OFWempowerment Survey Result “2016 Presidential hopefuls for OFWs”

In the 2016 Philippine Presidential Election, there are five (5) Presidential hopefuls for the highest position in the land; who among them you think have a heart for OFWs?

Our ofwempowerment blog survey (see title above) received an overwhelming response from our OFWs in 20 countries around the globe including in the Philippines. The OFWs in Saudi Arabia are the highest numbers of participants.

I decided to close the survey because most of the 5 Presidential hopefuls in the list had already filed their certificate of candidacy with the Commission on Election. The remaining hopeful Davao Mayor Rod Duterte has yet to file his COC pending echoes among the Philippine electorate whether the famous “crime buster city executive” will change his mind later and join the race. However, yesterday 16 October 2015 was the last day of filing and I think the good Mayor filed his COC seeking a new mandate from the Davawenos as Mayor of Davao. But his supporters “refused to accept the truth” that Duterte is not running for Presidency. 

I would like to emphasize to my readers that our online survey doesn’t reflect the entire sentiments of the OFWs around the globe. However, if majority of us participate in future online surveys like ours, it will become more reliable in the days to come. That’s one of the many reasons why I am advocating online voting as an alternative venue for Filipino overseas absentee voters to participate in Philippine national election.

Well, the result of our survey is pasted below, thank to polldaddy.com.



Photo by Inquirer

You may wonder why OFWs supports Duterte if he runs for the highest position in the land? Very simple, we need an iron fist in our national governance, a public official that can eliminate corruption once and for all. A leader who understand others ideals but opposes armed struggles. A President who knew the real needs of poor Filipinos. A leader like Duterte has an iron hand that can discipline Filipinos to follow the rule of law.

But to most of us OFWs, WE still feel that something will never be the same in this country, whoever in power. Sad to say that too little had really changed and coming back home as strangers to the land we long for is the most discouraging moment of our life.

Many OFWs think Mayor Rod Duterte can reform the nature of the political system in our country unfortunately, this guy is a man of honor who never changes a decision he had already made. Not unless a divine anointing prevails. To Duterte Harry, WE the OFWs salute you!    

PNoy SONA’s Words of Wisdom

aquinoMy collections of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III,  State of the Nation Addresses or  SONA’s that are well said, also truly worth remembering and will stick in my memory longer.   Thank you Mr. President for the Job Well Done! 

First SONA:

I encourage everyone to take a step towards participation rather than fault-finding. The former takes part in finding a solution; from the latter, never-ending complaints.

Second SONA:

Let us make the effort to recognize the good that is being done.

Third SONA:

Thank those who have done their share in bringing about positive change in society. 

Fourth SONA:

You made this transformation possible

Fifth SONA:

The transformation we are experiencing now, we can make permanent with the guidance of God.

Last (Sixth) SONA:

The reforms we have sown along the straight path are already bearing fruit, and will bear an even more bountiful harvest in the future. But this will only happen if we nurture and protect what we have already planted.

KACST tower to house Knowledge Center


The King Abdul Aziz City For Science and Technology (KACST) will be building a SR500 million high-rise tower to set up its new Knowledge Center on its campus.

The contract for the construction of the proposed tower was signed on Monday by KACST President Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel and Sadoun Al-Sadoun, general manager of ABV Rock Group, which has undertaken to construct the complex in 27 months.

Al-Suwaiyel said that this will be an iconic tower which can be spotted from any part of the city. The project, he said, will be the first of eight to be constructed under its master plan spread over a period of five years.

Photo taken from: SPACEAGENCY (Space Agency was engaged to develop a wayfinding strategy and to design signage)

The proposed Knowledge Center. Photo taken from: SPACEAGENCY (Space Agency engaged to develop a way finding strategy and to design signage) – click image to zoom

Building a Knowledge Center is the most important project for the city, and it will include research institutes and centers to support scientific research,” said the KACST president. It will also provide the perfect environment for professionals and researchers in keeping with the spirit of the changing era which is going through a series of scientific and technological developments, he said.

The Knowledge Center will be a model of exclusive architectural work to go with scientific research. It is a unique design consisting of 18 floors with a total area of 47,000 square meters to house 1,750 employees in the complex. The complex will have two basement parking facility besides four floors for offices, media, public relations and communications.

Pointing out that the design of the building will take into account the use of the latest environment-friendly technologies in energy applications and smart buildings, Al-Suwaiyel said the building will provide innovative design and comfortable office environment within the organization for maximum productivity of employees. (ARAB News/22.02.2014)

2013 in review by WordPress


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 410,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 18 days for that many people to see it.

Where did they come from? That’s 196 countries in all!

Most visitors came from Saudi Arabia. Philippines & The United States were not far behind.

How did they find you?

Some visitors came searching, mostly for jawazat, saudi labor law, philippine embassy riyadh, jawazat riyadh, and jawasat

The top referring sites in 2013 were:

  1. facebook.com
  2. mail.yahoo.com
  3. delta-search.com
  4. topblogs.com.ph
  5. expat-blog.com

Thanks for flying with WordPress.com in 2013. We look forward to serving you again in 2014! Happy New Year!

Acceptance Speech – OBRA

Acceptance SpeechOutstanding Balikbayan and OFW Reputation Award

This coming 13 December 2013, the OFW Empowerment blog will be celebrating its 8 years anniversary.

When I found out that I will be receiving this award today it gave me time to ruminate on the period of time I have spent on my laptop, day and  night  just to pleased my fellow OFWs in  search of answers to their woes and grievances working in the foreign land.

First and foremost  I would like to thank them  for their trust in me and the ofwempowerment blog for all these years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast year, OFWempowerment Blog review of the WordPress 2012 Annual Report stated that “about 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 340,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 6 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!”

As of  today, the blog has 1,104,931 visitors and No. 8 in the list of Philippine top blogs under the community category. We have  2,341 followers,  1,679 emails only followers, 1009 Facebook followers, 19,045 comments, all answered and as of to date 263 comments unanswered yet, because I am here with you today.

What I achieve is just like a drop in a bucket; yet I owe it from my fellow OFWs who made the OFWempowerment blog stronger as ever that even a mightiest storm surge cannot weaken the foundation that this blog has been molded for the past  years. And to receive an award for something I love doing is a true reward  for which I am very grateful.

I would like to express my heartfelt  and sincere appreciation to  Exlinkevents the creator of OBRA (pang lima na PO ngayon) more particularly to Ms. Mitch Ballesteros, the woman behind this big curtain and  the awards WE are reaping today; and to Orly Ballesteros as well, the COO of Exlink Corporation.

There is only one thing we can do as a gesture of gratitude to the organizer, to all the AWARDEES WE CAN DO MORE by supporting EXLINK recent events that are just around the corner, the 10th Megabalikbayan OFW Expo, the OFW Business Summit, the International Beauty, Health and Wellness Expo, the International Travel Expo and many more.

I want to finish up by once again thanking everyone for giving me this beautiful Christmas, this wonderful award. Your guidance, your warm camaraderie, and my personal special thanks to Lyza and Sarah of Exlinks.

To my wife-Minda and my brother-Daniel, Jr. and his wife Lorna, who are here today to witness this once and a lifetime occasion. To each and every one of us who are here today-  thank you for sharing with me this glorious memory of a very proud and happy time in my life, a memory I am sure to reflect upon for years to come.  I am truly honored to receive Exlink events OBRA’s  Outstanding Filipino Blogger Advocate Award.

LASTLY, To the seven Filipino health workers died just recently in  Yemen blast along with the Eleven other Filipinos wounded in the attack – THIS AWARD IS FOR ALL OF YOU!


Thank you Sir Roussel! “Mission Accomplished”


I am sad to learn that Consul Roussel Reyes finally ended his tour of duty as one of the member of the diplomatic corps of our Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.

I first met him in his first days of assignment during the Partidong Pandaigidigang Pilipino tripartite meeting where he was our Guest of  Honor representing the then former Ambassador to the Kingdom Tony Villamor. We finally became friends when he accepted my invitation as one of our panelist during the OFW Forum – “Know your Rights and Obligations as OFW in the Kingdom” held at the 2nd Industrial Area of Riyadh.

Consul Roussel Reyes during the Farewell get-together at Philippine Embassy

Consul Roussel Reyes during the Farewell get-together at Philippine Embassy

Reyes tenure was marked with plenty of hubbub coming from the so-called progressive alliance of OFWs in the Middle East; from “no indelible ink” in the last Absentee Voting where he  oversees the implementation of the OAV in Riyadh; to non-assistance of jailed OFWs where he heads the ANS-Assistance to National Section till his tenure ended. But these allegations never stop him from doing his job silently and satisfactorily with no media mileage. I still remember when he explained to me in details  how difficult to follow up some ANS sensitive cases.

For the past five or six years of his posting as Third Secretary and Vice Consul and just recently as  Consul, I was able to track his work and how he managed to deal some complexities of his job. He told me and accepts that his first experienced as a diplomat was challenging, tough and grueling. According to Consul Reyes in one of our friendly chat, “the Saudi legal system and the procedural aspects of their criminal law is very complicated” he said. Yet despite from all the untiring efforts that he and his colleagues had done in assisting distressed OFW cases, there are still some quarters that don’t believed ANS  are doing their very best.

with Consul Reyes & Mario Ben (KGS)

with Consul Reyes & Mario Ben (KGS)

Consul Roussel Reyes is a lawyer from San Juan, Metro Manila. He graduated in 1998 from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree from the same institution in 2002 and passed the Bar examinations of 2003. Just recently the DFA named him as 2012 Outstanding Diplomat-Gawad Mabini Award.

He joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2004 as Foreign Service Officer, Class IV, after passing the Foreign Service Officer Examinations of 2003. Prior his posting in Riyadh, he was a Principal Assistant in the Office of Legal Affairs of the Department from April 2005 to August of the same year. He was subsequently designated as an Acting Division Director in the office from August 2005 to October 2006. His first foreign assignment was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as Third Secretary and Vice Consul from October of 2006 to February 2013. He is married to Mary Michelle C. Reyes and has two daughters.

For me, I don’t have the superlatives to describe who he was as a diplomat and a friend. He has been an exemplary Consul. It is good to imagine that the DFA  got it so right in sending  Consul  Atty. Roussel Reyes and for posting him first in Saudi Arabia. To those who know him well, will going to miss him. And of course I will miss his smiling face and sparkling eyes, the part of his imagery.

Surely, he will look back on a job well done, in a place where he will be missed. 

Thank you  Sir Roussel! “Mission Accomplished.”


imagesCA5NK2HOAssistance-to-Nationals Citizen’s Charter and Procedures

OFW Empowerment Blog 2012 in review from: WordPress


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 340,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 6 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.


A creative practical joke


To : All OFWEmpowerment blog readers

This is regarding  to our blog post titled “Job Opportunity“,  please be informed that the  two email addresses posted in that particular entry where you can send your resumes was hacked as reported by my friend Mr. Jun Saldo.

In view of this, please send your resumes or biodata’s  direct to the recruitment agency in Philippines. You can click this link:  http://www.medicalstaffing.com.ph/  and look for their email address.  This could prevent  the hacker from whatever he/she have in my mind or reason for hacking my friend’s email addresses.  I am so sorry for this inconvenience.

To the hackers,  may I remind you that hacking is punishable under  RA No. 8792 or the Philippine E-Commerce Law which penalizes hacking under Sec. 33 (a) which states:

 “Hacking or cracking which refers to unauthorized access into or interference in a computer system/server or information and communication system; or any access in order to corrupt, alter, steal, or destroy using a computer or other similar information and communication devices, without the knowledge and consent of the owner of the computer or information and communications system, including the introduction of computer viruses and the like, resulting in the corruption, destruction, alteration, theft or loss of electronic data messages or electronic document shall be punished by a minimum fine of one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) and a maximum commensurate to the damage incurred and a mandatory imprisonment of six (6) months to three (3) years.”

In Saudi Arabia  article 3 of the country’s “Anti-Cyber Crime Law, Royal Decree No. M/17 8 Rabi 1 1428 / 26 March 2007states: “Any person who commits one of the following cyber crimes shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding hundred thousand riyals or to either punishment:”

1. Spying on, interception or reception of data transmitted through an information network or a computer without legitimate authorization.

2. Unlawful access to computers with the intention to threaten or blackmail any person to compel him to take or refrain from taking an action, be it lawful or unlawful.

3. Unlawful access to a web site, or hacking a web site with the intention to change its design, destroy or modify it, or occupy its URL.

4. Invasion of privacy through the misuse of camera-equipped mobile phones and the like.

5. Defamation and infliction of damage upon others through the use of various information technology devices.

To those “hackers” who stole my friend’s yahoo and hotmail account;  identity theft or larceny is punishable under above applicable laws by a number of different crimes, depending on the circumstances.

hackers-100013444-largeFurther, in U.S., the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created the Cyber Genome program to combat the growing threat of cyber attacks on US resources.  Cyber Genome, a project aimed at developing a “cyber equivalent of fingerprints or DNA”, so that the hacker can be conclusively identified. The project under the supervision of DARPA will strive to produce “revolutionary cyber defense and investigatory technologies for the collection, identification, characterization, and presentation of properties and relationships from collected digital artifacts of software, data, and/or users.

Maybe with the recent cyber developments in U.S., the “hackers” days are numbered but for the sake of our readers – the following steps may  safeguard your computer and prevent computer hacking (taken from WikiHow).

  1. Perform required software updates for your operating system and web browser.
  • Hackers attack where they see weakness. A system that hasn’t been updated recently has flaws in it that can be taken advantage of by hackers.
  • Go to the Microsoft Update website to download patches and secure the most recent version of your operating system. If you have a Mac, click on the apple in the top left of your screen and choose “Software Update.”
  • Type your browser plus “update” into a search engine to find the company’s site and download the newest version.

      2.   Install a firewall on your computer.

  • Firewalls forbid outside threats such as hackers and viruses from gaining access to your system.
  • Personalize your firewall settings during the setup process to reflect how much data you want to allow into your system from the Internet.
  • Update your firewall regularly.

     3.  Change your passwords every month.

  • Use multiple, intricate passwords for each website you log onto. Banking and other financial websites are especially important to maintain security.

     4.  Purchase or download anti-virus software.

  • Many computers come pre-installed with certain anti-virus software, but if not, or if you want more powerful software, research online to find what product suits you. Anti-virus software is crucial to keep your computer healthy. A “sick” computer, or one racked with viruses, is more susceptible to hacking.
  • Set your preferences so your anti-virus software updates automatically.

     5. Install anti-spyware/adware programs onto your system.

  • This type of intrusion is not as dangerous as a virus, but adware places advertisements onto your browser and incorporates pop-ups into your programs. This can slow down your computer, making you vulnerable to a hacker. Spyware can survey your Internet behavior and copy your passwords to use for illegitimate purposes.

     6.    Delete emails from unknown sources. Never click on an emailed link that looks questionable.

According to online article  “The Meaning of Hack“,  “hacking” might be characterized as ‘an appropriate application of ingenuity’. Whether the result is a quick-and-dirty patchwork job or a carefully crafted work of art, you have to admire the cleverness that went into it.  An important secondary meaning of hack is ‘a creative practical joke’.  This kind of hack is easier to explain to non-hackers than the programming kind.