Advocate what is right – NOto550

***

The issue of the integration of terminal fee into airline tickets is seems like a reported ISIS (unconfirmed) statement on tweet to destroy the Holy Kaaba in Mecca after capturing Saudi Arabia.  Though these two issues very much differ from the other, it is like an atomic bomb exploded right in front of those concern people that surely affected by the recent events.

NOto550Actually, OFWs is still exempted from paying airport terminal fee if the plan prosper; the main question here is why integrate the payment of terminal fee into airline tickets if the OFW is properly documented by showing to the airline agent the OEC.  The logic is – we have the OEC; and why on earth incorporate the terminal fees along with the ticket and subject for reimbursement later because we are exempted from paying it.  What a totally stupid idea. What an insult to us – OFWs. (Other scenario in the implementing process at the last part of this post). 

And adding more insult to the insult is about the refund process. Why giving us more excess burdens by having it reimburse with all of those documentary requirements?  To obtain OEC, will take us one day and now you are asking us to queue on the very day of our departure just to collect the money that we can’t even use in the country of our destination. Sa isang banda, bakit pa namin bigyan ng problema or istorbohin ang aming pamilya o kamag-anak para lamang mag pa-reimburse. Exempted na nga, pagbabayarin pa at ibabalik rin pala! Di ba masalimuot? 

Are those stupid minds behind this plan are enemies of OFWs? Why our government always keeping an eye on us – OFWs? Are you not contented to the millions of dollars of remittances WE, OFWs brings into the country?  Saving our economy while those corrupt government officials spending millions of OWWA funds at the expense of an ordinary OFW’s.

But I still believed that all of these fees that Philippine officials want to put on the shoulders of our OFWs will not materialize because OFWs are protected with the Migrant Workers Overseas Filipinos Act.

imagesThe issue of terminal fees to be imposed to OFWs was already an issue way back then. I remember in 2005, the government plan to restore the gross income tax on OFWs,  the following year there was a proposal to collect from the OFWs security fee of $3.50 (P175) and a rumored about terminal fees surfaced in the succeeding years. All of these turned out into the trash because any fees to be collected to OFWs clearly violates the said law.

The  R.A. 10022 as amended read as follows:

SEC. 35.  Exemption from Travel Tax, Documentary Stamp and Airport Fee. - All laws to the contrary notwithstanding, the migrant workers shall be exempt from the payment of travel tax and airport-fee upon proper showing of proof entitlement by the POEA.

What proof entitlement does the law talking about? To quote “Upon proper showing of proof entitlement by the POEA”.  What document we are talking about?  The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). The OEC is a requirement under the rules and regulations of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). This helps ensure that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are properly documented and protected.

The basic requirements to obtain an OEC are: a) Passport with valid working visa. In KSA, Exit Re-entry visa for vacationing OFWs/Employment Contract or Working Visa for new OFWs b) Annual payment and or OWWA Certificate of Membership c) Annual Payment of Pag-ibig membership d) Copy of Ticket  reservation e) Annual Payment of Philhealth membership.

If you have all of the above, OEC holders are exempted from paying the travel tax and the airport terminal fee.

Please note that in KSA, the employer are the one who will purchase the ticket (as prescribed in the contract) for their vacationing workers. The original copy of the ticket is handed to the worker on the day of his/her departure along with their passport (that was keep by the employer from the day the worker arrived in KSA) and other travel documents.  Prior issuance of the ticket, the worker only have the copy of the ticket reservation.  So it means if we will apply for OEC at our Embassy/POLO office we don’t have a choice but to present them with the copy of the ticket reservation from the airline company na may kasama ng terminal fee.Walang lusot ang kawawang OFW”.  Kung sa Pilipinas kami kukuha ng OEC natural na ang ticket namin na binili ng employer ay may dagdag or kasama ng terminal fee. PERO may isang problema, papayag kaya ang employer na bayaran ang dagdag na singil for terminal fee?  Ito ay isa sa mga usaping aabangan natin. Ang kawawang OFW na katulad ko ay walang magawa kundi pumila sa designated areas to comply with the refund stupid process.

Wala ba kayong naalala?  Parang kahalintulad ng OWWA membership fee!   To quote found at their websiteOWWA membership fee to be paid by the employer.”  NAPAKALINAW!  Ang tanong,  employer ba ninyo ang nagbabayad sa OWWA membership fee? 

Okey,  let’s talk about  amending the law. Of course, a certain law can be changed or a portion of it can be amended but it can be done in normal legislative process.  A law can be replaced in its entirety or if not the court can declare part of a law unconstitutional and renders that portion void but leaves the rest in place. However, all of these can be done in a proper forum through legislative proceedings or in court proceedings. Kaya may laban pa rin tayo na tutulan ang panukalang ito ng mga istupido. 

If our legislators, particularly those “leaders kono” for OFWs can’t do anything to stop this stupid plan, then WE should fight for it! Maybe not in the house of Congress, but perhaps in the Court of Law.

For whatever this pahirap sa OFW is all about, I am asking my fellow OFWs to advocate what is right for us - NOto550.  – BongA

NAIA-Terminal-Fee-International

 

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Open Reply to my Reader re: OWWA

Paano itinataguyod ng OWWA ang tinatawag na nasyonalismo sa aming hanay ayon sa 1987 Phil. Constitution?

Sa totoo po, wala po akong personal na hinanakit sa OWWA. Ngunit bilang isang lider komunidad ng mga mangagawang pinoy sa ibayong dagat, hindi ko po naramdaman ang tinatawag na nasyonalismo or patriyotismo ng OWWA sa aming hanay. Sa kadahilanang napakaliit lamang po ang nai-ambag ng OWWA sa pangkalahatang pakinabang ng isang OFW. Meron man, maramdaman lamang po namin ito kung kami ay nadisgrasya dahil sa karampot na benepisyong makukuha namin kung kami ay wala ng daliri, paa at hindi na makalakad. Yong iba naman po nating kahanay ay hindi napo naramdaman ang tulong ng OWWA kung nasa kahon na itong darating sa ating bayan. Iyan kung hindi po paso ang aming membership status, dahil wala kang matatanggap sa OWWA kung hindi ka nakapagbayad ng membership fee nito or expire na ang iyong membership.

Patriotism & Nationalism: 12-year old Janella Lelis of Albay after this picture of her was taken by Francisco Pena Lozano while she was saving the Philippine Flag & braving the flood waters brought by Typhoon Juaning.

Nasaan ang Nasyonalismo para sa mga OFWs na dugo at pawis ang pinuhunan para mabigyan ng kinabukasan ang pamilyang naghihikahos sa bansang sinilangan? Nasaan ang pagmamahal ng OWWA sa mga OFWs na naging bayani “kono” sa mga mata ng pamahalaan upang isalba ang ekonomiya ng bansa?

1987 Constitution Section 29.(3) All money collected on any tax levied for a special purpose shall be treated as a special fund and paid out for such purpose only. If the purpose for which a special fund was created has been fulfilled or abandoned, the balance, if any, shall be transferred to the general funds of the Government.

Nasaan ang Nasyonalismo ng OWWA, at ng mga Board of Trustees mismo noong sila ay pumayag o sumang-ayon na mailipat ang milyon-milyong peso ng OWWA Medicare Fund sa Philippine Health Insurance Corporation?

Malinaw po na ang paglipat nito ay illegal at hindi po para sa kapakanan at kagalingan ng OFW ang rason ng paglipat nito. Ayon sa Section 29 ng Saligang Batas: Lahat ng pera na nakolekta sa anumang buwis para sa isang espesyal na layunin ay dapat na itinuturing na isang espesyal na pondo at ang perang ito ay dapat gastosin lamang para sa inilalaan nito.

Sa talumpati ni Pangulong Noynoy nitong nakaraang Bagong Bayani Awards 2011 aniya “Manalig po kayong tinitiyak ng gobyerno na ang pinaghihirapan ng ating mga OFWs ay may pinatutunguhan at hindi nababalewala”. Sana ang namumutawi sa kanyang bibig ay hindi po ningas cogon lamang dahil simula ng kanyang panunungkulan ay hindi pa po namin naramdaman ang totoong serbisyo ng OWWA which is to addressed the needs and concerns of distressed OFWs documented or undocumented ayon sa nakasaad sa Magna Carta R.A. 8042 as amended.

Panghuli, dapat pong magkaroon ng pampolitikal na representasyon o partisipasyon ang aming hanay upang mapakinggan ang aming boses at mabigyan ng pagkakataong makasali sa paghimok at paggawa ng batas o polisiya ayon sa aming tunay na pangangailangan, tungo sa isang makatotohanan, kapakapanibangang serbisyo para sa OFW at sa pamilya nito. Kabilang kami sa sektor ng lipunan at dapat lamang na may karapatan kaming magsalita tungo sa iisang mithiin pangkabutihan para sa aming hanay. -end- By: BongA

Open Letter to POEA Chief of Staff

To :  Atty. Josefino Naval
         Chief of Staff
         Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
         Manila, Philippines

Dear Atty. Josefino Naval,

Sir, magandang araw po sa inyo! Ako po si Bong Amora, isa pong OFW sa KSA at isa rin pong community leader at blogger.  Pangalawang sulat katanongan na po namin ito sa inyo at siyanga pala maraming salamat muli sa inyong agarang pagtugon sa una po namin na sulat katanongan na nailathala po dito sa ating blog titled: To: OFWs Bound for Taiwan.

Ang pangalawang sulat-katanongan po na ito ay tungkol pa rin po sa mga katanongan ng mga kahanay namin na nais mangibang-bansa sa Taiwan.

Itinatago ko muna siya sa pangalan na “Milagring” for obvious reason pero ang separate email ko po sa inyo ay ang tunay niyang pangalan at email address. Kalakip po nito ang kanyang sulat sa akin (ibaba) na kayo po lamang ang makapagbigay linaw. 

Siyanawa, sa pangalawang pagkakataon ay inyo pong tugonan ang aming mga katanongan.

Salamat at lubos na gumagalang,

Manuel A. Amora
Secretary General
OFW Congress-Riyadh
*****

Dear Sir Bong,

Ganito ba ang Bagong Bayani? Sa RECRUITMENT AGENCY pa lang, NAGDURUSA NA.. ano naman kayang pagdurusa ang madadatnan ko sa bansang aking pupuntahan??

Ako po ay isang aplikante ng isang agency, bale Taiwan Care taker. Netong last week po nag withdraw ako sa application ko kasi po almost 4 months na ako nag apply pero wala pa pong kasiguraduhan kung makakaalis pa ko although sinabi nila my employer na ko at on-going processing pa contract ko. Dahil nga po sa katagalan nag decide na ko na sabihin sa agency na mag baback-out na ko. Nung sinabi ko po ‘yun saka nila sinabi na dyan na daw ung contract, galit na galit po ‘yung may ari ng agency sa kin at pinagmumura ako at sinigawan sa harap ng mga tao at pinukpok pa ng malakas ‘yung mesa nya. Pinagtulungan po ko ng assistant ng me ari ng agency sa pagsisinungaling at kung ano anong sinasabi. Hinahanap ko naman po kung san ‘yung sinasabi nilang contract pero nagalit pa po sila at sinabing bakit pa nila papakita eh magwiwithdraw na ko. Ibig sabihin po ‘nun talagang wala pa kasi wala silang mapakita kaya po pinnindigan ko na na withdraw na talaga ako. Pinalayas po ko sa office nung sabihin ko na kelangan ko rin kunin ‘yung down payment ko. Di na po ko pinabalik sa loob at sinabi na lang na mag-antay ako.

Marami na po ako nakausap at nakilala na applicant na nagwiwithdraw at nagcocomplain dahil sa sobrang tagal ng processing sa agency na to. Di ko naman po alam na ganito pala ang ugali ng may-ari, kelangan pang magsinungaling para maperahan lang ang mga tao at sinisindak pa ya para matakot. Isa pa po, may isang aplikante na hiningan nila ng down payment dahil my contract na daw pero after magbyad at hinanap ‘yung contract walang mapakita, nawawala daw po at hahanapin pa.

Bago po ang lahat nag insidenteng ito gusto ko lamang po itemized ‘yung mga ginawa pa ng agency namin:

Una po, nung sabihin po ng agency na may employer na ko humihingi po sila ng down payment para daw sa processing, nagbigay naman po ko ng initial na P18,000 kasi required po nila is P20k, wala po ko nun pinirmahan kahit job order man lang. Wala rin silang inisyu na resibo, nirecord lang nila sa record nila. After po nun 2 months pa ko nag antay pero wala pa rin balita, lagi po ko nagpa follow-up pero lagi nilang sinasabi na on-going processing na contract ko.

Pangalawa po, nagpapatraining po ang agency sa mga applicants nila para gawing katulong sa office nila at pinaglilinis ng CONDO ng may ari ng agency, araw araw po naglilinis ng office, nagluluto rin po kami at na- assign nga po sa ‘kin ‘yung 5 CR sa general cleaning kasi 3 storey yung building .Yung iba nga po kahit walng pang employer gusto nila magtraining agad. Ang reason po nila kung bakit ginagawa namin ‘yun para daw matuto kami incase na nasa Taiwan na marunong na kami. Ang nakakpagtaka po kasi nagtraining na kami sa TESDA, nagbyad nga po kami para matuto at magka certificate pero bakit kelangan pa namin gawin ‘yung pinapagawa ng agency?

Dahil po sa pangyayaring ito gusto ko lang po itanong ang mga bagay na to:

  1. Tama po ba ‘yung panghihingi ng down payment ng agency kahit wala pang contract or job order na pinipirmahan at di nila pag isyu ng resibo? may katapat po ba tong kaparusahan sa batas?
  2. Ano po ba dapat kung gawin dun sa ginawang pagsigaw at pagmura sa kin ng may ari ng agency at pagsasabwatan ng assitant neto.
  3. Makukuha ko pa po ba ‘yung down payment ko sa agency na P18,000, pinag-aantay po kasi nila ko at walang kasiguraduhan kung kelan.
  4. Magbabayad naman po ako kung totoong na-process na nila application ko pero pano ko po maveverify na binayaran nga nila ‘yun para po di ako maloko. Incase po ba na di nila talga binayaran ‘yung mga expenses at nagsinugaling sila may kaparusahan din po ba ‘yun?
  5. Yung pagpapa training po ba ng agency sa mga applicant ay legal, pano po kung wala silang permit?
  6. Tama po na kapag ang salary ng OFW ay P26,900 pwedeng P108,000 ang placement fee? Sabi kasi ng may ari ng agency alam daw po ng POEA ‘yun kasi nakikinabang daw naman sila.
  7. Sino po ba pwede ko lapitan incase hindi ibigay ng agency ‘yung down payment ko at mga documents ko.

Sana po masagot nyo mga katanungan ko.

Maraming salamat po.

Milagring

Within your reach…

(We are a land-based recruitment agency, registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Concerned with your business’s specialized needs, we provide only competent, highly qualified professionals and multi-skilled workers. We cater our services to businesses of: Healthcare | Information Technology | Education | Construction & Infrastructure |Hotel & Travel | Industrial Sector Globalization is our main thrust and you can rest assured that all your manpower needs will be met. “Man Resources” works closely with institutions whose ethics and values are in line with ours – believing that to strengthen one’s global position and keep it strong, one must start with a competent, well-treated, and motivated work force. “All Access”. Thru phone, email, cable or the internet, we are always within your reach whenever and wherever in the world you may be. “At Home”. Philippines: the site of the best human resources. It is one of the largest and the most globally competitive in the world. “Power Handling”. Our senior management personally handles your needs and our staff is highly competent, that each specific sector’s manpower will be filled expeditiously with the right people. “Tried & Tested”. We are linked to various educational and training centers because our pre-selected applicants get continuous training depending on your company’s requirements. “Legitimate business”. Duly recognized by the SEC and other government agencies,, you can be assured that every transaction and arrangement with us is legitimate and real.)

A well flowered description of a reputable, license and premier recruitment agency in the Philippines where a probable employer’s trust is the main mission of their agency’s profile but not to a prospective OFW applicant.

Our attention has been drawn to this particular recruitment agency in Philippines whom I will not name in this entry, perhaps at this time.

A distressed OFW, now roaming around Batha is a victim of a contract substitution by his employer and probably in connivance with this premier recruitment agency.

This poor OFW signed a two year contract through this recruitment agency in the Philippines as “Electro Steel” with a monthly salary of USD 700.00, equivalent to SAR 2,625.00 or an equivalent to Philippine currency of P 30,445.00 yet when he arrived in Saudi Arabia he was transferred to new employer. His salary was reduced to a mere SAR 1,200, worst he didn’t even receive his salary for nine months. He received a mere SAR 50, SAR 100, SAR 80 and forced to sign a blank paper every time he received such an amount. Worst he was assigned in a remote area near the Yemen border, 50 kilometers away from the nearest town of where he was situated.

Awful, he didn’t work as“Electro Steel” whatever this work is – but instead work as a helper in a small printing press. He was maltreated like an ordinary household worker, and sometimes beaten whenever he made mistake to any job this employer wants him to do.

He told me that every night, he asked to himself “paano kung di ko na makayanan at mapatay niya ako at kung hindi, ako ang makapatay dahil sa galit?” (what if this physical abuse caused my life or reach to the point that I may accidentally kill my employer out of rage?)

This was the question he keeps on asking to himself every time he goes to bed. He always weigh the consequences of what will happen to his family of four at home if he will be in jail forever or worst – beheaded. One day he decides to run-away, “buti na lang po may pumara sa akin na truck sa highway kaya po nakarating ako dito sa Riyadh” he narrated to me his ordeal while his hands was shaking. A decision that he never regrets rather than stay in his employer that he may be feel sorry for the rest of his life, he told me.

ATTENTION to all recruitment agencies in the Philippines, “MAN Resources” in particular, tingnan nyo naman kung sino ang mga kliyente ninyo? Kawawa naman po itong mga kahanay namin na pina-paalis ninyo or dini-deploy ninyo at ngayon nagliwaliw sa Batha at nakikitulog at nakikikain na lang sa kung saan saan. Di na ba kayo naaawa sa mga OFWs na ito? Hindi nyo ba alam na ang Saudi police ay hindi na po nang-huhuli ng takas? Kung hinuhuli man, ikukulong muna ito ng matagal bago e-report sa ating Embahada. Hindi ba ninyo alam na kung hindi magbibigay ng Exit clearance ang magaling ninyong kliyente puwedeng habang-buhay magliwaliw sa Saudi Arabia ang pina-alis ninyong OFW? Magbasa naman po kayo ng diyaryo pagkatapos ninyong maningil ng placement fee sa inyong mga pinapa-alis na OFW!

The idea of slavery is not anymore happening in the 21st century; however, it is also hard to imagine that the remnants of it still exist in some areas of the Middle East and perhaps in the other part of the globe.

We are here working legally under the protection of our government as a documented OFWs. However, sometimes OFWs like me find just the very opposite, we find ourselves abused, isolated and exploited. Sometimes no one else can turn too, not even the government agencies stationed in the receiving countries that are supposed to protect us from further humiliation. The same government agencies that says “magpahuli ka na lang para ma-deport or di kaya’y magtrabaho ka na lang kahit walang work permit para makaipon ka ng pamasahe pauwi or pambayad sa tinakasan mong employer para bigyan ka ng exit clearance dahil hindi mo tinapos ang iyong kontrata”.

Para saan po ang OWWA mandatory membership? Para saan po ang mga binabayaran namin bago makakuha ng OEC? Saan na ang tinatawag ninyong Bagong Bayani?

Ngayon pa lang Madame Mai Anonouevo of ATIKHA at 2010 Model OFW of the Year winner for the land-based sector Kagalang-galang Mr. Ermie Garon, kung totoo po na maging isa kayo sa mga bagong Board of Trustee ng mga government agencies na ito, isama nyo na po sa inyong listahan ang mga problemang ito upang mabigyan ng pagbabago ang takbo ng mga ahensyang ito at  maging sulit po ang binabayad namin sa mga nakatagalang Board of Trustees  sa mga ahensya ng gobyernong dapat kami ay pangalagaan.

MAN Resources, I challenge you now – tulongan nyo po na makauwi ang OFW na ito dahil kung hindi ipa “All Access ko kayo thru phone, email, cable or the internet, IWAGAYWAY ko po ang inyong pangalan sa google search. Kung may tanong kayo I am always here  within your reach.”

By: Bong Amora (10 July 2011)

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/

OFW’s opposed newly appointed OWWA Board

OFW’s opposed newly appointed OWWA Board

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

OWWA BOT

OWWA BOT

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

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

The Petition demands includes:

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

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

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

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

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

The current OWWA Board of Trustees are:

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

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

Members:

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

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

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

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

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

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!”

Nowhere to Go…Where are They?

My blood pressure goes up to a level of 150/150, reading inquirer.net online breaking news about “Abused maids die each week in Lebanon“.

Darna "GMA's Super Maids"

Darna "GMA's Super Maids"

I speak to myself loudly asking; How many in KSA???? How many untold stories of rape, maltreatment and abused in Riyadh alone? And how many of them under the care of fellow OFWs who instead of giving them shelter and comfort; only to give them more agony and pain. Who to trust? Nowhere to go…

Why our Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh, our Philippine Embassy in particular can not provide refuge and even refused to admit our fellow OFWs in distress?

What happen to  Magna Carta for Migrant Workers  of 1995 provision under III: Services, Section 19 Establishment of a Migrant Workers and other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center? What’s the use of this Center if they can not provide shelter to distress OFWs? Ano ang trabaho ng mga kawani sa Center na ito?  Umuwi na lang kayo! Ang laki pa naman ng allowance ninyo dito! Dollar pa nga yata!  

The establishment and operations of the Center are joint undertaking of various Philippine government agencies overseeing the plight of our Filipino migrant workers. Now! Where are they?!!#$%

TY Congen Lomondot & Consulate Staff

Today’s Arab News online “Number of Filipinos Seeking Deportation in Jeddah Swells.”

Our heartfelt gratitude to ConGen for a job well done. It is just a matter of diplomatic initiative that contributes a lot in the on going deportation process for our overstaying compatriots in the Kingdom.

 

To make it clear, the consulate issued statement that “this is not for workers who have yet to finish their contracts,” they added “those being called are Filipinos who have overstayed their visas while in the Kingdom for Umrah or Haj or for those who contracts have been finished.” It means those OFW runaways who have pending cases with their employers for abandoning their job are not yet off the hook. Their plight depends on the employers’ coordination to provide them Exit Visas as prescribed by the host country.  And it depends on how our diplomatic initiative effort works in this particular issue. Reliable sources from the Consulate inform me that they’re working on it. Thank you…

 

Though the main issue here is not the Government-to-Government negotiations to let our OFW in distressed leave the Kingdom but on how to accommodate those OFW runaways that keeps on flooding at our Embassy/Consulate every hours of the day.

 

OWWA Board of Trustees

 

The news item a week ago in which our Consulate personally asking Filipino community, individuals and good Samaritans to contribute something for the needs of our unfortunate OFWs are understandable enough that our Government are short of resources for their needs. This is the question that we keep on asking for many long years now, WHERE are the funds from various Government entities intended for this purpose? Why our Government cannot provide a better place for their stay, enough food to eat and things to use?

 

A million dollar question that keeps on reverberating in my ears as an Overseas Filipino Worker for a quite a time now…

Hangyo lang! Mr. Secretary

News item reported in the Daily Tribune dated today 04/24/07 that DOJ Chief Raul Gonzalez buys vote of Barangay heads of Iloilo, his bailiwick. The report said, he even admitted it in a radio station interview that he offered P10,000 to Barangay Captains in exchange for Team Unity sweep in the area.

 

HUH! I don’t really like this guy from the beginning he assumed the office as Secretary of Justice. I knew too that he was given the portfolio “bayad sa utang na loob” on his participation in the impeachment against former Pres. Erap and everybody knew that! “Bulag na ang pinoy pag hindi ito nakikita”

 

Every time I saw him on TV, I always ignore him and changed channel; I have to admit nakakainis tingnan “lalo na pag pipikit pikit ang mata”. I also observed that he always pre-judged or announced in media a possible outcome of a certain case, which is very wrong for a Secretary of Justice to do so. I also noticed of many books and papers in his table, “paano maka pag concentrate ang isang Kalihim ng Hustisya sa ganitong environment”. When I was working in a law office, I always made sure that my lawyer boss surroundings are clean and pleasing to his clients. I even visited former Justice Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III at DOJ where everything was in order in his office.

 

He even says that nothing is wrong with his offer since he is using his own money, Oh! My Gosh! Mr. Secretary, “konting delicadeza naman, HANGYO LANG”.

 

Vote buying is the number one problem in our country during election. Galit ako sa mga bumibili at nagpapabili ng boto!         

 

Malapit na akong umuwi, baka e-hold mo ako sa airport ha! Just pouring out some emotions that clogged deep within me.

 

Sorry!  Philippines is a free country I have the right to say what I want to say that what I feel is right. Anyway, don’t get offended, I am an ordinary OFW I can’t harm you.

FDH $ 400.00 minimum wage

I watched the news the other day where hundreds of our Filipina Domestic Helpers protesting the Government required minimum monthly wage of USD 400.00.

While other countries like Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, etc., complains of very low salary aside from maltreatment and abuse.

One thing pops out in my brain cell, most likely the said protest was organized by recruitment agencies opposed to the said policy.

Maid for Sale

Maid for Sale

Ito namang ating mga kababayan sigaw pa ng sigaw sa harap ng DOLE ang lakas pa! Pag dating sa Saudi or other parts of Middle Eastern countries pag may masamang nangyari ayaw ng sumigaw, tatalon na lang mas madali ang repatriation. Kung sisigaw man, galit sa ating gobyerno dahil walang ginawa. Hay naku! Ano ba talaga? Mag isip isip naman kayo! para rin naman sa kabutihan ninyo ito.

Recruitment agencies said that the new wage policy could cause a sharp drop in the deployment of Filipino domestic helpers. So Whatttttt!!!??? Dahil mabawasan kayo ng income. Pag may problema ang FDH ang tagal ninyong mag response. Kayo kaya ang nandito sa lugar namin na halos araw araw nakaka-received ng text at tawag ng mga minaltrato at ni-r…e na mga FDH natin.

I agree with Sec. Arturo Brion that “our maids deserve better treatment not only in terms of decent salary but also in terms of greater respect from their employers. Many have lost their honor and dignity by accepting low wages and succumbing to employers’ abuse and exploitation.”

Kaya lang siguradohin ng Gobyerno na ang pinapadala ninyong FDH ay talagang may alam, baka naman makuha rin sa lagay ang mga sertipikong hinahawakan nila at pagdating dito walang rin palang alam sa trabaho. Hindi malayong mag-ala “Darna” ang ating mga FDH para mapadali ang lipad pauwi sa atin.