OFW Political Empowerment 2016


OFW representation in Congress

The Philippine Election 2016 is fast approaching. It will be held on May next year and being at home, I can feel and smell the preparation of some politicians in the surrounding community that I belong. Even in TV ads, some Presidentiables are busy making their own “papogi points” to the public. Of course, it’s part of their strategy to win the public sentiment on national issues at hand.

Talking about OFW Political empowerment, the OFWs were able to get a seat in Congress through the OFW Family Party List group who made it in the last 2013 election. Truly, we are proud that OFWs are finally represented in Congress since 14 years when former Congressman Sid Aligada and  Omar Fajardo was appointed by former President Fidel Ramos to represent OFWs in the Philippine lower house of Congress.

But frankly, I can’t feel of any changes being made or introduced on the various issues of government policies that concerns our OFWs. I am not against Congressman Roy Seneres and in fairness, the good Congressman filed several bills in Congress since he assumed office yet none of them made it to the President’s desk. Surprisingly, I read an online article that he is eyeing for 2016 Presidential election. That, I have so much doubt that he can even reach number  10 in the list of the highest votes for the Presidency. Well, for me 750 thousand votes are not enough to change the course of history from Congress to Presidency. My sincere apology to the former Ambassador, that’s only my opinion and I am entitled to it. However, if the good former Ambassador will stick to where he is now and ask his colleagues in Congress to prioritize his bills, then Sir, you have my one vote again.

OFW Political Empowerment in barangay level

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Photo taken from the website of Barangay Info System-Davao

During the 2013 barangay election there were 53,786,223 registered Filipino voters according to COMELEC website It means out 101 Million Philippine populations (taken from  worldometers) half of our population are registered voters.

How many per cent of OFW family comprised a mere barangay?  According to my neighbour who works at the local office of the Philippine Statistics Authority, in one particular barangay in Cebu, OFWs is comprised of 5% of the barangay population. Each family of that 5% population has 4 to 5 family members who are registered voters. Good enough for an OFW (former OFW or OFW family members or relatives) who wants to run as a barangay councilman with a 2,500 votes for a barangay population that consist of 10,000 registered voters.

Perhaps, the continuing saga in our fight for OFW political empowerment must start in barangay level. So, by representing the concerns of OFWs in a barangay or in many barangays around the Philippine archipelago, then the national scene will follow.

According to the April to September 2014 statistical report by Grace Bersales of Philippine Statistics Authority, there was an estimated 2.3 million Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs/OFWs) or those with existing work contract comprised 96.0 per cent (2.2 million) of the total OFWs.  The rest (4.0% or 92,000) worked overseas without contract.

The total of 2,392,000 OFWs plus  five of their families back home can even move a mountain apart to put a President in Malacanang with a total of 11,960,000 votes; near enough to what President Aquino garnered in 2010 presidential election.

Well that’s only a simple presumption, nonetheless  Benjamin Banneker, an African American scientist once said “presumption should never make us neglect that which appears easy to us, nor despair make us lose courage at the sight of difficulties.”

That’s the reason why I am advocating Overseas Absentee Voting registration and requesting those  975,263 Overseas Absentee Voters worldwide to update your voting status, especially to those 237,504 registered voters who failed to vote in the previous Philippine national election.

To my fellow OFWs, talk to your families back home, ask them to participate in the October 2016 barangay election and through them, we can now empower by representing our OFW sector in the barangay level.BongA    

Over 100 Filipino groups to hold key poll on Friday


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09/11/2013, QATAR:  More   than 100 Filipino groups recognised by the Philippine embassy in Doha   are expected to hold an election of officers of a newly-formed umbrella   organisation on September 13 (Friday).

In a circular e-mailed to  Gulf  Times recently, the embassy disclosed that United Filipino   Organisations in Qatar (UFOQ) will organise and spearhead major   activities for the Filipino community. It will plan and execute   programmes for the welfare of expatriates, including the annual   Philippine Independence Day celebration. It will also represent the   Filipino community at various official gatherings and events in the   country.

qrVice-consul Melvin Almonguera told Gulf Times that chairman,   secretary and treasurer made up the three elective positions for UFOQ.   The election will start at 2pm at the new chancery in the Jelaiah  area.

He  added that representatives who will attend the elections  are the only  persons eligible to be nominated and elected. Embassy  officials will  serve as the Commission on Elections.

Leaders of  various professional  organisations (such as accountant, architect, and  engineer groups) are  expected to vie for the three positions. 

Those  who have announced  their candidature include Jhin Tabuzo from the  United Architects of the  Philippines and Delfin Montenegro from the  Samahang Batangueno Qatar  (SBQ). Lyndon Magsino from the Philippine  Institute of Certified Public  Accountants was also mentioned by some  expatriates.

The organisations  that will participate on Friday  include the Philippine Institute of  Civil Engineers, Minsubasta,  Philippine Association of Safety Engineers,  United Pinoy Motor and  Motorcycle Group, and Foundation for Family and  Life Qatar Migrant  Workers. Dozens of sports, medical and artists’  groups as well as fraternities have confirmed their attendance.

It  is learnt that some aspirants have started seeking the endorsement of  other organisations while some groups have openly announced their  choice  by using Facebook since last week.

In the same circular, the embassy   reminded participants that an organisation may be represented by its   president or chairman or any designated representative with a written   authority signed by their  top officials.

In the meeting, the   chairman of the Philippine Independence Day Organising Committtee 2013   will also present his financial report regarding the event held on June   14. Almonguera had earlier said that there is also a need to streamline   the accredited groups. This, he stressed, will make information   dissemination easier and faster.

The vice-consul has expressed  optimism that the move will allow them, as well as community leaders, to   monitor and get updates from each group.  – GULF TIMES

Know your Philippine Embassy and Consulate Officials


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Surfing the Philippine Embassy website is one of the tasks I include in my morning routine, of course at the same time with a cup of coffee. Been doing it for the past two years in lookout for interesting information that I might be going to share here with you in our ofwempowerment blog.

philempersFor almost a year now since I decided to rest for a while in community service and activities; reading important events, news and advisories at PhilEmb website makes me still feel connected with the community that I’ve been serving for the past 20 years as one of the community leaders in the Kingdom. The last time I was with Filipino Community event when  Mr. Ernie Perez  the newly elected Global President of United Filipinos Worldwide for Community Development (UFWCD) asked me to be the Master of Ceremony  in the last September launching of  PHLPost e-Postmo service.  UFWCD is a SEC registered organization of OFWs worldwide where I was appointed as  UFWCD-Riyadh Chapter adviser.

And during the past few months surfing the Embassy website, I noticed that many new Foreign Service Officers from Manila were posted in Saudi Arabia to fill those who ended their tour of duty.

First Secretary and Consul Mohd. Noordin Lomondot, the Head of the Consular Section left on May 29, 2013 to assume as First Secretary and Consul in the Philippine Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Consul Lomondot also served as Philippine Consul General in Jeddah from 2004 to 2007. He was rumored to replace the then Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Tony Villamor however, the post of the Chief of Mission was given to the current H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago.

Section 29-Promotions of “Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991″ states that “Career ministers and chiefs of mission, class I and II, shall not have grade classifications within each class. Seniority shall be determined by their original dates of appointment as career ministers, as well as the dates of their original entry into the Department.”

On May 31, 2011  Ambassador Tago was confirmed by the Senate Commission on Appointments as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Yemen. Among those confirmed  at that time by  CA was Career Minister Uriel Norman R. Garibay, now Minister and  Philippine Consul General in Jeddah.

I was one of those who lobbied for Ambassador Ezz Tago the then Minister/Consul General and Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy in Riyadh. I was also among the OFWS along with FilCom Jeddah leaders who pushed the appointment of  Career Minister  Norman Garibay who was at DFA-Manila overseeing the Office of European Affairs as Executive Director. But prior to that position, he was the First Secretary and Consul in Philippine Embassy in Canberra, Australia In 1993 when I was a neophyte 28 year old OFW in Jeddah, the good Consul General Norman Garibay was a young and blooming diplomat with a rank of Vice Consul.

Another Embassy official ended her two year tour of duty was Ms. Nilda Oliva, Social Welfare Attache from the DSWD. Attache Oliva was replaced by DSWD Social Welfare Attaché Ms. Perlita Panganiban whose prior appointment, served as Chief of Division in Institutional Development and head of Technical Division, of DSWD in Cordillera Administrative Region.

The young Minister ConGen Norman Garibay w/ FilCom Leaders in Jeddah

The young Minister ConGen Norman Garibay w/ FilCom Leaders in Jeddah

The Filipino community also welcomed Hon. Marshall Louis M. Alferez, who assume as Minister and Consul General in the Embassy. He will supervise the assistance-nationals sections (ANS) vacated by my sparkling friend Consul Atty. Roussel Reyes.  Alferez  in 1999 was posted in London as First Secretary and Consul  in charge of Political Section and eventually became Minister and Consul. He joined the Department of Foreign Service in 1996.

Just last month, former Philippine diplomat to France Hon. Winston Dean Siscon Almeda was designated Third Secretary and Vice Consul of Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, who replaced Consul Mohd. Noordin Lomondot as head of the Consular Section.From March 2008 to July 2009, Hon. Winston Almeda was Special Assistant in the Office of the Undersecretary for Special and Ocean Concerns, handling issues relating to the peace processes, maritime security and anti-terrorism.

If we have new career diplomats at Philippine Embassy, we have also newcomers, one of them is Ms. Maria Angelica Capili-Genotiva, Third Secretary and Vice Consul who joined the Department of Foreign Affairs on 7 July 2008. Ms. Genotiva passed the Foreign Service Examinations in 2007. Her first foreign assignment on 26 February 2011 at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Ms. Nora Jamil Nirza joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in November 2002. In the Home Office she was assigned at the Office of Consular Affairs. She is a graduate of BSC-Marketing (cum laude) from the University of San Jose Recoletos-Cebu.

Mr. Rene Diamante Salazar is a graduate of AB Economics from the Sacred Heart College in 1988. He joined the government service in July 2001. Initially, he was assigned at the Office of Consular Affairs as clerk and served in Lucena Regional Consular Office as Alternate Signing Officer. Prior to his assignment in Riyadh, Mr. Salazar has undergone seminars and training on Phil Passport: Production, Security Features and Fraud Detection; Course on Personality Enhancement and Public Service; Training on anti-Trafficking in Persons for Consular Officers, Protecting Domestic Workers from their Vulnerability to Forced Labor and Trafficking. He was a recipient of the Outstanding Employee award in 2006.

Less than a year ago, dynamic, energetic and respected career diplomat Mrs. Germinia V. Aguilar-Usudan assumed her duties as Consul in Jeddah. She was stationed at the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh as Second Secretary and Consul from 2002 to 2006.

Mrs. Aguilar-Usudan who is a lawyer, served as Principal Assistant at the Office of Consular Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs from June 1997 to October 1999, as Third Secretary and Vice Consul at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE (1999-2002). When she was placed back at DFA-Manila , she was the Vice Chairman of the Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat. After a two year stint in Manila she was posted back abroad as First Secretary and Consul at the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

You can surf the Philippine Embassy website at http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org/ or click this link to see the updated list of Philippine Embassy Personel http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org/index.php/about-us/embassy-personnel. For Philippine Consulate General located in Jeddah, please click the following link http://www.pcgjeddah.org/ .

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The U.S. Department of State in their website has labeled every non-European country a “hardship post” for their American diplomats and that include Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.

Factors considered belong to hardship post are difficult living conditions due to climate, crime, health care and pollution. Other factor like security issues, for example in a war torn Afghanistan.

Isang Taon pa...WARAY na!

Isang Taon pa…WARAY na!

Philippine government may consider Saudi Arabia a hardship post for their Filipino Foreign Service workers. Our government should compensate their hardship for taking care of our OFWs in distress, not to mention that there are estimated more or less 1 million Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia under their watch. For me, naturally they deserved 15% to 20% extra pay as “hardship differential”.  However in return, we are expecting our Foreign Service officers to serve heartily and provide adequate services to their kababayans especially to those OFWs in distress who needs their utmost care and attention.  Many of them are those in detention.  I am hoping that the new ANS Chief, the Minister and Consul General Marshall Louis M. Alferez will give his full attention to those fellow OFWs incarcerated in various jails of the Kingdom.

Well, as what I mentioned in my old blog post “from KSA to Washington DC, USA”,  after sakit sa ulo, after all the kunot noo, lagas ng buhok, and batikos from some community organization and press – to recompense all of the abovewill be a good posting and shining moments somewhere in the top 10 best cities of Europe and America. – BongAmora

Click here >>>>>>>> PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS LABOR OFFICE (POLO) PERSONNEL  AS OF JUNE 2013  

Clcik here >>>>>>>>PHILIPPINE EMBASSY ATTACHED AGENCIES PERSONNEL AS OF JUNE 2013

 

Source: Philippine Embassy-Riyadh website, Philippine Consulate in Jeddah website, U.S. Department of State website

OFW Voice: Atin pong pakinggan


In  our latest post survey below titled “Survey para sa mga OFW at kanilang pamilya”, please allow me to paste below replies from  our  Ten OFW respondents on question No. 10  in particular.  

Question No. 10:

Anong mga serbisyo at benepisyo ang gusto mong makita mula sa pamahalaan ukol sa usaping pangkalusugan ng mga OFW at pamilya nito?

Respondent No. 1:  Sana mayroong OFW Hospital sa Pinas para naman tumaas ang tingin ko sa sarili ko bilang OFW. (From: Sergio)

Respondent No. 2: MOBILE HOSPITAL OR HEALTH FACILITY NA PRA SA KAPWA FILIPINO NA MAY NURSE AT DOCTOR NA FILIPINO. (From: Arish)

Respondent No. 3:  Bigyan nila ng halaga ang OFW kasi malayo kami sa family at dapat lang tulungan kami ano mangyari kasi kami ay ngbabayad ng tama sa ating pamahalaan. Ang dapat pansinin nila ang bayan natin maitama muna ang bansa natin bago sila hihingi ng anumang pera sa OFW. (From: Andy) Continue reading

Astillero nomination to POEA Board blocked by Philippine Embassy in Riyadh


(Updated  6:10 PM) 15.03.2012, RIYADH— The fight over the nomination of a new Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Board of Trustee, an agency that oversees the government employment program and protects the rights of Filipino migrant workers recently backfires with Philippine Embassy in Riyadh allegedly blocking the confirmation of  Dr. Carlito Astillero in the POEA Board.

It was known from DOLE Secretary Hon. Rosalinda Baldoz herself  that the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh has written to her blocking the appointment  of former OFW Dr. Astillero to the Board.

This is the first time that a true bloodied OFW from Saudi Arabia has been nominated to the post.  The Philippine Consortium on Migration and Development (PHILCOMDEV) nominated the multi awarded and MOFYA 2011 Awardee  Dr. Astillero.

Philippine Consortium on Migration and Development (PHILCOMDEV) is a network of thirty-six (36) non – government and people’s organizations, microfinance institutions, cooperatives, community based organizations, networks, and individuals who are involved on the issue of migration, human rights and development – particularly the empowerment of migrants, overseas Filipinos, their families and communities as social development actors, addressing the social costs of migration, optimizing the benefits of migration, and contributing to people-oriented Philippine development.

Dr. Astillero in a letter addressed to the newly designate Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin Tago said please, investigate this matter and let the truth come out. Although I have no interest anymore to serve as board of Director of POEA, I want to clear my name of the report of your Embassy staff.” Dr. AStillero in his letter lamented that  “If I have not done the best thing for our people in diaspora in Iran, Libya, and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia how come that former President Corazon Aquino awarded me Bagong Bayani in 1992 and President Fidel Ramos awarded me Outstanding OCW in 1994, and the same President Ramos again awarded me with Special Presidential Banaag and Sikat Award in 1996 and this not to mention my recent awards after retirement last July 26, 2011 the Model OFW Family of the Year 2011 Award (MOFYA) last December 7, 2011 and the Outstanding Balikbayan Reputation Award (OBR ) in December 9, 2011.”

Dr. Astillero and Engr. Robert Ramos (Two Filcom Leaders in Saudi Arabia nominated for POEA Board)

It was alleged that the former hospital the good doctor was working, the Al Mishari Hospital did wrong doings to its Filipino staff and Dr. Astillero had not done anything to help resolved their cases of complaints by Filipinos working in the said hospital. “The truth of the matter, humbly speaking, and all cases of complaints involving our Filipino staff could not have been solved without my intervention.” The emotional letter says addressed to Ambassador Tago.

Community leaders in Saudi Arabia believed that  the good doctor was framed by some other quarters opposed to the nomination. The nomination was blocked simply because of intrigues and to protect the Embassy staffs, POLO and OWWA’s from further humiliation for their negligence, failure, indifference and insensitiveness  to resolve grievances of OFWs complaints with employers.

“It is sad to note that the blockade would come from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh”  says Jun Aguilar, head of Philippine based organization Filipino Migrant Workers Group.  

Aguilar, also in a letter addressed to Ambassador Tago said This could had been the first time that a legitimate OFW coming fresh and directly from the ranks be appointed in any government line agencies serving the OFW sector had it not been blocked. The staff/official of our Embassy who is blocking the appointment could have shown some courtesy by contacting the nominee and asked his side on the alleged issue of his engagement with Al-Mishari Hospital.

The Sector was already celebrating upon hearing that Dr Astillero is to be appointed in POEA Board, we thought finally a voice in that very important policy making body would be represented legitimately. I just hope a fair inquiry/investigation be conducted and a report/explanation be provided to the Sector very soon”, Jun Aguilar added. 

The Embassy side had not received any request from the DOLE Secretary for background information or comment on your appointment as POEA BOD member”, Ambassador Ezzedin Tago  said, in an email reply to Dr. Astillero.

Ambassador Tago had just arrived from Manila and back in Riyadh two days ago.

“If my comment or opinion was asked, I believe you already know what I would have saidThe embassy will verify if anyone from the other agencies in Riyadh had received such a request or sent an unsolicited comment or reservation on your appointment.” Ambassador Tago added.

OFW Congress President Alex Veloso Bello said, that he will convene the OFW Congress to address the issue, this is unfair, if the Embassy is behind all these, therefore this is an insult to us seasoned leaders.”

If there was really a letter, verified coming from an embassy staff or its attached agencies and found to be just pure harassment to the nominee, the OFW Congress will write a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs and fight for the expulsion of the Embassy staff and ask DFA that he or she should not to be posted in any Philippine diplomatic post abroad.

Engr. Robert Ramos, a well respected community leader in Riyadh commented “that seems there was a political reason behind which I’m also victim at one point of time.  Ramos was also nominated to the POEA Board but was deleted on the list due to a mere technicality of requirements.

Former Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Rafael Seguis, now Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary promised to look into the matter and warn the community not to arrive into conclusion based on speculations, if  there was indeed a letter  from the Embassy, then we should look into it, verify and investigate, I am sure he or she will be identified.” Seguis added.

If the letter was sent through email and the sender hide his or her identity as Embassy staff then we can hire computer forensics experts to identify, dig deeper, analyze and trace who are those behind all these” said one Filipino community leader who is expert in IT based in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Astillero has been endorsed  in the past, as  OWWA  Administrator  by Filipino organization around the globe and now nominated as POEA Board by PHILCOMDEV.  –end- By: BongA

New OFW regional group sworn into office by Street Sweepers


Tacloban City – Taking oath before a “Street Sweepers” may not be a good idea under Section 41 of the Philippine Administrative Code but that doesn’t stop for a newly constituted organization to take their oath of office administered by street sweepers in the city.

Pagkakaisa OFW & Family in Region 8, Eastern Visayas

PAGKAKAISA OFW and Family in Region 8, Eastern Visayas were sworn in before the Tacloban street sweepers during the association’s First General Assembly on June 18, 2011 held at the Boulevard Restaurant in Tacloban City.

The group comprised of OFWs, active and ex-OFWs and so with their families is a non-stock and non-profit association under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines.

The gathering was witnessed by more than three (300) hundred participants. The affair was honored by the presence of relatives and families of the OFWs from Region 8. The affair had its many firsts, unlike other induction ceremonies, there were neither big names nor fun fare for having celebrities and politicians as its honorary guests of honor.

The association invited three street sweepers from MMDA to induct them into office; they are Mr. Virgilo Bostrillo, Mr. Darwin Balderama and Mr. Francisco Salas.

The officers of  the association firmly believes that the three symbolizes the  true  Filipino values, which is, despite of difficulties and hardships  they’re facing, they are still proud on what they are doing of serving  the public and do everything  to improve their personal living conditions. One of them is a College Criminology graduate.

“The Honorable Street Sweepers” Mr. Virgilo Bostrillo, Mr. Darwin Balderama and Mr. Francisco Salas

The association believes that it’s about time for the OFWs and their families to come together and form a worthy cause that will not only benefit the OFWs and their families but would somehow lessen the alarming poverty rate among the people in Region 8. The group will embark on the concept of  TEAM WORK and synergy among its members as the saying goes: “kung kaya nila, kaya rin namin.”      

The Founding President, Mr. Alex Veloso Bello, the  MOFYA 2010 National Special Awardee in his acceptance speech stressed the need for a strong commitments among its members. He pointed out to achieve the following objectives:

– To conduct an opportunity for its members to gather a liberal discussion on issues involving the OFWs and their families in Region 8.

–  To promote strong unity and machinery and together they will express their own opinions and suggestions on how to further improve the lives of the OFWs and families in Region 8.

–  To create a global network of federal association among other regions through modern technology and communication in coordination with the Philippine government.

–  To formulate and support advocacies and significant bills to the Philippine government concerning the welfare, benefits, education, training, deployment and re-deployment and other related matters that are beneficial to OFWs or ex-OFWs and their families.

Participants (OFWs, ex OFWs and Family)

Bello emphasized that the association’s objectives can only be realized through strong devotion and dedications among its officers and members. “It is the officer’s aspirations to develop its members to become leader’s in the future through proper education and honing their interests” he added.

The group believes that as poverty line of the Filipino people increases, there will be more people suffers from poverty and blaming the government for all of these is not the solution. Pagkakaisa OFW and Families will take part of helping the people in Region 8 to become self- reliant and to motivate them to help themselves.

Bello explained that “it is about time that OFWs like us should think of ways and means to help the government alleviate the living conditions of the people in Region 8. The profile of our Region shows that there are more middle class and lower class families who cannot afford to send their children to school.”

He also reminded the OFW families who are left behind to handle properly the finances being sent by the family member who happens to be an OFW worker and just don’t rely on the remittances being sent.

The newly inducted officers are; President: Alex Veloso Bello, Executive Vice President Noel Sia, Vice President for Northern Leyte: Violeta S. Sabornido, Vice President for Southern Leyte: Leo Quirante, Vice President for Western Leyte: Paul Villamor, Vice President for Eastern Samar:  Angelita Alalim, Vice President for Western Samar: Reynaldo Tuazon, Vice President for Northern Samar Danilo Pancho, Vice President for Biliran: Pablito Cuizon.

OFW and Families of Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) Founding Chapter

The Executive Officers are; Secretary: Rosario Macapugas, Assistant Secretary: Nida Cortez, Treasurer: Delia Reyes, Assistant Treasurer: Norma Enerlan, Auditor: Floresa Tabuloc, Asst. auditor: Julie Saldana, Marshals: Victor Quimbo and Arturo Bello, Jr.

The Board of Directors are; Tacloban City: Dr. Pantaleon Hobayan (Chairman of the Board), Rogelio Labbarete, Evengeline Bello, Lolita Entong, Tess Contado.

Tanuan: Beatriz Aleta, Dulag: Eugenio Alicando, Alang-alang: Annariza Alve, Ormoc City: Araceli Sevilla (Vice Chairperson), Isabel: Cecila Orsalez, Calubian: Nida Robin, Almeria: Crisanto Calvez, Basey: Flor Lagutan, Calbayog City: Edgar Madeja, Babatngon: Cesar Nacorda, Baybay: Teresita Gabi.

The association Board of Advisers: Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis and 2009 OWWA Land Based  “Most Outstanding OFW Awardee  Engr. Francisco “Jun” Aguilar, Jr.

Although, PAGKAKAISA agreed to develop self – reliance among them but, they are still expecting support from the government and Non Government Organization to start the projects that they started to conceptualize.

The group also encourages other regions in the country to organize PAGKAKAISA OFW and Family and to consolidate their strength  that could eventually bring and empower OFW families into the mainstream of the Philippine society. – end – by: BongA

Why We Need a Comprehensive OFW Economic Reintegration Legislation?


Babalik AKO Bayan Ko!

A few months ago, I featured an excerpt of a blog entry from a former OFW who was known in the OFW Community in Riyadh. In fact we met each other in 2003 during the 1st OFW Conference on Reintegration in KSA initiated by then Labor Attaché Jainal Rasul, Jr.  Like me, he was one of the resource speakers in that conference but we haven’t got the chance to be introduced with each other.

That particular blog entry titled “Dream Big Dreams – a Gadfly’s Wish Listcaught to my attention.  It is a dream for a creation of a specific body tasked with OFW economic reintegration.  And this could only be realized through a legislation to be enacted as a law by the Philippine Congress.  

The same blog entry that inspired OFW Congress Executive Council members to pass a resolution addressed to Pnoy and VP Binay, to quote as follows:     

**“WHEREAS, some of our returning OFWs failed in their business endeavors for lack of  entrepreneurial preparation, short of knowledge in savings mobilizations and unguided investment schemes resulting into failures and bankruptcy. In view of this, we strongly believed that a separate agency or institution is necessary to handle the complex issue of OFW Economic Reintegration. In line with the Presidents’ commitment for transformational leadership and the governments’ agenda that working abroad would not be anymore a necessity for Filipinos; WE therefore urge the President to facilitate the creation of a special body whose task is to craft up policies and comprehensive approach as well as concrete mechanisms for OFW Reintegration Program.**

Three days ago Romie Cahucom in his new blog entry “Why We Need a Comprehensive OFW Economic Reintegration Legislationexplains the necessity why our Congress should pass a comprehensive OFW reintegration legislation as early as possible. What was happening in Middle East and the natural calamity that hit Japan means displacement and suffering  for our modern day heroes.  Therefore, the government must be economically prepared for the eventual return of OFWs.

Click here>>> to read more “Why We Need a Comprehensive OFW Economic Reintegration Legislation.

Congratulations! UFWCD..


UFWCD

The United Filipinos Worldwide for Community Development-South Korea Chapter will celebrate  its  4th  Foundation Anniversary with  a special event: UFWCD Search for Ms. Valentines 2011 to be held on February  13, 2011 at 6:30 p.m., Tapdong Catholic Center.
United Filipinos Worldwide for Community Development (UFWCD) is a group of Filipinos worldwide. UFWCD was organized on February 10, 2007 and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Manila, Philippines on March 19, 2007.
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The mission and vision of this organization is to serve our less fortunate kababayan as well as addressing social and economic problems in the poorest communities back home.  Since the day it was founded UFWCD is actively involved in humanitarian aid such as providing relief goods and medical assistance to affected areas during disaster and natural calamities in the country.

UFWCD OFFICIAL CANDIDATES FOR MS. VALENTINES 2011 (Photo by Pete Rahon)

Just recently, the group donated books and school supplies to less privileged schoolchildren in Luzon area.  UFWCD is headed by Mrs. Fe Gimarino Kim based in South Korea.  UFWCD-KSA (Riyadh and Jeddah) Chapter is also an accredited Filipino community partner of Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia.
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Congratulations and Happy Founding Day! UFWCDinians!

Dream Big Dreams – A Gadfly’s Wish List


Dream Big Dreams – A Gadfly’s Wish List
By: Romie Cahucom (former OFW in Riyadh)

Dream big dreams; only big dreams have the power to move men’s souls”, the great Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius once said. Before the mania of the New Year season finally ends, I will hasten to add a couple of big dreams or wistful thoughts for the OFW sector.

And so, folks, bear with me for a short moment of wistful thinking. Let us dream of bigger things for this year 2011. Maybe some time this year a stroke of luck may bring us closer to the fulfillment of our desires. Or some of those in a position to act will act for us.

I only have two big dreams or wish list for the OFW sector and this concerns the ideas or line that I am most concerned about: investment literacy.

The first of this wish list is related to the last article I posted which is entitled, “A Gadfly’s Proposed OFW Resolution Calling and Urging Congress to Craft Legislation on OFW Economic Reintegration”. The dream is simply that Congress passes a law creating a specific body tasked with OFW economic reintegration. Or at least, a legislation along this line is crafted in either or both houses of Congress.

I have written about this in the last post and will elaborate on the compelling reasons and the possible structure or set up of this body in future posts. Hence, I will not dwell much about this issue in this post.

Just one last note: the body to be created by the law should be something similar to POEA and OWWA but specific to OFW economic reintegration. We leave the other aspects of reintegration (psychological, redeployment, and so forth) to DOLE. That is their line of expertise.

The second item on the wish list concerns the OFW organizations of which a myriad exists practically everywhere there is deployment – a testament to our gregariousness as a people. There are as many types as there as subsectors or interest groups: sports, social-civic, professional, regional-provincial ethnic and so forth. A small number are business and/or investment-oriented.

All these organizations, once registered with the Philippine Embassy, are officially called Accredited Community Partners or ACPs. At least, that’s what I know in the place where I used to work. Maybe other worksites have different names for the same thing.  read more>>>> 

Note: Romie Cahucom was a  former Senior Relationship Manager of a major Saudi bank, a  former long-time financial analyst and one-time Legislative Officer and  Executive Assistant of a  Senator. He finished Business Management from the University of the Philippines. He is at present engaged in financial consulting work.  

OFCI-Overseas Filipino Council International


Overseas Filipino Council, Int'l.

Overseas Filipino Council International – serving our expatriates by becoming bridge builders, torch bearers, and pledge keepers. Filipino expatriates, whether immigrants or contract workers, are currently estimated at some eight million: close to ten percent of our homeland’s population. But our sheer size – growing at the rate of 3,000 per day in 2005 – has far outpaced our needs. We have become a class – “overseas Filipinos” – but have yet to become a community.

 

This is the task embraced by OFCI:  serving our expatriates and thereby fashion a true, progressive community.  A community responsive to the genuine needs, interests, and concerns of its members. And, ultimately, those of our homeland.

The bedrock of OFCI – our common purpose – is service. Our expatriates – specifically our contract workers – have time and again been lauded as the “new unsung heroes” of our Republic. The least we can do, by holding hands across the seas, is to facilitate the availability of the tools we require to make ourselves even more well-informed, self-reliant, and valuable to our families, to our host countries, to our expatriate community, and to our homeland by leaving a good legacy for the next generation. Join us. Our task is daunting.  But we’re taking it on. Because we can.  We mean it.  Read more>>>> 

OFCI’s hospitality Room

Several years ago, I was asked to teach Filipino cooking at the US Naval Submarine Base in Bangor, Washington State. My love for cooking did not stop at the Naval Base, I would go to American homes and proudly present our Filipino cuisine.

Anita's Kitchen

In 2005, while organizing the OVERSEAS FILIPINO COUNCIL in California, ANITA’S KITCHEN caricature was sent in through the internet by our President Dindo Generoso, from Australia. I fell in love with the picture, with my signature Hairdo, why not? So ANITA’S KITCHEN became the LOGO and the kitchen came alive VIRTUALLY. OVERSEAS FILIPINO COUNCIL, became OVERSEAS FILIPINO COUNCIL INTERNATIONAL and ANITA’S KITCHEN became the OFCI’s hospitality room. – nitz sese schon

read more about>>>> Anita’s Kitchen

Region 8 OFWs formally organize themselves as an association


PIA Press Release
Friday, December 17, 2010

Tacloban City (December 17) — For the first time, the Overseas Filipino Workers in Eastern Visayas have organized themselves into an association, on December 17, 2010 at the OWWA Region 8 Conference Room.

OFW Alex Veloso Bello and Family during MOFYA Awarding Ceremony with H.E. Philippine President Noynoy Aquino and OFW Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, Vice President Jojo Binay andOWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon. Also in the photo, Globe Telecom chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz

Mr. Alex Bello, this year’s Model OFW Family Awardee for Region 8, land-based category, informed the Philippine Information Agency that during the OFW Family Day, upon the suggestion of Board Member Roque A. Tiu, the group decided  to meet on December 17 to formally organize into an organization.

Mr. Bello said that the OFWs could be a strong force in implementing changes in the Region, in the policies on OFWs and in helping other OFWs who are in  need, even OFWs who are now back from abroad.

With Mr. Bello is the interim President, vice presidents for every province  were also chosen. They are Teresita Contado; Reynaldo Tuazon of Samar, Rogelio  Labarrete for Northern Leyte, Araceli Sevilla for Western Leyte, and Pablito Cuizon for Biliran.

Rosario Macapugas is the Secretary while Delia Reyes isTreasurer. Batasheba Dy was chosen as the auditor and Victor Quimbo and Nida Robin are the Marshalls.

Mr. Bello who is also this year’s National Special Awardee for community  service, said that the association is named as  Pagkakaisa OFWs Families in Region 8.

The name expresses the desire of the OFWs to unite together to help Region 8 and to help other OFW families who are in need.

The little help from each member will have bigger impact when added together,  Mr. Bello said.

With the 26 years of being an OFW leader in Saudi Arabia, here is wishing Mr.  Bello and the other officers good luck in their endeavors. (PIA 8)

OFWEmpowerment Blog- 5 years of existence


OFWEmpowerment- 5 years of existence

Like any other anniversaries, today marks a new year to a new beginning and my further commitment to serve the OFW sector.

"AKO Pilipino Taas Noo Saan man Dako sa Mundo"- Babalik AKO Bayan Ko

Five years of existence is a symbol that increases in value or in strength with each passing year that reflects what this blog has made in the partnership of my fellow OFWs. As what I’ve said in my previous entry “I am not perfect but it’s quite relieving that someone out there believes in you.   

Today is a significant milestone for this blog and time to pause, to reflect, and to celebrate what has been accomplished in a relatively short span of years. Though this blog started  just for fun to ease the homesickness of the blogger far away from home and his loved ones; yet it is very fulfilling that it became a home to our fellow OFWs who needs answers to their unanswered questions.  

I came to realization that what I am doing is not enough, because with you as my partner, together – WE can do many things to help each others in times of needs and for us to lend a hand to those who needs us.

And as long as I am the writer, the editor and publisher  of this blog, I will remain your humble servant. I will try my best to keep this blog alive, to hear your sad stories, inquiries among others. I will also try to give all the information you need beneficial to the OFW sector.

To all my readers, visitors, friends and fellow community leaders, I have been deeply moved and heartened by your unwavering support and encouragement. I am gratified by the wholehearted endorsement of so many to read and subscribed “OFWempowerment” blog.

Today, WE still exist because of   YOU out there. You are the bedrock upon which OFWEmpowerment existed; you are the foundation that will sustain OFWempowerment towards a new years’ to come.

OFWempowerment 5 years of existence is also dedicated to my dear friend the late OFW Farmer Claro Ybanez  of  Davao and to his family. Wherever you are now  Nong Claro, I want you to know that –  We continue to exist because of  you and you are my inspiration.

To my brothers  Doods  and Bebs who believes of what I am doing, to my family, to my close friends, to OFW Congress-Riyadh and to all of you in the cyber world – THANK YOU So much!

Happy 5th Year Anniversary.

December 13, 2010

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The busiest day so far in the Year 2010 was  Wednesday, December 8, 2010.  

596 views on your busiest day, December 8, 2010

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