OFWs’ plight tops Aquino agenda in Laos–envoy

Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic—The plight and protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will figure prominently in President Aquino’s talks with European leaders during the 9th Asia Europe Meeting Summit (Asem) here, according to Philippine Ambassador Lumen Isleta.

Isleta said that among the many topics to be taken up in the biennial gathering of Asian and European leaders, President Aquino will give priority to issues related to migration.

Europe is host to many Filipino workers. The majority of the merchant marine fleet of Norway, for instance, is manned by Filipino seafarers.

“In the talks of the President with Europe as a whole, migration will figure quite prominently in the topics he will raise,” Isleta said.

Energy security is another matter the President intends to highlight, she said. The Asem Summit is expected to tackle various issues, including the euro zone crisis, climate change, sustainable development, and economic and financial setbacks.

Mr. Aquino is also expected to seek support for the Bangsamoro, the autonomous region to be formed in accordance with the recently signed peace agreement with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

It is not certain if the territorial disputes in the South China Sea would be on the agenda.

The President’s focus on migration comes on the heels of a recent analysis of the International Labor Organization (ILO) showing that domestic workers in Europe, including Filipinos, continued to be prone to abuse.

According to the ILO, the existence of laws for domestic workers has not been enough to protect them, with weak compliance and gaps in legislation.

Though there are labor inspectors, few domestic workers are eager to report or denounce their employers, it said.

Wrong perception

It further said that the failure to follow the laws was related to the perception of some people that domestic work was not a real form of employment. Many of the domestic workers in Europe are in the informal economy, and include illegal migrants. read more 

Taken from Phil. Daily Inquirer online news (4/11/2012)

About these ads

Remittance power of Overseas Filipinos to drive community development

Unlad Kabayan, a migrant worker NGO, is one of the beneficiaries of Remit4Change.

Innovation to Spur Remittance-driven Development thru Corporate Social Responsibility

A new programme, called Remit4changewas launched last week by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) in partnership with the Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research & Action (TIGRA), a California-based non-governmental organization. The program promotes an enabling environment for the collective remittance practices of Filipino overseas to boost local economic development.“With this programme, we aim to develop an innovative grassroots model of migrant-centered and driven development that truly embodies President Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership strategy for national economic development,” commented Sec. Imelda Nicolas of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. “We have partnered with TIGRA to adopt and adapt its Remit4change program which will generate funding for community-based projects through principles and practices of corporate social responsibility in the money transfer industry.”

Francis Calpotura, TIGRA Executive Director said: “Every time our kababayans use a US-based money transfer company accredited by TIGRA, that company will contribute $1 to a community development project of the remitter’s choice. The remitter selects from a list of projects aimed to improve the lives of migrant families.” According to TIGRA’s estimates, in 2010 alone, Filipinos overseas transacted more than 50 million money transfers from more than 120 countries.

“We launched Remit4Change for Latin America last year, and we’re ready to replicate the program in the Philippines this year. Our partnership with CFO is a historic step in making migration an option and not a necessity for economic survival for millions of Filipinos,” added Calpotura.

“We strongly support and campaign for Remit4Change which highlights the vital role of migrants in generating corporate community reinvestments as a viable and practical model that benefits migrant communities,” commented Melanie Valenciano, Program Officer at Unlad Kabayan, a Remit4change beneficiary and the lead Philippine-based, migrant worker NGO that collaborates with TIGRA in implementing the program. “Furthermore, Remit4Change also reinforces the broader need for lower, fairer, and more transparent remittance fee-pricing that will democratize the industry.” read more>>>>

Father’s Day Sticky Post: “Dahil Ako’y Tatay”

DAHIL AKO’Y TATAY

by: Brigido “Briggs” Napicog  (OFW-KSA)

Pitong tatauning, batang sumisigaw, tatay,tatay, tatay
Patakbong yumakap, sa amang dumating, galing hanap buhay
Sa mukhang kay amo, ay masasalamin mo, ang ligayang tunay
Sabik na kumalong, sa amang sang linggong, di niya nasilay

"Kalong"

Kahit na nga pagod, sa sanglinggong gawa, yaring kanyang ama
Anak na kaylambing, buong pagmamahal, niyakap din niya
Kasunod ng kanyang, malalim na hugot, ng buntong hininga
At nang kumawalay, napalis ang hapong, kanyang nadarama

Ito’y isang tagpo, ng ikot ng buhay, nang akoy naron pa
Nang akoy naron pa, sa sariling bansat , kasamay pamilya
Subalit nang dahil, sa pamilyang mahal, tumulak mag isa
Lumayo sa bansa, sapagkat pag asay, hindi ko makita

Sino sa atin ang, mulat mula pa ay, inibig malayo
Sa sariling bayang,kinasanayan na, ng isip at puso
At sino rin ba ang,ninais mawalay, higit pa nga lalo
Sa’ting kaibigan, kaanak kadugo’t, pamilyang binuo

Ikaw ako’t sila, di bat isasagot, wala kahit isa
Ngunit nagaganap, upang ang pangarap, mabigyang pag asa
Paanong di gayon sa sariling bansa, ay di nga makita
Liwanag sa daang, nilayong tahakin, nitong bawat isa

Dal’wang taong singkad, nagtiis naghirap, sa bansang kay init
Ngayon akoy lulan, ng isang sasakyan, na pang himpapawid
Habang naglalakbay, lumilipad din ang, diwa ko at isip
Di ko maitago, para sa pamilya, aking pagka sabik

Kung nooy sang linngo, kung akoy umuwi, galing hanap buhay
Ngayoy dal’wang taon , ano sa tingin nyo, tagpong masisilay
Anak kong kaylambing, ramdam ko na noon, mahal akong tunay
Hindi bat mas higit, dapat kong itugon, DAHIL AKOY TATAY.

Open Reply to Rose

Dear Rose,

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

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

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

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

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

Salamat sa pagbisita.

Bong

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

Regulating Recruitment Agencies in the Philippines

Costs of Private Recruitment Agencies for Migrant Labor Sometimes Outweigh Benefits, MPI Study of Philippines-UAE Corridor Finds

WASHINGTON —Private recruitment agencies manage much of the flow of the 200,000 Filipino workers who head annually to the United Arab Emirates, which is the third-largest destination for Filipino migrants after the United States and Saudi Arabia.

While the recruitment agencies, which are located in the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates, provide critical services such as logistical support and information about visa policies and living and working conditions, some abuse their clients by charging exorbitant fees or violating basic human rights.

In a new report, Migration’s Middlemen: Regulating Recruitment Agencies in the Philippines-United Arab Emirates Corridor, the Migration Policy Institute examines the recruiters’ practices as well as their regulation by the Philippine and UAE governments, finding room for significant improvement.

“While the two governments have regulated recruitment agencies’ operations for nearly three decades, there is a policy mismatch between the two regulatory systems that, coupled with difficulties in enforcing regulations, has led to inadequate protections for migrant workers as well as a continuing flow of unauthorized workers,” said the report’s author, MPI Policy Analyst Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias.

The result is a three-tier labor migration system for the nearly 600,000 Filipinos working in the United Arab Emirates (and comprising close to 12 percent of the UAE population):

  • A documented and organized labor migration based on written contracts following strict regulatory guidelines of both countries.
  • A labor flow based on shifting arrangements that typically result in a lower wage, a different job, and reduced benefits compared to those originally promised to migrant workers by recruiters.
  • An unregulated, unauthorized flow of workers who bypass the recruitment system altogether and migrate to the United Arab Emirates with a visitor visa.

The report was informed by 44 in-depth interviews with government, recruitment agency, employer, and NGO officials in the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines, as well as focus group discussions with 86 Filipino migrant workers in Dubai and Manila.

Click Cover Book for the full report

While both countries are considering more stringent regulations for recruitment agencies, the report cautions that both governments must first commit to fully funding and creating capable and effective institutions to jointly harmonize, enforce, and closely monitor the impact of current and new regulations. “Otherwise, regulatory changes could open the door to unintended effects, including increasing abuse and corruption and making illegal channels more attractive for prospective migrants,” Agunias said.

Kathleen Newland, who directs MPI’s Migrants, Migration, and Development Program, said: “The findings of this study are relevant beyond the Philippines-UAE corridor. They serve as a vital point of reference for other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere as they attempt to balance the need to create a flexible and dynamic labor migration system with the obligation to protect workers’ welfare in an increasingly transnational and interconnected global economy.”

The report also makes the case for new initiatives to empower migrants – who fill jobs as domestic workers, engineers, office assistants, and nurses, among other occupations – including a core set of rights and meaningful mechanisms for representation.

The report is available at www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/FilipinoRecruitment-June2010.pdf.

###

The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels.

OFW problem poses major challenge for next president

OFW problem poses major challenge for next president

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

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

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

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

Source: POEA Planning Division

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

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

***

Noynoy’s  Platform re: OFWs 

A Commitment to Transformational Leadership:

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

Converging Filipino Diaspora Global Initiatives for Sustainable Development

Converging Filipino Diaspora Global Initiatives for Sustainable Development

A conference of Filipino organizations in the Netherlands entitled “Converging Filipino Diaspora Global Initiatives for Sustainable Development” will be held on November 2, 2007. Prior to the said conference the participants will be having a preliminary conference on October 29 to 30 dubbed as “The Filipino Expert’s Meeting”.

Damayan

Damayan

The general objective of the conference is to develop a common agenda towards harnessing the development potentials of migration and underline the importance of the contribution of the migrant and overseas Filipinos to the development of the Philippines, emphasizing the better use of their remittances, skills and acquired knowledge.

The participants will include Filipino organizations, especially those involved in development projects, other migrants groups based in the Netherlands and Dutch institutions concerned with migration and development. Representatives of Filipino networks from other European countries as well as from North America, Asia, Middle East and from the Philippines is also part of the conference.

Filipino resource persons will shed light on the current situation of the Philippines on a number of relevant themes related to migration and development. A Panel of Reactors composed of migrant and overseas Filipinos will share their specific responses and current initiatives.

Habagat

Habagat

Invited guest include Senator Kiko Pangilinan to speak on the role and impact of the contribution of the Filipino diaspora to the development of the Philippines. Ms. Djahlia Sitti, of the Moro Human Rights Center, a young Moro leader, will focus on the role of women in development within the context of peace-building. Writer, poet and artist Ms Mila D. Aguilar will share her insights on the evolution of Filipino culture, the current challenges in the Philippines and entrepreneurial mass movement as a response. Congressman Mujib Hataman, Anak Mindanao Party list representative will share his view on good governance in the light of the current situation of the Bangsa Moro people.

Oxpam

Oxpam

Other invited speakers are; Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias of Migration Policy Institute, Washington , DC, Leila Rispens-Noel Programme Officer, Popular Campaigning Oxfam Novib, The Netherlands, Mai Anonuevo Atikha, Philippines and Prof. Rolando G. Talampas University of the Philippines.

Guests includes Burgemeester Job Cohen the Mayor of Amsterdam, H.E. Ambassador Romeo A. Arguelles, Philippine Embassy and Minister Bert Koenders of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Alex Veloso Bello, the President of OFW Congress-Riyadh is representing OFWs from Middle East.

The conference is a project of Habagat Foundation in cooperation with Damayang Pilipino sa Nederland, Bisayang Daku Network and core-OFW.

Habagat is a foundation put up in 1993 by Dutch citizens of Filipino origin, specifically from Mindanao. It believes in the potentials of the migrants as agents of change and development both in their countries of origin as well as in their host countries. This vision has been reflected in its lobby and advocacy efforts in synergy with various migrant and overseas Filipino networks. It has also initiated and supported development projects both in the Philippines and other developing countries, like Nepal. Its partners include migrant organizations and migrant-related institutions both in the Netherlands and elsewhere. On top of this, it has closely monitored the Mindanao situation. Aside from peace-information drives for Mindanao in the past almost 20 years, it has sent a Peace Delegation to the Philippines in December 2006 in partnership with the Multicultural Women Peacemakers Network in the Netherlands.

Damayang Pilipino sa Nederland or Damayan was registered as an organization of Filipino migrants in 1986. It is committed among others, to support initiatives of people’s organizations in the Philippines as well as to facilitate exchanges between Dutch organizations and Philippine-based groups. It has conducted and supported campaigns on migrant rights, social participation and integration as well as rallied against trafficking of women and violence at home. It has participated in various migrant lobby and advocacy work like the Absentee-Voting, Ratification of the UN Convention for the Protection of the Rights of the Migrants and their Families. Currently, in close cooperation with the local government of Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental and in partnership with community-based organizations, it has started the project Maria Goes To Town -this is establishing a market place functional to a number of neighboring villages. At the same time, it has supported a number of children to school, again in cooperation with the local governments, people’s organizations and public school officials in North Cotabato and Davao areas.

The Bisayang Daku Network or BisDak NL was established in early 1990’s among the Visayan-speaking migrant Filipinos in the Netherlands.. It has organized benefit activities to provide an occasion for the Filipino to meet and promote Filipino culture. Through these activities, BisDak raises funds for small-scale community projects in Southern Philippines.

The core-Overseas Filipinos Worldwide (Core-OFW) is a think tank of concerned individuals, migrant organizations, NGOs and other members of civil society based in Philippines, USA and Europe, each with different fields of expertise and affiliations. Its activities are facilitated by those based in the Netherlands where some of its active members come from.

Note:

For this entry and information, my heartfelt thanks to the Conference Secretariat headed by Grace Cabactulan, Habagat Foundation, Chairperson Stichting Habagat and Basco Fernandez of the Damayang Pilipino sa Nederland.