Is campers action justified? or just an act of stupidity!

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Is campers action justified? or just an act of stupidity!

I am not against the campers; maybe I would do the same if I was in their shoes especially if I feel I’m trapped and nowhere to go. However, we can’t justify an illegal action as “an exemption to the rule”. Moral justification by way of obstructing the law of the host nation cannot be moral; a questionable act thinking it is right under the circumstances is not the answer to all of our anxieties.

thereisnothingworsethanaggressivestupidityI would like to remind my fellow OFWs once again that in Saudi Arabia, the workers may it be their nationals or foreign workers are strictly prohibited from organizing, may it be a group of individuals forming an association, more on calling strikes against employers or the authorities. It means social organizing like camping together for a purpose; especially in public places are very much prohibited.

End of last year, the Saudi’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced banning any expatriate organization or association in the entire Kingdom. The said statement directed all foreign missions in Saudi Arabia to comply and prevent the creation of community organizations and immediately cancel formation of such and their activities without permit from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Though the mentioned directives raised questions than answers among expatriate communities, the MFA didn’t bother to reason out why there was such an order.

The recent developments reported in Arab News today that about 2,000 Filipino workers are still camped outside the Philippine Consulate to put pressure on Philippine officials to speed up the processing of their paperwork is not the solution to their problems. The advisory on Procedures to Obtain Final Exit for Repatriation announced by the Embassy is clearly set out that there are still steps to follow and needed to be done prior repatriation proceedings. Camping outside the Embassy or Consulate premises is an illegal form of assembly according to their law. The worst case scenario is that the Saudi authority might treat this matter even seriously and massive arrest will happen in the next days to come. Di bali kung hindi kayo arestohin dahil may rasyon kayong natatanggap sa ating Embahada or Konsulado, ang problema kung sa kulungan kayo mapunta, maniwala kayo kabayan ang kulungan sa Saudi mas massahol pa sa kulungan sa Pinas.

 I also don’t believe that the campers are running out of food and water, the Embassy and the Consulate are providing you daily of your basic provisions like water and food.  Hindi nga lang kasama ang hinihingi nyong GOLD, mukha yatang sobra na ang pagka “spoiled” ng mga campers natin, pati Gold kasama sa mga hinihingi. Dito nga sa Embahada masaya ang mga campers, may DISCO pa between eating, napping and sleeping time. 

Acting helpless in order to gain pity or sympathy differs from acting  like stupid to seek attention from others or authorities. – BongA 

One who makes himself a worm cannot complain afterwards if people step on him”  – Immanuel Kant 

4 Simple clue TO DO

Paging POEA/OWWA  Board of Trustees particularly OFW Sector Representatives Madame (ATIKHA) Mai Anonouevo, Hon. Engr. Ermie Garon and  Hon. Ka Alex Asuncion.

4 Simple clue TO DO as member of the board representing OFW sector.

Find ways to formulate policies and or measures for welfare and protection of OFWs bound for Saudi Arabia.

 1)       To redefine the rights and obligations in the Recruitment Agreement between the principal (Saudi Employer) and the private employment agency or the Administration.  

2)       To recall and file administrative charges to Labor Attache’s, POLO Officials and Welfare Officers  for failure to review, verify and establish the true existence of the employing person, company or project, and its capability to hire workers at the acceptable rates, and failure to validate and confirm that an OFW upon arrival at site has a clean, comfortable and decent place to stay and have desirable working environment conditions in conformity with the minimum standards prescribed by the POEA and taking into consideration the labor laws and legislations of the host country.  

3)       To stop the prevalent Contract Substitution in KSA or stop Saudi employer from making a new contract that is clearly inconsistent with a former employment contract signed in Philippines.

4)       Stop Saudi Employer from issuing Exit Re-Entry Visa instead of “EXIT VISA after an OFW finish her/his  Contract.

related posts:  Clear the Mess Filipino Group linked to alleged scam

Open Letter to: Testman General Services, Inc.

To: Testman General Services, Inc.

Dear Sir/Madame,

Ang sulat po na ito ay tungkol po sa sulat-hinaing na pinadala ng isa sa mga reader ng ofwempowerment blog na naging isa rin po sa mga dini-deploy ng Testman General Services, Inc., na mga OFW sa bansang Saudi Arabia. Itinatago po namin ang aming kahanay sa pangalang “Sabel”.

Malinaw po sa sulat ni Sabel na ang Testman General Services, Inc., ay nakipagsabwatan sa employer upang palitan ang nakasaad sa napagkasunduang kontrata sa Pilipinas. Kung ito po ay mapapatunayan, malinaw po na ito ay isang panloloko sa atin pong mga kawawang OFW na nagtiwala sa serbisyo ng  Testman General Services, Inc., bilang lisensyadong ahensya na nag su-supply ng mga Filipino workers sa bansang Saudi Arabia.

Kaya po sa sulat na ito, kami po ay nakikipag-ugnayan sa inyo bilang isang “lehitimong recruitment agency” sa Pilipinas na gumawa ng kaukulang aksyon upang ipa-abot sa employer ni “Sabel” ang mga hinaing na nabanggit sa kanyang sulat at ito ay ma-itama at ibigay ng NAHJ ALTAKWA DENTAL CENTER ang napag-kasunduang buwanang suweldo at ilipat sa maganda, malinis at makataong “accommodation” at bagong uniporme ang mga empleyado nito.

Pangalawa, ibigay ang “Work Permit” ng mga workers upang magamit bilang requirement sa pagpadala ng pera sa Pilipinas at bigyan ng isang araw na pahinga ang mga kawani nito upang makalabas at makabili ng mga personal na mga gamit para sa pang araw araw nilang pangangailangan. Continue reading

Let’s unite for the sake of those OFWs in Libya

Rescue Effort

Expats in Libya (Evacuees)

What I’ve heard is that there will be an onward flights arranged by our Phil. government for those OFWs crossing the Libyan border to Egypt or Tunisia, as well as those arriving by boat in Malta or Crete. I am not really sure that this arrangement are being implemented at this very moment but for sure our government will do the best what they can do for the safety of those OFWs affected by the worsening situation in Libya. Let’s us hope and pray that those government agencies given the task on this purpose will exert more effort para naman maibsan ang worries ng ating mga kababayan doon at sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay na naghihintay sa Pilipinas. Though, practically, we should admit that during wars and this kind of events, we cannot do the rescue effort in just a blink of an eye, our prayers are needed than blaming each other’s shortcomings.

WE, Filipinos especially those people in the world of dirty politics-pinoy style, “matagal pa po ang eleksyon”, you should stop throwing each others mud and instead pray hard at kumilos kung may magagawa para sa kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan sa Libya.

At sa mga media or pahayagan na ang isinusulat ay puro kapalpakan ng gobyerno,  akala nyo magaling kayong Pilipino, tingnan nyo muna ang inyong sarili kung nakapasa ba kayo sa tinatawag na journalism code of ethics and standardsWala ba kayong nakikitang magandang nagawa ang gobyerno?  Sa mga oposisyon, di ko kayo masisisi dahil kung hindi kayo mag papapel na oposisyon, or leftist, sigurado wala na kayo sa ere. At least man lang sana this time, let’s unite for the sake of those OFWs that needs our help.

VP Binay visit to KSA

Vice President Binay’s  visit to the Kingdom was postponed due to the request of the host government at hindi po kapalpakan ng ating Embahada at Department of Foreign Affairs, gaya ng sinasabi ng mga kritiko ng gobyerno.

Philippine VP & Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns Jojo Binay with Esteban Conejos, Office of Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs-DFA

As the 2nd highest official of the land, the Kingdom wants that VP Binay’s visit will be in an official capacity with highest respect of acceptance from  His Highness King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud. VP Binay wants his entourage to sidetrip Saudi Arabia via Kuwait.  Vice President Jojo Binay was invited by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of  Kuwait to witness its founding day celebration.

Here in Saudi Arabia, even an Ambassador who wants to visit a government facility needs an approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an standard operating procedure where the head of mission is a special and very important person. He will be fully guarded and honored.  Ang Bise Presidente pa kaya ng bansang Pilipinas?  The number two Philippine highest official in the land who represents  “1.5 million OFWs in the Kingdom.”  Ganyan ka-importante ng  Hari ng Saudi Arabia ang isang Head of State.

In an Official Visit to a State Capital, like Riyadh,  the Vice-President should be received by the Governor, a Minister, and at least a high ranking police officer. The Vice-President, will be given a special place to stay and a transport to the extent if necessary irrespective of the nature of the visit. If the Vice-President is making a transit halt either at the Kingdom’s Capital or any other place in the Kingdom, one executive and one police officer may be present to render such assistance as may be necessary. If the Vice President wants to visit a person or friend in private, a government executive and one police officer should be present on arrival and departure. In all of these secenarios, the Vice President or a head of state is fully guarded by crack police or military units.

As we all knew that the King of Saudi Arabia had just arrived from a medical trip, surely, the King is too busy during these days and of course  he wants to make sure that he will receive the second highest official of the Republic of the Philippines by himself.

Kaya mga borg, hindi po kapalpakan ng Embahada at ng DFA sa atin ang hindi pagtuloy ni Vice President Binay sa Riyadh, kundi dahil sa request ng host government. Kaya mga oposisiyon sa Kongreso tumahimik na kayo at magkapit-bisig, magtulongan para sa katahimikan at kaunlaran ng bansa. Pero at least nakikita namin kung sino talaga kayo!!!

Siyanga pala bago kayo magdakdak at magkunwaring pro-OFWs sa inyong mga adhikain bilang mambabatas, tumulong muna kayo at magpakitang gilas at personal mismo na tutulong –  para naman at least kaming mga OFWs bibilib po sa inyo. Pero kung sa kongreso lang kayo magdakdak at dakdak dito dakdak doon ang mga galamay ninyo para lang mabandera ang pangalan sa diyaryo at media – “HINDI PO GAGO ANG ISANG ORDINARYONG OFW.”

Edward Everet Hale says “Look up and not down. Look forward and not back. Look out and not in, and lend a hand.” (End) BongA

DOLE Reform agenda for OFW sector

DOLE Agenda 2010-2016

The implementation of R. A. 10022 is a challenge that puts the DOLE at an even bigger forefront in pursuit of the goal of  President Benigno S. Aquino III  to reinvigorate labor and employment in the country and strengthen workers welfare and protection  both in the country and Filipino contract workers overseas.

According to DOLE’s Report on President agenda’s on Labor and Employment 2010-2016,  the department is crafting policies and reforms to respond to the current labor and employment situation. These reforms are structured in four key areas; 1) employment facilitation 2) workers welfare and protection, 3) labor relations 4) governance.

Overseas Filipinos welfare and protection reforms falls on Agenda 9 to 12 of the report such as;  review the continued deployment of workers to countries, which are high-and medium-risk areas, and the continued deployment of workers in high-risk occupations. Policy reform in agenda # 9 focuses on reducing the deployment of low-skilled workers in countries where work prone to abuse and exploitation.

Agenda # 9  can only be realized if the Government will once and for all  impose a ban in the deployment of Filipina Household Service Workers to countries where there are proven and ducumented rampant maltreatment, sexual harassment and abused.   

Reform Agenda 10 focal points are employment opportunities and social protection. Areas of reforms are the creation of an efficient “one-stop” for processing applications for overseas work and seeking redress for grievances such as; the establishment of OWWA-NRCO Reintegration Centers or PESO and the creation of develop one-stop centers that can be used to help Filipinos find jobs in both the domestic and international scene.

On Agenda # 10, OWWA-NCRO or PESO are usually found in the city like Capitol building and offices located in provincial capitol or regions,  PESO (Public Employment Service Offices)  should also be visible or can be found in all Local Government Units in every municipality. 

OFW grievances can be addressed by intensifying  grievance mechanisms for OFWs in which this could be responded by  24/7 hotlines in partnership with telecommunication companies and the presence of migrant workers desk in different destinations.

In KSA alone, OFWs can not feel the presence of 24/7 hotlines. Although Philippine Embassy, Consulate and Philippine Overseas Labor Office  announced the 24/7 telephone service  for those OFW in needs of emergency help and those with grievences –  WE still heard reports from OFW distressed callers that  government officers are uncaring and  unresponsive to OFW calls for help and support.  

Migrant Workers Desk?  Try at least one in Batha, Riyadh and one in Balad, Jeddah.   

Agenda 11 is to audit the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to rationalize the management of its funds, in terms of the benefits provided as well as how the funds are invested. In response to the program, the department will see to it that the board of trustees is a multi-sectoral group that will truly work towards the protection of the interests of their respective groups.  

As long as the  criterion in terms of the nominee contribution to OFW sector is only 40%, WE, OFWs are not properly represented in the POEA and OWWA governing boards. We need a PRO-OFW who can truly serve the OFWs by heart.  

Lastly, the Agenda 12 is to work with the DFA to transform Philippine embassies, consular offices and POLOs into centers of care and service for overseas workers by assigning more foreign service officers to posts where there are many OFWs and train them in the needs of the communities they serve. And to adopt a more holistic approach in ensuring the welfare and protection for OFWs.

Very simple and  in other words, “make sure that there will be OFW-centered diplomatic posts and POLO offices worldwide.”

The succeeding agendas are more on reintegration (social welfare services, investment and savings program, skills training, etc.) and the Government’s comprehensive  response in the implementation of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.

Wanakosey.

Source: DOLE on President’s Agenda on Labor and Employment  

Who, Where and When?

S S C

Last week the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) announced that they are now on its way to accept nominations for representatives of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to their respective governing boards.

The Screening and Selection Committee (SSC) composed of POEA and OWWA officials was created and given the task to screen and select who among the nominees will be given a hand to represent women, land-based and sea-based OFWs in the round table.

***

NGO’s or Non-government organizations protecting the rights and welfare of OFWs are likewise given the mandate to nominate. (Who are they???).
***

NGO’s should see to it that their nominees are true bloodied OFW who has the on hand knowledge of what is exactly going on site. Those who witnessed the real situation of the distressed OFWs, more particularly in the Middle East. A nominee who has  experienced  how to fight in the actual arena, a pro-OFW who can truly serve the OFW sector by heart.
***

The 40 % criterion in terms of the nominee contribution to OFW sector is not enough for the nominee to become a member of the board. Make it, at least 75% man lang po (passing grade).

***

The  criteria include at least 3 years experienced as an OFW.  What? 3 years lang? Saan  bansa galing? Sa mga maraming inabusong OFW? Katulad ng Contract substitution, maltreatment and abuse? Make it 5 years man lang. How can he protect us if he is not the right man for the job?
***

OWWA mentioned that the selection process includes, conducting consultation meetings with the women, land-based and sea-based sectors. Where? When? Who are these land and sea-based sectors?

From the beginning, POEA and OWWA never consulted OFWs about who will be the right men and women to the board. The right man who has our say on how our funds will be used and  the right person to have a say in where our money goes.

***

Well…well..well…part of SSC job is to establish a massive information campaign on the application and selection of nominees. Saan po? Sa diyaryo? Okey, sige wait nalang po kami kung sino na ang uupo. Just remember, OWWA funds are from the pockets of  OFWs. Therefore, Overseas Filipino Workers should be truly represented by legitimate OFW and must be given full rights to be heard in the round table; at least in POEA and OWWA Board man lang tsaka na sa Hall of Congress.

KSA to Washington DC, USA…

KSA to Washington DC, USA…

According to Kabul Press on their March 2010 online article under Kabul Press Reveals said that the U.S. Department of State has labeled virtually every non-European country a “hardship post” for American diplomats and that include Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. However, they can’t refuse if their next tour of duty will be in the Kingdom, why?  Because of the extra pay to compensate the new posting. They will earn 20% extra pay as “hardship differential”.

“Riyadh City at Night”

How about Filipino diplomats? I mean the Filipino contingent as member of the Philippine mission in KSA? Well of course the Philippine government should compensate their hardship in taking care of our OFWs in distress not to mention that there are estimated 1 million Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia under their watch. How much? That I do not know, but for sure after all the hardship - they deserve to be posted from KSA to Venice, Italy. I mean… after sakit sa ulo, after all the kunot noo, lagas ng buhok, and batikos from the press – to recompense all of the above, will be a good posting and shining moments somewhere in the 10 best cities in Europe.

I haven’t got a chance to see some of the new members of the diplomatic corps at our Philippine Embassy more particularly POLO-Riyadh Labor Attaché Albert Valenciano, kasi hindi naman po niya binigyang-pansin ang aking formal letter asking for appointment. I don’t know if he receive it or not or baka naman busy siya dahil hindi naman ako nakatanggap ng sulat paumanhin na siya at sampu ng kanyang mga welfare officers ay busy sa mga problema ng ating mga distress OFWs.

Philippine Embassy, Washington, D.C.

But this morning, I’ve just read an online news item  that the officers and members of the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers (PSME) complained against the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh (POLO-Riyadh “read l.c.”)  for rebuffing them when they visited the Bahay ng Kalinga (BK) to offer donations for the wards staying there.

I tried to look back in the past who among my friends from Labor Attache’s Sodusta, Rasul, Roldan and Dela Fuente snubs such good deeds from Filipino organizations in Riyadh most especially coming from a Professional group? “Parang wala pa akong naririnig, lalo na pag donasyon (gamit at pagkain) ang pinag-uusapan” considering that it is very beneficial to our Filipina OFWs in distress at Bahay Kalinga.

According to Labor Attaché Valenciano, the shelter is not officially allowed to be very visible to the public especially where large gatherings of opposite sex are noticeable.

Isip ko naman, not unless the Philippine Ambassador is present (siyempre) in such gatherings (private residences).

Well, Labor Attaché Valenciano is a Career Executive Service Officer and before his assignment as Labor Attaché to Riyadh, he was Director IV of OWWA and was posted as Welfare Officer in Tel Aviv, Israel and Labor Attaché in Rome, Italy and he was one of the few pioneers of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. He was there when OWWA was created and I just hope that his action is based in an opinion of choice – not just an informed decision.

Siguro mas maganda ang Washington DC posting compared to Rome, Italy.  

Kaya mga igan na Labor Attache’s and Welfare Officers, we need your assistance, we need your caring hands to our distress OFWs. We all knew that mahirap maging pogi pag ang posting ninyo KSA; pero may magandang sikat ng araw sa bahaging kanluran na naghihintay po sa inyo.

Before I forget,  Peace on Earth and Happy Holiday!

OFW Ako, Diplomat lang Kayo!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hongkong OFW Agnes Tenorio

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

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

Salamat po!

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

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

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! 

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.

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!”

Migrant Workers Day-Nothing to Celebrate

Respect and Protect Human Rights of Migrants

Respect and Protect Human Rights of Migrants

June 7, 1995 the Migrant Workers and Filipinos Act of 1995 or Rep. Act 8042 was signed into law.

12 Years since it was enacted into law yet the said act has done a little or not much has been done to the Overseas Filipino Workers. The both House in Congress has never given our clamor for amendments of certain provisions that would enhance the protection and welfare of OFWs. 

For instance, Magna Carta for Migrant Workers  of 1995 provision under III: Services, Section 19 Establishment of a Migrant Workers and other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center. - Within the premises and under the administrative jurisdiction of the Philippine Embassy in countries where there are large concentrations of Filipino migrant workers, there shall be established a Migrant Workers and Other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center with the following services…

Emabssy and POLO/OWWA officials with Filcom donations for Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh

Embassy and POLO/OWWA officials with Filcom donations for Bahay Kalinga (Filipino Workers Resource Center in Riyadh)

In Saudi Arabia, there are 3 Filipino Workers Resource Center provided under this provision, each in Eastern, Western and Central Region. The said proviso did not specify male or female distressed OFWs. Our female distressed OFWs are housed in this Center and our male runaways are roaming around without valid work permit or expired iqamas and could be apprehended by the host country’s authorities anytime of the day. Others seek refuge with friends and other kindhearted fellow OFWs unmindful or maybe aware that harboring runaways could put their lives at risk too. 

The establishment and operations of the Center are joint undertaking of various Philippine government agencies overseeing the plight of our Filipino migrant workers, however, facilities and required needs of our distressed OFWs were not being fully provided. Thus help and contributions from Filipino communities, organization and kindhearted individuals are very necessary to sustain their daily needs at the shelter.

Just recently a newly organized SEC registered group of overseas Filipinos named United Filipinos Worldwide for Community Development, UFWCD-Jeddah Chapter visited our distressed OFWs at the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah. Excerpt of the report by UFWCD-Jeddah, VP Jun Macaranas and the shocking revelations inside the consulate:

As I only write what we see/saw, together with my KFSHRC-Jeddah colleagues, upon entering the big gates opened (with a Saudi Police stationed outside the gate), the quadrangle of the Consulate, estimated at 1000 sq. meter wide, LAY OUR KABAYANS, all male, with “improvised beds” to spend the whole night under an open air of the Consulate’s quadrangle improvised beds: cartons, cloth, papers at any site of the sprawling estimated 1,000 sq. meter wide cemented ground, all looking sad, without any smile, ignorantly looking at us, who by their looks, we were all made SPEECHLESS, the first time I have been to the Consulate very late at night with these bodies sprawling at any position they could find convenience at any points on the ground seeing all our kababayans, OFWs at this “nakakaluhang” sight all of them males, numbering at estimated more or less 100 pinagkakakasya ang kani-kanilang mga katawan upang maiprotekta ang sarili sa hamog, sa lamok, at sa ibang kinakaya na lang nilang magiging masamang epekto ng kung anong sakit ang dadapo sa kanilang lahat sa pagtulog sa malamig na semento ng quadrangle ng Phil Consulate Jeddah.”   To read the full report of UFWCD VP Jun Macaranas click this link UFWCD-Hawak Kamay).

OWWA - BOT

OWWA - BOT

Where are the OFWs Millions or Billions of Pesos OWWA contributions? Why on earth our Government cannot provide or rent a better place for our unfortunate kababayans as mandated by the Magna Carta for Migrant Workers of 1995?

Nasaan na ang mga representative ng mga OFWs sitting at OWWA and POEA/DOLE Board? Are you doing your job? Or just receiving salaries doing nothing, sitting at your air-conditioned room while those unfortunate OFWs out there are hungry, no right place to stay and having sleepless nights.     

This is what I always keep on saying, Overseas Filipino Workers should be truly represented by a legitimate OFWs and must be given full rights to be heard in one voice; and these could only be materialized with a broader participation in body politics so that we will be representing our OFWs with equal footing in any legislative agenda for our welfare and protection. 

June 7 – Migrant Workers Day “Nothing to Celebrate”.

PhilEmb-Ruh Web Site

PhilEmb-Ruh Web Site

Last week I happen to visit the Philippine Embassy-Riyadh web site upon advised by Philippine embassy staff that I could download the lists of OAV absentee voters in the site. Luckily I was, and copy of it was emailed to some of my friends in Al Khobar.

 The site is having a good web design, kudos to the designer. Though some of its features are not yet accessible. I tried to open the Philippine-Saudi Relations tab but no entry found. Even the message of the new Ambassador is not available, prompted me to call the web designer and inquire if it has something to do with my server. He replied that it would take time to load XML text material. I noted it, but up to this entry I still can’t access some of its features.

The Web Site

The Web Site (as of April 30, 2007)

 

 

The press release from our Philippine Embassy about their OAV Campaign “Bumoto Ka Na Ba?” is featured upon access to the site. However, we cannot find any posters in Batha and other places that the campaign posters could be useful. Maybe because I am located in the mountain or desert area of Riyadh “kaya wala akong makita na OAV campaign material” from Embassy. If ever I’m wrong, I’ll be reprimanded for this entry. Be it!  

Try to browse Bangladesh Embassy web site, the web design is not quite good looking but I can access it at once without waiting for any XML text to download. It is also very informative site to Bangladeshi expats.   

 

His Excellency Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor
His Excellency Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor

Today March 2009, please click picture of H.E. Excellency Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor.

FDH: Restrictive Policy

FHSW at NAIA

FHSW at NAIA

According to recruiters, exporting Filipina Domestic Helpers in Middle Eastern countries with the new restrictive policy of USD 400.00 minimum wage a month will surely lessen the dollar remittances to our country’s coffer.

For me, as long as the Government will implement the said policy with strict monitoring authority and see to it those recruitment agencies comply with the rules, then who cares if we lost billions of dollars annually in remittances in exchange for their welfare and protection.

Maltreatment and Abuse (Indonesian maid)

Maltreatment and Abuse (Indonesian maid)

Many runaway maids and those employed in boutiques are minors below 18 years of age and with the help of faked documentations obtained from crocodiles in our country (particularly in Recto), they were able to work abroad as maids and beauticians. Without any experience and don’t know nothing about household chores, etc., they end up beatin and maltreated by their employers.     

With the said policy it may perhaps minimize abused to our FDH by their foreign employers and so with the unscrupulous recruiters asking excessive fees to our less fortunate domestic workers.

I am certain though that not all Arab employers will hire FDH with that wage policy requirement. Thus would lessen the complaints and run away maids in the Kingdom.

Recruiters claim that it could result for illegal means of deployment like disguising them as “tourists” with the aid of “escort syndicates” in the airports. What’s new then?  These crooked individuals in the airport are there “with or without” the said policy.  

It is only on a matter of how serious our Government and the authority to clean this mess once and for all.

The new policy will allow OFW deployment under strict conditions, among them:

1) A minimum salary of $400

2) No imposition of placement fees on the worker by recruitment agencies

3)Issuance of a certificate of competency by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to the prospective OFW and the completion of the pre-departure orientation by the OFW

4) Conduct of a seminar on country-specific language and culture for OFWs

5) Strict contract verification and employers’ pre-qualification procedures

Philippine has been tagged as “worlds capital of domestic workers”. Maybe this time it would be “worlds capital of certified maids“.

I am looking forward that the official list of the above policy includes the minimum age requirement of 21 to 25 years old, or else “total ban of deployment“ in countries susceptible to abuse and maltreatment to our FDH is still the best solution to this problem. ### BongA

Waiver for OFWs in Lebanon

Some of our Domestic Helpers based in Beirut refused to go home. According to them, Beirut is not affected by war and no work is waiting for their return.

Darna in real Life

Darna in real Life

On the other hand, citing recent online news that 2 OFWs jumped from a building somewhere in Beirut “in their desire to join ongoing (repatriation) operations”.

Conflicting scenarios, perhaps there are only two reasons, one with a good employer and the latter decide to jump not to escape from the ongoing war but to get rid of maltreatment and abused by her employer.

VP Noli De Castro, the newly appointed head of a task force on the Lebanon crisis is preparing for the forced evacuation of all OFWs in Lebanon. Forced evacuation means, mandatory and no one is exempted. However, kabayan said  “those who refuse to leave, as many of them now do, may be asked to sign a waiver”.

No Escape No Surrender "Bahala na kung Matamaan"

No Escape No Surrender "Bahala na kung Matamaan"

Supposedly (huwag naman sana) the war escalates to the northern part of Lebanon, and then Beirut is not exempted anymore from the Israelis flying bombs. Does the waiver justify that our Government is not to be blamed if some of these OFWs go back home in boxes? Huh! Hindi namin kayo patutulugin, promise..

My friend CMA Executive Director Ellene Sana during the Senate hearing is exactly right, “the government policy of voluntary repatriation is not acceptable“.

Regarding master list of 30,000 OFWs in Lebanon, I doubt if they have the complete list. We have been advocating this issue a long time ago pertains to the implementation of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing, RA 8042, XVIII, Shared and Government Information System for Migration.

Hoping and praying that concrete implementation of this important proviso of the Magna Carta for Filipino Migrant Workers will be properly implemented soon. This will give much help in locating almost a million OFWs in Saudi Arabia; if ever a war erupts in this region. (knock2 to the wood, wag naman sana).

Stay A Little While

Hon. Consul General Nestor Padalhin and Labor Attache Rustico Dela Fuente should investigate alleged inefficiency of our government officials in KSA. Citing online news item titled From Saudi with Tears should not be ignored at all and appropriate action must be done accordingly.

However, in fairness to our government officers handling their cases and those who manned the center, the letters from 50 stranded female OFWs at Bahay Kalinga Riyadh as reported, did not specifically mentioned any  details of their grievances. But the letters addressed to Migrante asking for help is very disturbing. Why on earth they are asking for help? Since they are supposedly in good hands. And what kind of help they are asking for?  Well.. we have also to consider that cases involving run away maids in the Kingdom is not just an easy job to conclude, lets have patience. But for those long overdue cases, it is another story.

I would suggest that OUTGOING PhilEmb/POLO and OWWA officers should stay a little while in their post (perhaps a year or two) and  clear  these  alleged mess (if ever there is) before leaving us under the heat of the sun and going nowhere to their new posting in the land of autumn leaves and winter snow.

Solution to this problem according to the statement of Mr. Rashid Fabricante (Pusong Mamon Task Force) submitted to the recently concluded Dr. Alfred J. Ganapin Advocacy Forum 1, Series 2006 in UP Bahay Kalinaw, the government should reassess the present condition of OWWA run FWDC house in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, increase its budget and operational requirement for our stranded workers. Terminate the services of non performing case officers and translators whose handling of run-away DHs unable to repatriate them in 90 days and re-align their budget and divert to high risk critical areas. – hmmm, nice idea.

DFA Usec Conejos with 4000 grams of LAF and ATN Fund in a Plastic bag of Cocaine

Speaking of  budget and operation requirement, Undersecretary Esteban Conejos of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) in the abovementioned forum narrates that the law has provided the department with legal assistance fund amounting P15 Million Pesos annually. The said Legal Assistance Fund  is being use for legal assistance to OFWs and overseas Filipinos who are in distress. Usage of funds includes hiring of lawyers, to pay bail bonds, litigation expenses, etc,etc.

Besides LAF, the office of OUMWA has been provided with an annual budget of P45 Million called ATN Fund (Assistance to National Fund). This particular fund according to USEC Conejos is intended for non-labor related cases, like repatriation of illegally recruited and undocumented Filipinos overseas in particular.

If we summarized the above fund from  both LAF and ATN Fund, each posts abroad (19 posts) will have an amount of P 3,157,894.00  annual assistance fund  from DFA alone.

How much is the OWWA budget? I dont have any reading materials yet, am still looking for it, maybe next time.

After all, I always heard from them, kulang ang budget ng Gobyerno para sa mga OFW in distress, minsan naririnig ko walang budget ang Gobyerno. Well, Its true! Our employer donates 2 air tickets for our stranded compatriots during the tenure of my friend Labor Attache Sodusta. 

Just want to share a message from Mr. Ronnie Abeto (E-Lagda, PMTF, V-Team), To Filipinas applying as domestic helper in Saudi, please do not work here!  Huh! I second the motion.

Source:

1) Bulatlat.com (Migrant Watch, From Saudi with Tears by: Aubrey Makilan)

2) Dr. Alfred Ganapin Advocacy Forum 1 Series of 2006, Ganito Kami Ngayon, Paano Tayo Bukas? Prospect of  Philippine Labor Migration and Philippine Development, March 31 UP Bahay Kalinaw. Initiated by Center for Migrant Advocacy and Friedrich Evert Stiftung, (FES).

OFW Tax Exemption , A Token Gift

Tax Exemption, A Token Gift

Exemption is Exemption

Exemption is Exemption

This possible move to draft a bill taking back tax exemption from OFW’s could disrupt the entire movement of Philippine Economy, if we act together there’s a way. We should not let this only token gift from the Government who dubbed us Modern Day Heroes be taken back from us.

Again, why does our Government keep an eye to OFW’s whose life are already miserable away from home and the positive return that they only gave us while saving our economy is the tax exemption law for OFWs?

OFW’s remittances contributed a lot to our ailing economy, our remittances are the source of foreign exchange that keeping our economy afloat and likewise offset the current impact of high oil prices. All of these, amidst political and economic crisis, We, OFW’s continuously serving and helping our nation to stand the test of time.

And now they are going to take it back from us? This is a clear blatant insult to us OFW’s, it is acceptable to be slapped in the face rather than being insulted in front of the millions of Filipinos. This Government continue and continuously degrading us, squeezing all the possible sweats we can pour saving the poor lives of Filipinos back home.

A Token Gift

A Token Gift

Despite from all of these contribution, we are undeniably the lowest sector of the Philippine society. Our struggle and fight for OFW empowerment continues as long as there are Domestic Helpers raped and maltreated, worst some goes home in boxes. As long as there are stranded OFW’s waiting government concrete response on their agonies whose only wish is to be with their loved ones back home. As long as the problem of contract substitution still exist in every corner of the Kingdom, thus our rights are not been well protected due to weak labor bilateral agreements between the Philippines and host country.

Our continuing saga for political empowerment continues as long as there are OFW’s languishing in jail without proper legal representation from our government. The DFA reported that there are 4, 775 Filipinos, including 1,103 Pinays, in foreign jails, 213 of the numbers mentioned are in different jails in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The case filed by Phil. Migrants Rights Watch in behalf of the OFW’s questioning the legality of the $25 OWWA contribution that is supposedly be paid by our employer and not from us, is up to now pending for decision by our Supreme Court.

And now they’re going to add more agonies, to the agonies that we already had….

Once again, let us joined hands together and blocked all the possible entry points that this Draft Bill might be going through…

We made it before, there are no reasons why we can not do it again.

I am not one of those High Paying OFW’s, I am just an ordinary office employee but I have a heart of an OFW. ## BongA