18/09/2013, RIYADH: King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology-KACST, both the Saudi Arabian national science agency and national laboratories whose function involve science and technology policy making in the Kingdom will hold today, 18 September 2013 a conference that will advance the development of science parks & technology incubators in the country.
The event called “Grand Technology Parks” key drivers to knowledge-based economy and society will be attended by various stakeholders and speakers like; Dr. Irwin Jacobs from Qualcolm, USA, Dr. Hermann Hauser of ARM Holding and Amadeus Capital of U.K., Prof. Timothy Tong President of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Mr. Falk Strascheg founder of Strascheg Center of Entrepreneurship in Germany and Myla Villanueva of Venture Capital and Wireless Wings from Philippines.
Science and Technology Parks offer a number of shared resources, such as incubators, programs and collaboratiove activities where innovation is key. It is a physical place that supports university-industry and government collaboration with the intent of creating high technology economic development and advancing knowledge.
The speaker from Philippines, Myla Crespo-Villanueva is a technology entrepreneur and the 1st Filipino to win the Ernst and Young “Woman Entrepreneur Award 2003″. EY is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It was the third largest professional services firm in the world by aggregated revenue in 2012 and is one of the “Big Four” accounting firms.
Myla Villanueva has founded five start-ups and corporations in Asia over the past 25 years, and is a leader in the Philippine IT industry. She is Chairman of the MDI Group, a pioneer and leading systems Integrator and partner of IBM, Dell, Apple, Cisco, Juniper, SaleForce.com and Blackberry in the Philippines.
Speakers from the Kingdom are Dr. Anas Alfaris, the Director of the Joint Centers of Excellence Program (JCEP) of KACST and hold the position as Co-Director of Center of Complex Engineering Systems (CCES) at KACST; Ahmad Al-Yamani, the Chief Operating Officer at TAQNIA and Vice Secretary General for Sustainable Development and Authority Affairs. He also served as the Chief Technology Officer of SAGIA; and Nawaf A. Al-Sahhaf, the CEO of BADIR Program for Technology Incubation, also of KACST.
The delegation of successful entrepreneurs and innovators will also visit Taif University the next day 19 September 2013 to meet students and faculty staff of the university and local officials.
Exclusive report By: M. Amora (DIC-KACST)
Philippine diplomatic missions are preparing for their country’s midterm elections due on May 13.
However, overseas polling will take place a month in advance. It will begin in the Kingdom on April 13 and end on May 13. Saudi Arabia hosts the largest number of overseas Filipino voters. The voters are eligible to vote for a presidential candidate, vice president, 12 senators and one party-list organization.
The autonomous election commission (Comelec) has decided to use state-of-the-art voting machines for the first time at seven overseas stations, including Riyadh and Jeddah. Called precinct count optical scan machines, they will be installed in the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the Jeddah Consulate next week.
“A special team from Manila will train embassy and consular employees to operate and handle the automated voting machines,” said Red Genotiva, vice consul at the Philippine Embassy. “The diplomatic missions in the Kingdom are getting ready for the polling process,” he told Arab News.
The number of registered voters in the Kingdom is fewer compared to the total number of Filipinos here. Even among the registered voters, only a small percentage turned up to cast their votes in the last two elections.
JEDDAH: IRFAN MOHAMMED (Tuesday 2 April 2013 Arab News)
To all OFWs who are Registered voters or Overseas Absentee Voters, please be advised that the COMELEC has reinstated the 238,557 registered overseas Filipinos who failed to vote in the last past two election. It means that you are in the list of Absentee Voters that are qualified to cast votes in the April 13 to May 13, 2013 Philippine Midtern Election.
Please GO OUT and VOTE! Ang BOTO Pahalagahan MO! Huwag Sayangin ang BOTO! Ipaabot ang nagkakaisang tinig ng OFWs, GAMITIN ang KARAPATANG MARINIG!
Be reminded that ”people who don’t vote have no line of credit with people who are elected and thus pose no threat to those who act against our interests.” (Marian Wright Edelman-Rights Activist)
IF YOU ARE NOT A “VOTER” YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO CRITICIZE POLITICIANS. – BongA
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh informs all concerned Overseas Absentee Voters (OAVoters) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the deadline for filing of manifestations of intent to vote by OAVoters who failed to vote twice in 2007 and 2010 has been extended to 11 January 2013.
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh received instructions from the Commission on Elections, through the Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat (DFA-OAVS), of the promulgation by Comelec on 14 December 2012 of Resolution No. 9578 which extends the deadline for filing of manifestations of intent to vote by OAVoters who failed to vote twice to 11 January 2013.
Comelec Resolution No. 9578 extends the deadline set for filing said manifestations under Resolution No. 9567.
Under Comelec’s resolutions, Overseas Absentee Voters (OAVoters) who failed to vote twice during the National Elections in 2007 and 2010 will be deleted from the National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters (NROAV) unless they submit a manifestation of their intent to vote by 11 January 2013.
Only registered OAVoters whose names appear in the NROAV will be allowed to vote in the 2013 Nationals Elections.
Check if your name is included in the list of OAVs who failed to vote twice. To access the list, copy and paste any of the below links to your web browser’s URL address tab:
From Comelec’s website at:
From DFA-OAVS at http://dfa-oavs.gov.ph/images/pdf/failedtovote.pdf
If your name is in the list and you intend to vote in 2013 at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate where you are registered as OAV, submit a manifestation of intent to vote through the following options:
Option 1: Submit the manifestation of intent to vote to the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh.
Option 2: Submit the manifestation of intent to vote directly to COAV online at www.comelec.gov.ph/coav or through fax at fax number (+632) 521 2952.
Option 3: Submit the manifestation of intent to vote directly with the Commission on Overseas Absentee Voting (COAV) at COMELEC in Intramuros, Manila
Deadline of submission of manifestations of intent to vote is on 11 January 2013. END
12/09/2012 RIYADH: The Philippine Postal Corporation, (Filipino: Korporasyong Koreo ng Pilipinas), is a government owned and controlled corporation responsible for providing postal services in the Philippines. The Philippine Postal Corporation has an estimated 13,800 employees and runs more than 2,000 post offices nationwide. PhilPost is based in the Philippines’s primary post office, the Manila Central Post Office, which overlooks the Pasig River. Previously PHLPOST was an attached agency of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Commission on Information and Communication Technology (CICT).
Its policy-making body is the Board of Directors, composed of seven members including the Postmaster General who serves simultaneously as the Chief Executive Officer of the corporation.
PHLPOST Brief History
* 1767 – Established as postal office in Manila.
* 1779 – Created as a postal district of Spain.
in 1783 Governor General Basco organized a postal system throughout the archipelago . First postage stamp was issued on February 1, 1854.
* 1837 – Re-established as such on December 5.
* 1838 – Became a leading center of postal service.
* 1877 – Became a member of the Universal Postal Union.
* 1898 – Established as a postal service on the order of Philippine Revolution president, Emilio Aguinaldo.
* 1902 – Created as a bureau under the Department of Trade by virtue of Commission of the Philippines Act no. 426 on September 5.
* 1926 – Built in its present Neo-classic architecture.
* 1946 – Rebuilding after it was destroyed in World War II.
* 1987 – Named Postal Service Office under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) by virtue of Executive Order no. 125 on April 13.
* 1992 – Became the Philippine Postal Corporation (its present name) by virtue of Republic Act No. 7354 on April 2.
From year 1998, the internet technology has significantly reduced the demand for postal service but last year during PHLPOST 228th Year Anniversary, a new theme was launched under the Aquino administration “PHLPOST: Bagong Simula Bagong Sigla”, a “New Beginning New Vigor”. Just last year, President Aquino placed PHLPost directly under the authority of the Office of the President through Executive Order 47 and allocated P644 million to support its efforts to revive the corporation.
PhilPost with a new Chief Executive Officer in the person of former Bulacan Governor Josie Dela Cruz, armed with a vision to rebuild the Philippine Postal Corporation, her mission – aims to revive the whole postal system thru more efficient way of servicing the public and; with her innovative and creative ideas THUS – ePostMo is born not only locally but hopefully, to serve Overseas Filipinos around the globe.
This Friday, 14 of September 2012, PHLPOST officials to be led by the Postmaster General herself, Josie Dela Cruz will meet the Filipino Community in Riyadh to discuss and offer new services to OFWs designed in today’s technology trend. The lady Postmaster General in her speech during the launching of its 20th year as corporate entity of the Government said “Let us leave the past behind because we can no longer change it. Let us look to the promise of tomorrow, through the intelligent use of today.” She was referring to the Philippine Postal Corporation’s position in today’s high tech world. - BongA-
References: Wikipedia, Phlpost website
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. 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
Press Release No. 77-2012 / 15 May 2012
Embassy Reminds Filipinos To Register As Overseas Absentee Voters
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh reiterates its invitation to all Filipinos in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to register as Overseas Absentee Voters (OAV). The National Elections for Senators and party-list representatives shall be on 13 May 2013 - exactly a year from today.
If you are any of the following, you are required to register as an Overseas Absentee Voter: Continue reading
A Philippine Embassy official said in Riyadh in 2011 there were more or less 9 million OFWs around the world who had sent remittances worth $20.1 billion last year, representing a 7.2 percent rise over the figure of $18.3 billion registered the previous year.
Welfare Officer Romeo C. Pablo added the number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom is 1,080,662, of whom 985,766 are OFWs and the rest temporary migrants.
Pablo made his statement at the launch of the Arab National Bank’s partnership with Banko de Oro (BDO), who will work on ANB’s TeleMoney initiative to serve OFWs in the Kingdom. The ceremony was held at the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and attended by various community leaders and a number of OFWs working in the city.
The event was attended both by officials representing the two banks including Anwar Al-Murshid, head of TeleMoney Business, Shalimar Salomabao, TeleMoney division product manager, Jonathan C. Diokno, senior vice president and head of the BDO Remittance Origination. Tomas Victor Mendoza, first vice president of BDO Remittance Project, was also present. Continue reading
Philippine Embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia : Press Release No. 2012-011 (19 January 2012)
The Embassy informs the public that the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) started on Tuesday, 10 January 2012 implementing the following
“Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International-Bound Passengers in All Airports and Seaports in the Country”:
GUIDELINES ON DEPARTURE FORMALITIES FOR INTERNATIONAL-BOUND PASSENGERS IN ALL PORTS AND SEAPORTS IN THE COUNTRY
Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9208, otherwise known as the “Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”, and its implementing Rules and Regulations, Republic Act No. 8042, otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995”, as amended by Republic Act No. 10022 and other related laws, the following guidelines providing for definite parameters in the strict enforcement of immigration departure formalities intended for the prevention of trafficking in persons, illegal recruitment, and other related offenses, are hereby promulgated for strict implementation/compliance by all concerned:
I. TOURIST TRAVELLERS
A traveler intending to go abroad with a tourist/temporary visitor’s visa shall be subjected to:
1. Primary inspection
During primary inspection, the following documents shall be required from a traveler:
a) Passport b) Visa when required c) Round-trip Ticket
2. Secondary Inspection
2.1 The Bureau of Immigration shall conduct a secondary inspection of a traveler, when deemed necessary, for the purpose of protecting vulnerable victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment and other relate offenses, through the assessment of the following circumstances:
a) Age b) Educational attainment c) Financial capability to travel
i. If not financially capable to travel, an authenticated affidavit of support, indicating therein the relationship within the 4th civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, together with the supporting documents, may be entertained; and
ii. An affidavit of undertaking/guarantee may likewise be entertained.
2.2 Any passenger/traveler who will be subjected for secondary inspection shall be required to accomplish the Bureau of Immigration Border Control Questionnaire (BCQ) to be furnished by the Immigration Officer.
2.3 However, the following shall automatically be subjected to secondary inspection:
a) Travelers without financial capacity to travel escorted/accompanied by a foreigner who is not related;
b) Minor traveling alone or unaccompanied by either parent or legal guardian without the required travel clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD);
c) Repatriated irregular workers, in which case, travel may not be allowed without the clearance from the IACAT (generate data);
d) Partners and spouses of foreign nationals intending to depart to meet and/or marry his/her fiancé without the CFO Guidance and Counseling Certificate;
e) Passengers traveling to countries with existing deployment bans, alert levels and travel advisories and those in possession of visas to the said countries; and
f) Passengers who stayed abroad for more than one (1) year during a previous departure from the country as tourist/temporary visitor, intending to depart for the second and/or subsequent time.
2.4 Clarificatory questions may be propounded relating to the above-mentioned documents/purpose by the Bureau of Immigration.
2.5 A traveler found to be misrepresenting the purpose of his/her travel as tourist shall not be cleared for departure.
II. OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS (OFWs)
1. First Time Overseas Filipino Workers
1.1 Travelers under this classification shall present the following documents as validated by the Labor Assistance Center (LAC):
a) Passport b) Visa c) Airline/Sea craft tickets d) Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)
1.2 Allowable Visa Usage (Based on POEA Rules and Regulations) Should there be any discrepancy in the actual job position/job title in the visa and in the Overseas Employment Certificate, travel may nevertheless be allowed provided that the POEA through hits LAC, has validated and approved the variance based on the following:
a) The visa category is related to the workers’ position or in line with the principal’s nature of business;
b) The recruitment agency executes an Undertaking on Visa Usage ; and
c) The worker is aware of the visa discrepancy situation and has executed a Declaration of Awareness and Consent.
1.3 Instance When Visa Usage is NOT Allowed (Based on POEA Rules and Regulations). The use of Visa Usage Undertaking (VUU), however, does not, and can never, apply to Household Service Workers (HSW). The visa category should be strictly for household-based positions, otherwise, a traveler will not be cleared for departure and the aforementioned documents shall be confiscated for further investigation and appropriate action.
1.4 For Acts Involving Reprocessing of Contracts and Other Documents OFWs in possession of “reprocessed” documents shall not be cleared for departure.
Based on R.A. No. 10022, the following constitute acts of reprocessing:
1. The job description/position as indicated in the work visa is different from all other pertinent documents such as the Overseas Employment Certificate, the PDOS Certificate, among others;
2. The actual job as promised or offered is different from the actual overseas work as indicated in the pertinent papers; and
3. The name of the employer or hiring company as indicated in the work visa and/or OEC are not one and the same.
All documents used under the afore-mentioned provision shall be confiscated and turned over to the POEA for further investigation and appropriate action.
2. Balik-Manggagawa/Returning Workers
2.1 The following OFWs fall under the category of Balik-Manggagawa/Returning Workers:
a) Worker-on-Leave – a worker who is on vacation or on leave from employment under a valid and existing employment contract and who is returning to the same employer, regardless of any change in jobsite, to finish the remaining unexpired portion of the contract.
b) Rehire – a worker who was rehired by the same employer after finishing his/her contract and who is returning to the same employer, regardless of a change in jobsite.
c) POLO-registered worker – a returning worker whose employment contract was not processed with the POEA but was subsequently verified and registered with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the jobsite and who is returning to the same employer either as a worker-on-leave or rehire, regardless of any change in jobsite. Same employer/principal refers to the current employer or the worker at the time he/she came home for vacation and to whom he/she is returning to resume employment upon return to jobsite.
2.2 Balik-Manggagawa OFWs shall be required to present the following:
a) Passport b) Valid visa c) Airline/sea craft ticket d) OEC issued onsite by the POLO or by the POEA
2.3 In case of incomplete or questionable documentary requirements, the OFW shall be referred to the POEA-LAC for further investigation and appropriate action.
3. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) on vacation but visiting other countries before returning to original worksite/destination
A Balik-Manggagawa OFW with a valid visa and existing work contract who intends to go to other countries while on vacation need not get a POEA travel exit clearance/OEC. Hence, he/she is considered a tourist and is not exempt from travel tax and terminal fee, but shall be allowed to travel.
4. Special Travel Exit Clearance
Pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement between POEA and BI, the following are required to secure a Special Travel Exit Clearance from the POEA:
a) PEZA-registered companies sending their employees to South Korea for training program with worker trainee visas;
b) Seafarers who are under the employment of a Philippine shipping company who are assigned to accompany or “conduct” a vessel that is being imported by the said shipping company from a foreign port to the Philippines, also referred to as “conduction crew” since they remain to under the employ of their local companies;
c) Filipino seafarers who are required to undergo special training abroad as prescribed by the prospective foreign employer;
d) Filipino workers and spouses who are covered by the Work to Residence Policy, and who applied for immigration to New Zealand with no pre-arranged employment with an employer prior to departure; and
e) Filipino workers required to undergo final interview or qualifying examination abroad as prescribed by the prospective foreign employer.
III. IMMIGRANT OR PERMANENT RESIDENT VISA
1. Filipino emigrants/residence visa or permit holders/permanent residence card holders Travelers falling under this visa category shall present the following documents for primary inspection:
a) Passport b) Permanent residence visa /immigrant visa / permanent residence card
c) CFO Emigrant registration sticker
d) Airline/Sea craft ticket
2. Filipino spouses and other partners of foreign nationals
Travelers falling under this visa category shall present the following documents for primary inspection:
b) Permanent residence permit or visa / immigrant visa / permanent residence card
c) Guidance and Counseling Certificate
d) CFO Emigrant registration sticker
e) Airline/Sea craft ticket
3. Filipino J1 visa holders or Exchange Visitor Program Participants Departing for the USA
Travelers falling under this visa category shall present the following documents for primary inspection:
a) Passport b) Valid J1 visa for USA
IV. SPECIAL CASES
1. FOR FINAL INTERVIEW/QUALIFYING EXAM
Workers to undergo final interview/qualifying exam as required by their prospective employers shall present the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Special Exit Clearance. In the absence thereof, passengers shall not be cleared for departure.
2. ON-THE-JOB TRAINING
Travelers intending to depart to another country for the purpose of onthe- job training shall present the following additional documents:
i. School certification on the need for on-the-job training
ii. Acceptance by the host company
iii. Certificate of Overseas Training by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
3. For relatives requesting for compassionate visit to an irregular worker abroad, a certification from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) must be secured.
4. Immediate family members of OFWs travelling with a tourist/temporary visitor’s visa shall be allowed without the need of further inspection, provided, they establish relationship within the first civil degree of consanguinity or affinity (spouse, children and parents) with the OFW and provided further that they present photo copies of the following documents of the OFW:
a) Passport b) Visa c) Overseas Employment Certification (OEC) d) NSO authenticated birth/marriage certificate, as the case may be.
5. Passengers who intend to depart for intra-company trainings abroad for less than three (3) months shall present an invitation from the host company reflecting the duration, entitlements, travel and other incidental expenses; while those exceeding three (3) months shall present the corresponding Trainorship Agreement containing all the above data.
V. GENERAL GUIDELINES
1. Travelers presenting fake/fraudulent passports, documents, immigration stamp shall be confiscated by the BI without prejudice to any other action that may be taken against said passengers.
2. The BI shall turnover the confiscated passports and other fake/fraudulent documents to the DOJ-IACAT for appropriate action.
3. Passengers who were not cleared for departure by reason of vulnerability to trafficking, illegal recruitment, or other related crimes, shall be immediately turned over by the BI with IACAT Task Force or designated agency/ies for provision of mandatory services such as temporary shelter, legal assistance, or psycho-social interventions, and for more in-depth information gathering.
4. Immigration Officers, in the performance of their functions and duties, shall adhere to the principles of Courtesy, Accountability, Responsibility, Efficiency and Service (BI – C.A.R.E.S). The Bureau shall, likewise, institute a mechanism for immediate feedback and redress of grievances of passengers.
5. All agencies and Task Forces designated for the purpose of combating trafficking in persons, illegal recruitment, and other related crimes are hereby directed to revise existing procedures and systems to complement these guidelines within one (1) month from the effectivity thereof, to be submitted to the IACAT and PTFAIR for review and evaluation.
The call for Zero Remittance Day on December 18, International Migrants’ Day has no substantial positive impact at all on the outcome of remittances from Filipinos overseas. The fact that the plan is only for just a day, it is likewise has no adverse impact on social needs of OFW families during Holiday season.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Carlos Cao said “total remittances by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are likely to exceed P20.1-billion target for 2011.” Even a point margin for tomorrow’s call for zero remittance could not affect the forecasted 2011 total OFW remittances. Last year’s 2010 remittances of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs’) was P18.8 billion.
Let’s say, tomorrow’s action initiated by overseas Filipinos in 20 countries (as what they say) would push through, I am not inclined to believe that these OFWs represents the Overseas Filipinos Worldwide, and not all OFWs in Saudi Arabia will heed for the call for a “Zero Remittance”. Why? Because 50 percent of the hard earned money of OFW’s can be sent to improper channels, if we really want. Christmas is about giving and OFWs like me wants our families to be happy in this very important holiday season. We don’t want our families to troop down to malls on an eleventh hour shopping spree. And besides, “kaming naiwan sa Saudi Arabia ay masaya pag ang aming pamilya ay masaya tuwing kapaskohan even without our presence.”
What we need in our midst is “political empowerment” and it can easily achieve if there will be a unified and concerted effort among our ranks.
“Iisang boses, nagdadamayan, iisang katawan, walang gamitan, walang bangayan, walang AKO kundi TAYO lahat, Muslim at Kristiyano, nag-iisang tinig para sa makabulohang pagbabago tungo sa kagalingan ng Manggawang Pinoy sa ibayong dagat.”
We fought for the passage of the Absentee Voting Law, it is now in our hands, “Go Out and Register” – Be an Absentee Voter! (BongA)
Riyadh, SAUDI ARABIA – The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office or POLO organized a forum on Human Trafficking held at Philippine Embassy Chancery yesterday afternoon (28 October 2011). The guest during the meeting was no other than Associate Commissioner Atty. Abdullah S. Mangotara of the Bureau of Immigration.
According to the 2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report, Philippine men, women, and girls were trafficked for labor and sexual exploitation to other countries and used Philippines as transit country for victims trafficked from China.
Commissioner Mangotara explained that in accordance to PNoy’s directive to combat human trafficking, immigration personnel’s assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are doubled as well as conducting thorough intelligence gatherings by the bureau’s Intelligence Division.
“Pnoy is not only serious in eradicating human trafficking at the airport but also eliminating corruption at the Bureau of Immigration more particularly those personnel assigned in the airport in connivance with illegal recruiters and syndicates operating around our major airports in the country”, Commissioner Mangotara added.
The Commissioner informed the participants to report any suspicious and verified information of those corrupt BI personnel assigned in the airports.
It was discussed during the forum that undocumented OFW’s who were able to enter the Kingdom and work illegally using business and visit visas assisted by unscrupulous recruiters and immigration personnel if proven guilty – is against Republic Act 9208 known as “Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003” more particularly Section 5, Paragraph “d” and “e” of the mentioned law.
DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis asked Associate Commissioner Mangotara to visit Saudi Arabia as part of the government’s information campaign on Human Trafficking. He is also scheduled to visit United Arab Emirates after Saudi Arabia. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Bureau of Immigration are focal members of the Inter-Agency Council on Trafficking (IACAT).
IACAT is an inter-agency panel created by the Government for the purpose of prosecuting persons accused of human trafficking.
In Year 2006 the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) increased the minimum monthly wage from $ 200 to $ 400 and raised the minimum age from 18 to 23, and it required prospective domestic workers (Filipino Household Service Worker) to get a certificate of competency from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration.
In 2007, the government’s Interagency Council Against Trafficking established its first Ninoy Aquino International Airport anti-trafficking task force.
Associate Commissioner Mangotara further explained that “everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country but in order to prevent human trafficking, the government had no choice but to imposed some requirements like Affidavit of Support for Filipino travelers and Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for OFWs.”
IACAT is represented by Department Secretaries of Department of Justice as Chairperson, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Heads of DOLE, BI, PNP, POEA, National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women and representatives from End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking (ECPAT), Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons and OFW Sector. – by: BongA
Visa Free for Pinoys
If you’re a Filipino and a holder of Philippine passport who likes traveling and exploring the beauty of the world, but hates the visa requirement to some countries, frown no more for you can still go to wonderful places without hassle-visa-appointments.
The list of countries below doesn’t require a visa for Filipinos prior to arrival. All you need are passport, plane tickets / itinerary, and some money for your tour.
No Visa Required for Filipinos in the Following Countries…
ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)
- Brunei Darussalam – 14 days
- Cambodia – 21 days
- Indonesia – 30 days
- Laos – 30 days
- Malaysia – 30 days
- Singapore – 30 days
- Thailand – 30 days
- Vietnam – 21 days
- Azerbaijan – 30 days visa issued upon arrival for US$100
- Bangladesh – 90-days visa issued upon arrival for US$50
- Republic of China (Taiwan) – 30 days if holding a vaild visa for Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Schengen countries, United Kingdom or United States
- Georgia – 90 days visa issued on arrival for US$10 ~ US$200
- Hong Kong – 14 days
- Iran – 15 days visa issued upon arrival for US$50
- Israel – 90 days
- South Korea (Jeju Island only) – 30 days
- Macau – 30 days
- Maldives – 30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge)
- Mongolia – 21 days
- Nepal – 15/30/90 days visa issued upon arrival for US$25/40/100
- Sri Lanka – 30 days
- Timor-Leste – 30 days visa issued upon arrival for US$30
- Kosovo – 90 days
- Cook Islands – 31 days
- Fiji – 120 days Visitor’s Permit issued upon arrival (free of charge)
- Marshall Islands – 30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge)
- Federated States of Micronesia – 30 days
- Niue – 30 days
- Palau – 30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge)
- Samoa – 60 days Visitor’s Permit issued upon arrival (free of charge)
- Tuvalu – 30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge)
- Vanuatu – 30 days
- Bermuda – 31 days before but since May, they now require visas for Philippine passport holders
- Costa Rica – 120 days Visitor’s Permit issued upon arrival (free of charge)
- Dominica – 30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge)
- Haiti – 30 days
- Nicaragua – 30 days
- Saint Kitts and Nevis – 30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge)
- Saint Lucia – 60 days Visitor’s Permit issued upon arrival (free of charge)
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – 30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge)
- Turks and Caicos Islands – 30 days
- Bolivia – 59 days
- Brazil – 90 days
- Colombia – 90 days
- Ecuador – 90 days
- Peru – 90 days
- Suriname – 120 days
- Burundi – visa issued upon arrival
- Cape Verde – visa issued upon arrival
- Comoros – A free 24 hour transit visa issued upon arrival at the airport. Within 24 hours this must be converted into a full visa at the immigration office in Moroni (fee payable)
- Djibouti – 10 days visa issued upon arrival for DJF3,000; 30 days visa issued upon arrival for DJF5,000
- Gambia – At port of entry passport 24-72 hour transit pass is issued. This must be converted into a full visa valid up to 1 month at the immigration department in Banjul (fee payable)
- Kenya – 90 days visa issued upon arrival for US$50
- Madagascar – 90 days visa issued upon arrival for MGA140,000
- Morocco – 90 days
- Mozambique – 30 days visa issued upon arrival for US$25
- Saint Helena – visa issued upon arrival
- Seychelles – 30 days
- Tanzania – visa issued upon arrival for US$50
- Togo – 7 days visa issued upon arrival
- Uganda – 180 days visa issued upon arrival for US$50
- Zambia – 90 days visa issued upon arrival for US$50
**Details may change due to new law updates so double-check the immigration rules of the country you’re planning to visit
**Transit visa may be required when you’re not on a direct flight
** ABOVE INFORMATION MAY BE CHANGED, PLEASE REFER TO THIS SITE OR CLICK “Visa Policies towards Filipino Nationals“ TO VERIFY UPDATED INFORMATION.
The Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora
September 27, 28 & 29, 2011
Philippine International Convention Center, Manila
A CALL FOR PARTICIPATION BY OVERSEAS FILIPINOS “PARA sa BAYAN!”
THEME: FROM DIASPORA TO DEVELOPMENT (D2D)
- To map out partnerships in doable, replicable and sustainable development initiatives in ten (10) areas of involvement:
• ARTS & CULTURE EXCHANGE
• ALAY DUNONG SA BAYAN
• BALIK – TURO
• BUSINESS ADVISORY CIRCLE
• DIASPORA INVESTMENTS
• DIASPORA PHILANTHROPY
• GLOBAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE & ADVOCACY
• MEDICAL MISSION
• RETURN & REINTEGRATION
• TOURISM INITIATIVES
- To collaborate with and engage fellow overseas Filipinos, government leaders and civil society partners — across generations and beyond borders – in transfer-technology and resource exchange ventures
- To share experiences, expertise and insights gained overseas and maintain connectedness with contemporary trends, issues and concerns of the home-country
- To cooperate in the realization of the vision of a well-respected and proudly competitive transnational Filipino citizenry with a global perspective and a deeply rooted cultural identity
- To empower the Filipino youth abroad to become agents of change and to assist in local and national efforts that address the socio-economic needs of underserved communities
- To support development goals that will move the Philippines forward in the 21st century and beyond
• Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO)
• National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NAFFAA)
• US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG)
• YouLeaD (Youth Leaders in the Diaspora)
For further information and registration details, visit the Convenors website by clicking the banner “Global Summit” in our sidebar or simply click “Register Now” or visit CFO websites: http://www.cfo.gov.ph and www.d2dglobalsummit.cfo.gov.ph
Ms. Golda Roma, CFO Global Summit Secretariat
Tel: (632) 552-4760
Mr. Edwin Pajares, CFO Global Summit Secretariat
Tel: (632) 552-4764
COMMISSION ON FILIPINOS OVERSEAS
Secretary Imelda M. Nicolas
Undersecretary Mary Grace Ampil-Tirona
1345 Pres. Quirino Avenue corner
South Superhighway, Manila, Philippines
Say NO to Drugs, Say NO as a Drug Mule
Countries With Severe Anti Drug Laws: In Indonesia you’d be looking at 10 to 15 years for drug possession, while in other places like Malaysia and Singapore it can range up to 50 years. Serious drugs charges in Tunisia can land you in jail for up to 20 years.
Turkey’s jails are notorious, and a drugs conviction could mean you’d be seeing the inside of one for up to 20 years. Smoke cannabis in India and you could lose 10 years of your life behind bars. If you’re caught smuggling drugs in Venezuela, it’s at least 10 years, while Morocco has a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine for possession. Perhaps surprisingly, Jamaica is tough on drugs possession, with mandatory jail terms and heavy fines even for possessing small quantities of drugs.
Even Europe isn’t all liberal in its attitude to drugs. Not only does Greece have life in prison as a deterrent, but Italy can put you away for up to 20 years, and Spain is only slightly less lenient – a maximum of 12 years.
If you’re a migrant workers overseas and arrested on drugs charges, you have the right to see the Embassy or Consulate – in fact, the local police are obliged to contact the Consulate or Embassy. Be aware, however, that they can’t do much. They can’t get you out of jail, or even see that you obtain better living conditions.
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.
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
The suffering heroes
The OFW sector continues to be the economic savior of the country. Last year remittance from Overseas Filipinos Worldwide reached a total of $17.348 billion which is 5.4 % above remitted in 2008.
Many Filipinos believed that with the new administration’s fight to end corruption and its people’s expectation of good governance, there will be an economic growth in the Year 2011, but the very people who help uplift economic turndown in our country are the ones being hurt.
Last Saturday, Mario, my roommate was very upset of the P 44.74 exchange rate versus a dollar. He needs to send P25,000.00 monthly budget remittance to his family back home and with the said exchange rate he needs to look for an additional SR 100 to maintain his monthly remittance. Like Mario, me too could fell the high cost of living in Saudi Arabia compare in the 90s. That is why our remittances will vary from time to time and whether we like it or not we have to remit regardless of what level the peso is.
However, economic expert said that this year’s fourth quarter growth will depend on the OFWs remittances coming year end and Christmas season.
But June issue of The Market Call of the First Metro Investment Corporation (FMIC) and University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) Capital Markets Research, expectations that the economy will post an 8% growth could be vulnerable due to the country’s budget deficit and strong peso.
In economic point of view, strong peso could diminish the purchasing power of OFWs and according to FMIC, strong currency also discourages domestic manufacturing and pushes down tax collections. This negative forecast should be given utmost attention by our new administration in order to come up with their expectations.
We believe that a strong peso will help improve our country’s economic condition but it must not be at the expense of us Overseas Filipinos and our families.
Since August 1 to 8, 2010, there is a continuing dollar decline on our remittances as shown below. And it can’t be denied that with the trust and accompanying support of the Filipino people in the new government under the leadership of President Benigno Aquino III, there will be a crucial impact of a strong peso in the following months. We already suffer enough being away from home, we can’t afford additional burdens.
|Sunday 8 August 2010||1 USD =||44.7444 PHP||USD PHP rate for 08/08/2010|
|Saturday 7 August 2010||1 USD =||44.7474 PHP||USD PHP rate for 07/08/2010|
|Friday 6 August 2010||1 USD =||44.9395 PHP||USD PHP rate for 06/08/2010|
|Thursday 5 August 2010||1 USD =||44.9765 PHP||USD PHP rate for 05/08/2010|
|Wednesday 4 August 2010||1 USD =||45.1762 PHP||USD PHP rate for 04/08/2010|
|Tuesday 3 August 2010||1 USD =||45.0788 PHP||USD PHP rate for 03/08/2010|
|Monday 2 August 2010||1 USD =||45.2656 PHP||USD PHP rate for 02/08/2010|
|Sunday 1 August 2010||1 USD =||45.604 PHP||USD PHP rate for 01/08/2010|
We therefore request the new government, especially to the economic team of the new administration to look into ways to mitigate the negative impact of the continuing dollar decline on our remittances, and alternatives may be implemented such as; a) Peg the Peso b) Creation of an OFW Stabilization Fund c) Creation of an OFW Bank that will cater OFW financial needs d) Special exchange rate for OFW remittances.
By: Bong Amora
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is a Philippine government agency tasked with the care, protection and
assistance of Overseas Filipino Workers. Its policies have a tremendous impact on the lives of millions of Filipinos working overseas and the families they leave behind. With the new Aquino administration, there is a need for a review of the OWWA, its failures and successes, adherence to the regulations and implementation of needed reforms. Part of this reform is the creation of a new OWWA Board. This petition is to request President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, to consider the appointment of Francisco “Jun” Aguilar to the Board of the OWWA.
Francisco “Jun” Aguilar had spent thirteen years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as an Overseas Filipino Worker from 1985 to 1998. He worked at the King Abdulaziz Military Academy as a technical analyst and later moved to the National Industrialization Company. As an OFW, he was witness to the distressed situations of Filipino workers whom he assisted as best as he could. It was an experience that will influence his unwavering dedication to improve the lives of the Filipino workers.
Upon returning to the Philippines in 1998, he formed the Filipino Migrant Workers Group, a principled recruitment agency. This is the only agency that does not charge a placement fee from applicants. He also encouraged savings and investment programs for the Overseas Filipino Workers and their families for their retirement and re-integration. He volunteers numerous hours on social-civic-political advocacies.
Mr. Aguilar’s experiences as a former Overseas Filipino Worker, a recruitment agency owner and as a humanitarian worker provide him with the appropriate know-how and mindset that will guide him as a progressive Board member. He can articulate on the perspectives of the workers, recruiters as well as clients and, therefore, effectively assist with the policy making of OWWA. With a proven track record of leadership, commitment and dedication to public service, he is the voice of the Overseas Filipino Workers.
We, therefore, request the newly elected Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and his administration to appoint Francisco “Jun” Aguilar on the board of OWWA because of his merits. More importantly, his guiding principles exemplify those of the current administration with its mantra of change.
It is about time that a true bloodied OFW will be a given a hand to represent OFW Sector (land-based) in the OWWA Board, please sign the PETITION.
To know more about Engr. Francisco “Jun” Aguilar click here >>>>>
Thanks a lot!
Does R.A.10022 really help OFW Grievances?
It took five months from Government concerned agencies to craft up the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) covering the Republic Act No. 10022, more particularly known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, As Amended, further Improving the Standard of Protection and Promotion of the Welfare of Migrant Workers, Their Families and Overseas Filipinos in Distress, and For Other Purposes.
The question is Does R.A.10022 really helps OFW Grievances? The fact that it is still remains to be implemented or in other words remains to be seen; OFWs like me can’t expect the good outcome it would bring to the grievances of OFWs especially in Middle East where rampant contract substitutions are on the rise. Or it would just like as usual “a swinging pendulum that loses its energy once it is set into motion” shall we say.
DOLE said the IRR, published last Wednesday in Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Manila Times will take effect on August 13. At last after tedious discussions from the stakeholders coming from government sides, non-government organizations, OFW sectors, OFW advocates, Insurance companies, health professionals and others. Some of them raised their concerns and apprehensions on the new law. Recruitment agencies themselves even commented that it shields the government and the recruiters from their responsibility to the OFWs.
A visitor from manning agency in this blog even questioned the amended law that seafarers should NOT be covered into the “Migrant Workers Act” as the term “MIGRANT WORKERS” refers to the land base foreign workers where they need to obtain work permits or necessary workers visa. They argue that seafarer’s maximum contract tenure is only one year and has no guarantee that they will be migrated into one country having been aboard a merchant fleet sailing worldwide.
It also covers in the amended law that the employers are responsible for repatriation of stranded OFWs. Does this law have teeth to grind those employers in Middle Eastern countries where employers deliberately escape of their obligations once worker runaway or not anymore in their custody? And those crocodile recruitment agencies “na pag tatawagan at susulatan mo hindi sumasagot at umiiwas sa kanilang responsibilidad”. Let us wait and see guys before we celebrate.
Anyway let us give a benefit of a doubt; after all, it is for the good of OFWs. It depends on how our DOLE and other implementing agencies to handle it in the battlefront and give mandate and power to their Labor Attaches or their representative at site.
DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said “R.A. 10022 will give expanded protection of the country’s “modern-day heroes” in pursuit of the new President’s 22-point agenda for labor and employment.
The rules and regulations salient protective measures of the new law are as follows:
1. Emphasis on stronger bilateral and multilateral relations with receiving countries for protection. Interpreting provision of free skills and livelihood programs as expanding free access to such programs;
2. Criteria for host countries (guaranteeing protection), subject to concurrence to “take positive and concrete measures” to protect the rights of migrant workers; and clarifying a three-step process that involves a) DFA certifications on compliance by host countries; b) POEA resolution allowing deployment to complying host countries; and c) POEA processing of workers’ documents to countries identified in POEA resolutions.
3. Inclusion of amendments to prohibited acts that may constitute illegal recruitment by licensed and unlicensed agencies, as well as other prohibited acts, such as loans, decking practice in OFW medical examinations; and recruitment by suspended agencies;
4. Anti-illegal recruitment programs that include institutionalizing the role of LGUs; added capability of POEA lawyers; prosecution; and operation and surveillance to apprehend illegal recruiters;
5. Money claims. Inclusion of voluntary arbitration;
6. Repatriation and mechanism for repatriation. Responsibility for repatriation with principal/employer and licensed recruitment agency; 48-hour notice rule and 15-day period for countries with exit visa requirements; provisions on repatriation of underage workers and asserting penalties and liabilities for recruiters who recruit underage migrant workers;
7. Overseas Filipino Resource Centers will now have additional required personnel, such as psychologists, etc. and be under direct POLO supervision;
8. Institutionalizing the National Reintegration Center for OFWs;
9. Protection from abusive medical clinics;
10. Ensuring the use of the legal assistance fund for foreign lawyers and attorneys’ fees and for filing of cases against erring or abusive employers;
11. Compulsory insurance to cover agency-hired workers for accidental death, natural death, permanent total disablement, repatriation costs, subsistence allowance benefit, money claims, compassionate visit, medical evaluation, and medical repatriation.
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.
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.
Tacloban City (June 9) — The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Region 8 led by Director Juliet Tan, spearheaded this year’s Migrant Workers Day celebration dubbed as “Araw ng Pasasalamat.”
Conducted on June 7 at the Robinsons Place, the whole day Araw ng Pasasalamat which revolved around the theme: “OFWs: Tagumpay sa Hamon ng Panahon, Kaagapay sa Pagsulong,” was highlighted by the awarding of prizes to this year’s Outstanding OFWs of Eastern Visayas.
The outstanding Overseas Filipino Workers Award is divided into two categories namely, the landbased and the seabased migrant workers.
In the landbased category, there were three awardees, OIC Tan said. They are Alex V. Bello, Engracio B. Custodio, and Rafael Tolibas.
Alex V. Bello is an accountant from Imelda Village, Tacloban City who is currently at the jobsite at Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Bello is the president of the OFW Congress in Riyadh. He initiated the raising of a big amount of money from the OFWs for the Guinsaugon Landslide victims in Southern Leyte through the Secretary of Labor Marianito Roque to OWWA.
Engracio B. Custodio is a plant operator from Sulangan, Guiuan, Eastern Samar, who is now employed at Commonwealth Utilities Corporation in Saipan. He is the founder of the Human Dignity Movement in Saipan which advocates human rights as its main concern. He promoted fair treatment, improvement of status and increase in minimum wage of OFWs, organizing prayer rallies and submission of petitions.
He was given a certificate of appreciation for his skills, professionalism and dedication to his duties to the project that was successfully implemented.
Rafael Tolibas from Barangay Guingauan, Tanauan, Leyte, is the site foreman for Milwright of Consolidated Contractors International Company at Doha Qatar. He was appreciated and recognized by his employer for his dedication and commitment to work.
In the seabased category, this year’s outstanding OFWs are Rafael Apolinar, Francis E. Solvera, and Francis A. Ceballos.
Rafael Apolinar is an oiler from Barangay San Isidro, Palompon, Leyte. He is one of the distinguished company group called worthy Shellbacks. He helped in rescuing employees of a burning oil rig in Conga. His right hand was hit while disentangling the ropes to move out from the burning oil rig.
Francis Solvera, an oiler of the Bright Maritime Corporation’s M/T CM Spirit. This migrant worker from Barangay Cabalawan, Tacloban City is being cited for his bravery ? continuing to serve the foreign ship despite the traumatic experience of being hostaged by a group of pirates in Africa on May 13, 2009.
Francis Ceballos from PC Village, Tacloban City, is reefer repairman of Star Cruise who was cited as the Achiever of the Month by his company in appreciation of his outstanding effort and commitment to the pursuit of excellence.
OWWA 8 through OIC Tan also presented the Physically and Financially Challenged OFW to Olivia Badidles of San Jose, Tacloban City, who while serving as domestic helper in Singapore suffered from a disease called crytogenic liver cirrhosis.
The Most Senior Surviving OFW attendee award was presented to Juanita Llemos of Barangay Sulod, Basey, Samar who at 73 years of age, is a domestic helper in Hongkong. (PIA 8)
PIA Press Release/ 2010/06/09
An Open Letter to the President-Elect of the Philippines
First and foremost, we extend our deepest and sincerest congratulations on your ascendancy to the highest-elected office of our beloved country through a democratic process that every Filipino can take pride in for many generations to come. The first step inherent in the process of transformation is recognizing the need for change – and our capacity to change for the better! Thus, from this point onward, we are hopeful that inspired by your convincing victory and leadership, every Filipino will assume his or her role and responsibility to change the status quo by initiating positive changes towards a better and brighter Philippines, no matter where he or she is, and regardless of what citizenship he or she now holds.
We, the Overseas Filipinos Worldwide (OFW), are a group of Filipinos based abroad and in the Philippines, representing various organizations implementing projects in the Philippines and in our host countries for many years now that are aimed to strategically harness the Philippines’ migration gains into mechanisms for the development of the motherland and our communities of origin.
Migration gains are mainly remittances by overseas Filipinos to their family members, which are now in the region of USD17 billion and are the primary source of livelihood for millions of Philippine households. At 10.8% of the country’s GDP, they are also the third biggest source of the country’s foreign currency reserves and act as primary driver for our economy, shielding us from bankruptcy during the financial crisis in 1997 and the current one.
The Filipino diaspora, estimated now at about 10 million working or residing in 239 countries and territories worldwide, send back donations to various humanitarian causes, such as disaster–relief, medical missions, schoolhouses, and other infrastructure. These contributions supplement local and national government deficits and, as of 2003, have already amounted to USD218 million, per BSP figures in that year.
We do not count here the investments made by OFWs in real estate and the education and health of their family members, and the money spent on various goods and services, as well as on construction, food, shelter, and other inflows that support sectors like the airlines, shopping centers, and banks. Yet, after more than three decades of overseas employment, we do not see genuine signs of poverty alleviation, and instead more and more of our countrymen leave for work abroad.
Ironically, the Philippine model of overseas migration has become a model of sorts, for other migrant-origin countries to emulate and even copy. This however does not tell the whole story or reveal the other face of migration that has escaped the serious attention of past administrations, specifically, the social costs that migration has bred since government-managed deployment started in the early 70s and up to the present, where we now see at least 3,000 of many of the best and brightest Filipinos leaving daily to take up jobs overseas, due to local employment deficits.
Other nations like South Korea, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, and Taiwan, who once were labor exporting countries, have been able to get over their migration hump, as a result of their governments’ consciously harnessing their workers’ remittances and investing them to develop local infrastructure, shipyards, factories, and other industries. Convinced of the effectiveness of government programs and also trustful of their leaders’ sincerity, these countries’ expatriates and overseas workers, at great sacrifice, left their high-paying jobs overseas and returned to their home countries to lend their talents and acquired expertise in further helping their respective country’s leap towards developed status even working at low salaries.
India, another migrant-sending country, is also now going in that direction. These examples serve to illustrate the dictum that migration should be temporary, that it must not be used as a substitute for development. The desirable goal of countries wishing to be strong and globally competitive must necessarily be self-sufficiency and the ability to provide its people with necessary components needed for their human development.
The advent of a new administration, especially one under your inspired leadership, is a good time to ask where the Philippines is going regarding migration, and to act accordingly. Shall we continue to send out our people and rely on remittances and without any development objectives in sight? Conversely, don’t we have the talent to formulate a road map towards self-sufficiency over a period of time, in order that the hemorrhage of talents could be stopped, that a crisis in our dysfunctional families and society at large could be averted, and so that our people do not have to take migration as a forced option? If long-term migration goals are set now, the government could in the meantime work on some basic but urgent deployment and migration issues in order to clear the way towards having a genuine and serious program on translating migration gains for use in human development.
In view of this, we humbly suggest starting to look at the following:
• The government must send clear and strong signals that migration and remittances are only temporary measures to help the government prepare for a longer-term goal of self sufficiency, in which Filipinos no longer look at migration as a forced option. This must be integrated in Medium-Term Development Plans, which is currently being formulated by NEDA, and which should also include how in the meantime strategies, policies, and mechanisms for the productive use and investment of remittances could be harnessed to strengthen the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals.
• Create a position for a Special Presidential Adviser on Migration and Development, who will work with a technical working group (TWG) composed of qualified individuals who have a background in migration and development, including knowledgeable and committed migrant leaders. Among others, the TWG could conduct studies, consultations, and discussions, and come up with updated situationers and appropriate policy recommendations on how to effectively translate remittances and migrant resources to develop local economies; and to address social costs, facilitation of return migration, reintegration, mechanisms for the counterparting of funds between Filipino diaspora groups, LGUs, and development agencies for local and countryside development, incentives for OFW investments in agriculture, SME, infrastructure, microfinance, cooperatives, and other sectors that need stronger funding support. The work could take the form of draft legislation for study by Congress’s standing committee on OFWs or form the basis for an Executive or Administrative Order, whichever is appropriate or workable. The committee’s work shall be purely consultative and should not supplant the work of government migration agencies.
• Review and monitor the performance of government agencies in charge of migrant workers, such as the POEA, OWWA, CFO, and the Department of Foreign Affairs, with a view to strengthening these institutions, reducing wasteful and ineffective programs or duplication of work, giving agencies needed resources and funds for effective implementation of programs, and strengthening the capacity of their overseas offices to become centers of service to migrant workers overseas.
• Departing OFWs contribute USD25 each as a requirement for departure and membership in OWWA and entitlement of welfare benefits. The total corpus of this trust fund is already at the level of at least PHP10 billion. The disposition and administration of this fund has been subject of criticisms, as its use has not been transparent and shown susceptibility to mismanagement. Specifically, reforms in OWWA should (1) impose strict criteria in the process of selection of people who will sit in the Board of Trustees, such that only those qualified and are committed to work for their constituents are appointed, e.g., women OFWs, sea-based, land-based, etc. (2) OWWA proceedings should be made transparent and open to public scrutiny, particularly the investment of the trust funds. (3) the incoming administration, for the benefit of OFWs and through the working group, should require from the current OWWA board an accounting of OWWA funds and how they were invested/used. To this end, the most recent COA audit of migration agencies, like POEA, OWWA, DFA, and POLO offices overseas, must be consulted.
• The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) are two small agencies that are doing important work on mobilizing diaspora contributions for development and assistance to OFWs who are reintegrating to Philippine society after working abroad. The CFO, for instance, has submitted recommendations on how gaps and barriers to enhanced diaspora contributions could be addressed, but these have never been acted upon. The NRCO, in the three years it has been created, has given assistance and referrals on livelihood and employment to OFW returnees affected by the global crisis. Their work should be seriously looked into, and whenever necessary, the appropriate level of funds, resources, and support should be given to these agencies.
• Lack of financial literacy or of the ability to use resources and incomes productively and wisely has been highlighted as a major cultural barrier among not only OFWs but also for most Filipinos. It prevents our people from improving their socio-economic conditions, despite years of employment in the Philippines or overseas. This refers to lack of savings or investment mindset and excessive spending on non-essentials. No less than an institutionalized nationwide program on financial literacy will be able to address this and should include not only OFWs but also members of their family.
The BSP has been the lead government agency that has conducted financial literacy seminars for OFWs and families since 2006 in more than 30 Philippine cities and 10 cities overseas. This program could be improved and expanded through an impact assessment of the campaign and which might include providing resources for enlisting the DECS to include financial literacy and migration as part of school curriculum, starting from grade school, or the LGUs, by including financial literacy and social costs of migration in the Pre-employment Orientation Seminars (PEOS) conducted in their territories for intending migrants.
As a final note, while the recommendations above address specific OFW issues, the programs you had avowed to pursue in your electoral campaign on good governance—better access to health, education, employment and livelihood, and business opportunities for all—are all in the right track, constitute the basic elements for self-sufficiency, and provide viable options to our citizens to remain in the country and to devote their talents and resources to developing the homeland. On these, please be assured of our continued support.
Doris Alfafara, Habagat Foundation, The Netherlands
Ren Arrieta, USA
Alex Veloso Bello, Saudi Arabia
Marvin Bionat, USA
Ding Bagasao, Economic Resource Center for Overseas Filipinos (ERCOF), Philippines
Jack Catarata, Germany
Basco Fernandez, Damayang Pilipino sa Nederland, The Netherlands
Lorna Lardizabal Dietz
Cristina Liamzon, Italy
Judith Puyat-Magnaye, USA
Mariel Vincent Rapisura, SEDPI Philippines
Leila Rispens-Noel, Wimler Partnership for Social Progress, Hongkong/Contact Person
Dennis Yaun, Luxembourg