bill eliminates the clause on the intent for immigrants abroad to return to the Philippines three years after voter registration. Mme. Ellene Sana of the Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) successfully focused on this issue.

 Initiatives of Other Leaders

 Other organizations and leaders were involved in the revisions of different sections of the OAV law designed to enhance the exercise of suffrage by global Filipinos. Mme. Etta Rosales of Akbayan and Mr. Noel Esquela, also of CMA, provided significant inputs during the technical discussions and Committee hearings.

 Truly Continuing Registration

 Future public hearings on the bill could revisit a previous recommendation to institutionalize truly continuing Internet voter registration, i.e., 24/7/365 voter registration that is uninterrupted rather than restricted to a limited period of time. Voter registration in many other countries is a year-round activity. Since DFA and Comelec onsite personnel and logistics intervention are not needed for Internet voter registration, the process of registering voters should be a 365-days/year activity.

 About one million OFWs leave for abroad every year. The net for registering voters could cover a much wider universe if voter registration for overseas Filipinos is uninterrupted rather than carried out only once every three years.

 Comelec could provide for an appropriate cutoff date for eligibility of overseas voters to vote in a given election. That arrangement would allow for adequate Comelec internal preparations for that given election, without stopping the Internet voter registration process. Voters who register after the prescribed cutoff date would be eligible to vote only in the succeeding election.

 Moving Forward Together

 The global Filipino community welcomes the role of Filipino leaders and organizations all over the world to be actively involved in ensuring that Congress will, in the end, pass Senate Bill #3565. Only then would it be possible for global Filipinos to be empowered in a forceful and consequential way.

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GLOBAL FILIPINO NATION "Building the Global Filipino Nation for Good Governance"

Global Filipino Nation is an organization of global Filipino leaders and organizations committed to the goal of “Building the Global Filipino Nation for Good Governance”.

For inquiries and interest in collaborating on Senate Bill #3565, please contact Connie Gomez Valdes, Deputy Executive Director, 2240 Chino Roces, Barangay Bangkal, Makati City, Philippines, +632.726.1697, +63.917.528.1323.

Bobby Reyes – a Rusty Balderian in the making : A tale of Two OFWs in Philippine politics

Bobby Reyes – a Rusty Balderian in the making : A tale of Two OFWs in Philippine politics

Bobby Reyes

Roberto “Bobby” M. Reyes, “Lolo Bobby” is a friend of mine in the OFW community. He is an OFW in U.S.A. for 22 years. He never abandoned his legal residence in the city of Sorsogon. He is now running for Governor of Sorsogon Province. “Lolo Bobby” a play in the words for “Law and Order and Less government and Opportunities equally to all” wants to serve his constituents – his long time dream.

Bobby Reyes, a journalist, book author and a community organizer decided to cast his lot, by downloading copies of the COC from the website of the Commission on Elections in the Philippines, accomplished the forms and sworn to his COC before surprised Philippine Consulate officials before dropping the COC by registered mail at the Los Angeles post office addressed to the Comelec office in the Philippines.

Joseph Lariosa in http://www.mabuhayradio.com/ wrote that Reyes, 63, was a beneficiary of a petition for a permanent residence that became current last March 2008 but he did not pick up the option to apply for a Green Card because he wanted to keep his Filipino citizenship and Philippine legal residence that will make him eligible to run for an elective office in the Philippines.

“The Immigration and Naturalization Service informed me that I could stay in the United States but it could not guarantee that I would be admitted back if I leave the country for the Philippines or a third country,” Reyes said.

If he loses, Reyes explained, “I will prepare for the next gubernatorial election in 2013. I can always get back to the United States on a ‘Business’ visa or perhaps I will let my son then petition me as a parent when I reach the late 70s. But I don’t want to spend the rest of my days in a nursing home, as I plan to spend the rest of my life promoting the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Ferdinand Magallanes in 2021. And of course write more books and teach.”

Dr. Rusty Balderian

Reyes will be the like of OFW Rusty Balderian, that despite of having a good life as a successful businessman in the USA’s healthcare industry landed serving his constituents as Mayor in Tabon Tabon, Leyte. A story of a young man from a family which owned a sari sari store in his town who practically supported himself as a working student to become an optometrist and a physician.

In 2003 before he entered politics he went back to his hometown and opened a school for nursing. It was put up to help the less privileged students to attend a four-year college in nursing; no tuition fee, whatsoever is being charged to any student; use of school facilities, laboratory, computer room, fire truck, books, library, is FREE; boarding is also provided free; quality education, complete with quality and qualified Faculty staff and employment at U.S. hospitals has been pre-arranged for those who will pass the CSGFNS; and many more fringe benefits which Dr. Balderian shoulders.

Dr. Rusty Balderian (my kumpare) is now running for Congress in the 2nd District of Leyte.

As for Lolo Bobby Reyes “I would not have entered the contest if my backers and advisers did not think that I have a good chance of toppling the corrupt Establishment. But remember the adage, ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall.’ I will capture national attention if I win and friends are saying that as governor, I will become the overall leader of the OFWs and the Overseas Filipinos, because I will still be active in Filipino community affairs in the United States, especially in Southern California.”

Lolo Bobby’s family is not new to politics in Sorsogon Province. The family of Reyeses already produced two governors (Juan S. Reyes and Teodosio Diño), a congressman (Juan S. Reyes), a constitutional delegate (Jose S. Reyes) and a municipal mayor (Jaime S. Reyes). He is also the brother of a former Sorsogon City councilor, Sylvia Reyes-Lao and Carlos M. Reyes, Sorsogon incumbent Provincial Board member.

To my friend “Lolo Bobby” and “Pareng Rusty”, Good Luck!

There is a mathematical probability of putting one ofw in the senate:

There is a mathematical probability of putting one ofw in the senate:

There are 7 Million ofw’s worldwide, assuming 30% of this will be able to vote, its about 2.1 Million OFW votes. Assuming an average family size of 4 (husband, wife and two children at voting age), its now 8.4 Million votes. I am sure that we can convince our immediate family 100% to vote for a fellow-ofw. Assumig further that each of the 2.1 ofw’s with a chance to vote will target 15 other filipinos from his/her circle of relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces) and circle of friends (barkada, kaklase, kapitbahay, kababata, etc) – this is equivalent to 31.5 Million votes (2.1 M x 15). The final canvass – 39.9 Million (8.4 + 31.5) votes, which i think is enough to send one “kabayan” to the senate.

A Balikbayan Box an OFW Vote for OFWEmpowerment

Now that we are able to see the numbers, we realize that this is no longer wishful thinking, we can do this. However, we must do our share in the whole scheme of things – 15 votes from your immediate circle of relatives and friends is not a huge task – I actually think we can even target 20 to 30. Relatives are easy, friends – madami dyan nakakatikim lagi ng tsokolate, sabon, lotion at iba pa tuwing dadating ka, di pa kasali ang inuman at kainan at kunting pautang sa oras ng kagipitan, now is the time to at least ask for a small return favor. Another positive factor – communications today is very easy – email, text, cheaper long distance calls. It really doesnt matter kung nasa abroad tayo, we can still do our share in the campaign. Come to think of it, if we hit 30 target votes for each – this is around 63 Million votes, topnotcher na to sa senado.

Here is another helpful tip – every average voter will probably have 5-8 solid senators out of the required 12 in their individual preferential list. Ang balance dyan ay panakip butas na lang, just to complete the 12 allowed votes. In my experience, kadalasan 1 or 2 votes for senators ay minadali na dahil wala ng oras. Kadalasan di mo na nga matandaan kung sino yung last 2 or 3 na napili mo. Given this, it will not be that hard to tell our friends or relatives, paki sali naman yung isang manok natin, kahit doon na lang sa panapon na boto nya, para di naman masayang ang vote nya.

I’m sure after looking at the above scenarios, we can all feel positively na kaya natin to. We must do our share, this is the whole point and the assigned task for each is so easy, sa isang oras na text lang or email baka na-accomplish na natin ang share natin. Alam na natin that we need some representations at the highest level, yung taong kaisa natin, galing sa atin. However, alam naman natin ang mentality ng kadamihan, ok sana kaya lang wala naman mangyayari, kunti lang tayo, sayang lang. Now ikalat na nating ang mathematical probability na to, na we can do it and its really very easy para matauhan ang lahat ng yun lang pala yun – PWEDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have been glamorized as modern day heroes, saviour of the nation, redeemer in times of economic distress. Pero hindi natin maramdaman eto and individually as an ofw wala naman tayong nakikitang prestige or glamour man lang sa mga monickers na to. The facts are pag nasa pinas tayo, sinisigawan lang tayo ng isang sekyu sa airport at tinataboy ang ating mga mahal sa buhay na parang mga hayop na umalis na at madaliin ang pagpapa-alam. Saan ba sila naghihintay pag dumadating ka, sa isang higanteng hawla, kala mo pumunta ka sa Manila Zoo, paghalik mo tuloy sa asawa mo at mga anak mo nahilamusan ka pa ng pawis nila. Pag nasa POEA ka, doon sa basement ka kukuha ng OEC, at ganun din kabangis ang asal ng mga sekyu at workers doon. Pag nagipit ka, sino ba ang nalalapitan mo sa gobyerno, mayron naman dyan pero libo libo kayong may problema, kaya wala kang priority. May programa ba tayong purely for ofw’s – I think wala, sa SSS at Pag-big at Medicare, singit lang tayo. Ang OWWA naman, aywan kung ano to, basta nagbayad tayo kasi kailangan ng OEC. Nakita nyo ba sa TV yung mga dependents natin nag-aaway-away na sa pila sa OWWA para makahiram lang ng sampung libo dahil sa nakaraang bagyong Ondoy at Pepeng. Madami tayong hinaing, maraming problema ang supposed to be heroes na alam naman natin na “lip service” lang ag binyag sa atin na to – “hero ka dyan”.

Our impact in our country is gained from our collective efforts particularly yung suma total ng ating remittances. The key word or the operative word here is “collective”. Individually, walang effect – yung $1000 na pinadala mo, walang effect but the $1000 na pinadala ng 5 Million ofw’s sa isang buwan is equivalent to $5 billion, yun ang may impact. Its about time para gamitin din natin ang ating collective power, we have this in our hands but not as individuals but as ofw’s collectively, acting as one huge, gigantic force.

Lets start with this electoral exercise, iparamdam na natin kung sino tayo, let start doing things from the position of strength, ipakita natin na we are a force to reckon with, that we can indeed make or break our nation. One OFW in the senate, this is not too much to ask for, set aside natin ang president and vice president, im sure we have our own choices. Kaya natin to, look at the numbers and look at your share in the undertaking, peanuts, no sweat. Lets not forget the operative word always, “collective”, for once, let us start being one. 

Salamat po and good luck sa ating lahat………. OFW – ONE FILIPINO WORKER

From: an OFW like YOU

Philemb Advisory OAV and List of Candidates re: 2010 Philippine National Election

PhilEmb-RUH Advisory

COMELEC List of Approved Candidates for 2010 Philippine National Election.

PRESIDENT:

1) Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III (LP)

2)  Richard Gordon (Bagumbayan)

3) Ma. Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal (independent)

4) Manny Villar (NP)

5) Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro (Lakas-Kampi-CMD)

6) Joseph Ejercito “Erap” Estrada  (PMP)

7) Eddie Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas)

8) Carlos “JC” Delos Reyes  (Ang Kapatiran Party)

VICE PRESIDENT:

1) Manuel “Mar” Roxas III  (LP)

2) Loren Legarda  (NP)

3) Bayani Fernando (Bagumbayan)

4) Edu Manzano (Lakas-Kampi CMD)

5) Jejomar Binay  (PMP)

6) Perfecto Yasay  (Bangon Pilipinas)

7) Jay Sonza  (KBL)

8 )  Dominador Chipeco  (Ang Kapatiran)

SENATORS:

1)      Nereus Acosta (LP)

2)      Sharuff Ibrahim Albani (KBL)

3)      Zafrullah Alonto (Bangon)

4)      Ana Theresa Baraquel (LP)

5)      Jv Larion Bautista (PMP)

6)      Martin Bautista (LP)

7)      Silvestre Bello III (Lakas Kampi CMD)

8)      Rozanno Rufino Biazon (LP)

9)      Bong Revilla (Lakas Kampi CMD)

10)   Henry Caunan (PDP Laban)

11)   PIA Cayetano (NP)

12)   Rizalito David (Ang Kapatiran)

13)   Joey De Venecia (PMP)

14)   Miriam Defensor Santiago  (PRP)

15)   Franklin Drilon (LP)

16)   Juan Ponce Enrile (PMP)

17)   Jinggoy Estrada (PMP)

18)   Ramon Guico (Lakas Kampi CMD)

19)   Teofisto Guingona III (LP)

20)   Jo Aurea Imbong (Ang Kapatiran)

21)   Kata Inocencio (Bangon)

22)   Alexander Lacson (LP)

23)   Raul Lambino (Lakas Kampi CMD)

24)   Rey Langit (Lakas Kampi CMD)

25)   Yasmin Lao (LP)

26)   Lito Lapid (Lakas Kampi CMD)

27)   Alma Lood (KBL)

28)   Aplonario Lozada (PMP)

29)   Regalado Maambong (KBL)

30)   Fredinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (NP)

31)   Liza Maza  (Independent)

32)   Ma. Judea Millora (KBL)

33)   Ramon Mitra (NP)

34)   Ramoncito Ocampo (Bangon)

35)   Satur Ocampo (Bangon)

36)   Susan Ople (NP)

37)   Sergio Osmena III (Independent)

38)   JOvito Palaparan, Jr. (Independent)

39)   Imelda Papin (KBL)

40)   Zosimo Paredes (Ang Kapatiran)

41)   Gwendolyn Pimentel (PDP Laban)

42)   Rodolfo Plaza (NPC)

43)   Reynaldo Princesa (Bangon)

44)   Ariel Querubin (NP)

45)   Ralph Recto (LP)

46)   Gilbert Remulla (NP)

47)   Ma. Gracia Rinoza Plazo (Ang Kapatiran)

48)   Sonia Roco (LP)

49)   Adrian Sison (Ang Kapatiran)

50)   Vicente Sotto III (NPC)

51)   Adel Tamano (NP)

OAV Internet Voting and OFW representation – Hoping for the best

OAV Internet Voting and  OFW representation – Hoping for the best

GFN (Global Filipino Nation) a group of a coalition of major Filipino expatriate organizations who drafted the insertion of internet registration and voting said that the proposed amendment of Republic Act 9189 known as Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 is now pending in the Senate.  The bill contains the new version of allowing Internet voting for overseas Filipinos. 

internet

Internet Vote - OFW Vote

GFN office in Manila spokesperson Connie Gomez Valdes in an email said that  “the bill was technically approved in the Committee on Constitutional Amendments headed by Sen. Chiz Escudero and is being passed around the tables of Senators Loren Legarda, Manuel “Mar” Roxas and  Noynoy Aquino for signature.  Once they have signed, it will be discussed in the Senate.”   

GFN advocates empowering global community of unified Filipinos to proactively participate in their motherland’s mainstream activities particularly the right to vote.  GFN is pursuing the passage of this amendment for the coming May 2010 elections.  GFN led convenor, Asian Leaders 2004 awardee  Mr. Vic Barrios and FilAm community leader Ernie Del Rosario are the two proponents who drafted the insertion of internet registration and voting in the proposed amendment. 

Called GFN Lead Harvesters, they appeal to global Filipinos to help lobbying or pushing for the passage of the amendment before the May 2010 election.   “Since we did not make it happen for the registration period, I appeal to everyone to please help us by writing letters to the senators and congressmen” said Connie Gomez Valdes.

 ”It would be good also to write to your consuls to make them aware that we are on top of the situation” she added.

Internet voting was successfully tested in Singapore last July 20 to August 8 which the Commission on Elections describes as “major step forward” towards the full modernization of Philippine elections.  Being a remote electronic system, OAVs can cast their votes from their homes, workplaces and cyber cafes and voting stations to be set up inside the Philippine embassy.  

Filipino community leader Rudy Nazruddin Dianalan based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the main proponent of ”internet voting”  during the tripartite meeting of Filipino community in Saudi Arabia  said  “internet voting is the most practical method to maximize the participation of OAVoters in elections.”

Most Overseas Filipinos are far away from diplomatic posts and going to the nearest one to vote entails too much expenses. Like here in Saudi Arabia.  OFWs that are registered as absentee voters can only go either to the embassy in Riyadh or the consulate in Jeddah.

“Of more than one million OFWs in the kingdom, only about ten to fifteen percent are within reasonable distance to the two diplomatic posts here. Spread over a land area about five times larger than the Philippines, most OFWs do not have the means or the motivation to travel a long distance to cast their votes.”  Mr. Dianalan added.

Rudy Nazruddin Dianalan is among called by OFWs in Saudi Arabia to represent the OFWs in the Senate.  Filipino community is hoping that major Philippine political parties will include OFW stalwarts in their Senate slate.

“Assuming a crack at the senate, my advocacy shall center on the protection of OFWs from recruitment to worksite, the welfare of their families left back home, strengthening the ties of Overseas Filipinos to the Philippines and their reintegration, and enhancing a global Filipino nation.” He said.

Mr. Dianalan is the Chairman Emeritus of KASAPI,   duly recognized federated and coalesced alliance of Filipino community organizations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  He was one of those who hardly fought that  OFWs should be represented in Congress.  

Among the names eyed to represent OFWs is Susan “Toots” Ople, the daughter of the late Sen. Blas F. Ople.

She served in the Senate in 1987 as media relations officer of Senator Ernesto Herrera.  In 1989, the Citizens’ Drug Watch Foundation was created with Herrera as president and Susan as executive director.  When the late Sen. Ople was designated Foreign Affairs Secretary, he brought Susan with him as chief of staff.  It was during her stint at the DFA that Susan became deeply involved in human trafficking and OFW cases.  In 2004, after  Senator Ople  died, Susan Ople was appointed Undersecretary of Labor and Employment.

Since the 1970s, the issue of Overseas Filipino Workers welfare has become one of the primary concerns of the government. However, in spite of efforts to provide protection, benefits, and programs to address their welfare, there are still many OFWs that have become victims of various circumstances and abuses from their foreign employers.

In 1992, the Party List Act of the Philippines was signed into law.  However, the implementing rules of the Party List Act came very late and the  then newly elected President, Fidel V. Ramos, appointed party-list representatives from several recognized sectors, like labor, business, cooperatives, teachers, OFWs, and others.

Ramos also appointed two OFW sectoral representatives in Congress, from the ranks of  OFWs  in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  

But many say the failure of OFW sectoral representation in Congress was because the representation itself did not enjoy the mandate of the OFW sector they are supposed to represent.

In 1995 up to now many OFW party lists tried their luck to participate in the last elections, not even one of them  garnered the mandatory requirement in number of votes needed to be able to nominate a representative to Congress. 

Now, that unity is too elusive to achieve, the OFWs will try the upper House of Philippine Congress, the Senatehoping for the best.  

By: Bong Amora

Related Post : The continuing saga towards OFW Empowerment