True or Not, WE deserve to know


True or not, WE deserve to know

Riyadh, 7  October 2010 – Four Filipina nurse were abducted and allegedly victims of rape in two separate incidents, according to Filipino migrant rights group in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Alarmed with such incidents Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan-Middle East appeal to the Philippine Embassy to conduct an investigation regarding the gruesome details of the incident allegedly done to the Filipina nurses.

According to KGS chairperson Eric Jocson, who conducted their own investigation, the victims were Filipina nurses working in several hospitals in Riyadh. In the first case, announced by Jocson one of the victims works in Riyadh Kharj Hospital (RKH) also known as Riyadh Military Hospital.

Crime against woman: naked realities

Based on initial investigation, the nurse was among the passengers of the hospital bus service but she was left behind and decided to take a cab. While on the way to her accommodation, unidentified man blocked the cab and forced the victim to his car. The Filipina nurse was found later in the desert and in critical condition. It was learned that there was an indication that she was abused. After two weeks the victim died.

In the second case, according to Jocson, three Filipina nurses who work in the National Guard Hospital in the same city were walking from their accommodation to buy something at a nearby department store. According to the witnesses, a car suddenly stops and forced the three Filipina nurses into their car.

After few days, the three Filipinas were found in a remote area in the mentioned city. The shocking discovery showed signs that the victims were gang raped based on the initial medical examination results that there were lacerations on sensitive parts of their bodies. Suspects of this heinous series of acts to Filipina nurses are still at-large.

Engr. Faizal Sharque, Executive Council member of the OFW Congress-Riyadh, a group of Filipino Community organizations and leaders advocating OFW issues and concerns reminds everyone not only to Filipina nurses working in this oil rich region to refrain from going out at nights. “Nurses who are invited by other nationalities and even fellow Filipinos outside their accommodation during night in any given places and time should not accept invitation”,  Sharque said.

“We are not in Manila where you can just roam around and paint the town red”, he added.

Member organizations of OFW Congress are also requesting the Philippine Embassy to investigate this ghastly news around the Filipino Community.

“Our nurses are here because our country can’t provide job to thousands of nursing graduates each year; and they received such horrifying deaths in exchange for a dollar”, OFWC said.

OFWC added that “the Filipino community leaders in Riyadh sincerely appeals to the good Consul General Ezzedin Tago to look into this matter, true or not, Filipino deserve to know if this country is still safe to us OFWs. If it is true please seek justice on our behalf”.

Consul General Ezzedin Tago has been recently designated by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs as Charge D’Affaires, ad interim, of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh. He was the Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah prior to his transfer in Riyadh.

In 2008, a rape case dubbed as “Rape on Christmas Eve” was the one greeted the good Consul General in the first days of his duty as Consul General in Jeddah, now, the same greetings in Riyadh in the first week of his duty.

A blog “Definitely for Filipino”


At first, I never thought that blogging will be part of my daily routine or perhaps became part of my life.  My week would be empty if I can’t post anything and my days would be boring if I don’t receive or read  comments and inquiries from our readers more particularly fellow OFWs.

And it is a fulfilling day if I can share with someone my thoughts, advices and opinions. Though I can’t say that what I shared or reply to those who asked my opinions are perfect, but it’s quite relieving that someone out there believes in you.

Blogging is being promoted as one of the easiest ways to promote oneself, organization, company or a product, etc. My friends asked me why I don’t put any ads on this blog and other money making features that can make money or earn money out of it. I told them blogging from the start is just a hobby and this is my personal blog and I am determined to write anything that will pop out in my mind, no one can ask me what to do, what to write and what to say because I owned this blog. I am the writer, the editor and publisher rolled into one.

Blogs these days are very popular form of expressing one’s self, pouring out your emotions on a certain topic  that you think entertaining or interesting to others or posting something that you think an important events, ideas and useful information that your readers may know.

The Philippines has plenty of historical buildings still standing today. To me, this particular building really stands out as it is one of the few that has survived the test of time and war. I am going to make the photos speak for themselves. (Click the Photo)

During most of my spare time in the office and at home, I surf the internet, and read blogs too that might interest me and give me an idea on what to post.  Today, I stumble upon a blog that I may consider calling it  “a fantastic blog” and a very informative blog in which you can find all the topics you want, from business, living, sports, technology, news, travel, photography, you name it!  You can find in this blog. It even has a chat room and a store, huh! If you’re a writer, you can submit articles. The design is superb and neat.  If you want “Nostalgic Videos”, it has! You can even watch “The Battle in Manila, 1945”.  Whew! My snappy salute to Ben Totanes the creator of DEFINITELY FILIPINO.

Want to see it for yourself guys! Visit “the blog for online Filipinos”, DEFINITELY FILIPINO!

Wait and see…


Kuwait announced that they will abolish sponsorship system in their country.  This is indeed a good news for expatriates in Kuwait.  Whose next in Gulf countries?

Saudi Arabia? Well, I don’t think so. If they are sincere enough to abolish sponsorship system, it should have been done ten years ago.

Actually, the plan to abolish sponsorship in Saudi Arabia have been the talk of the town since year 2000 and up to now the Saudi government is still drafting its Implementing Guidelines, given the fact that the effect of the abolition of the sponsorship system could also harm its own people.  

Saudi and expatriates queue at an Afghan foodshop in Jeddah in this file photo. Of the 27,136,977 people registered under the latest general census, 18,707,576 are Saudis and the rest are expatriates. ARABNEWS

Yes, putting an end to sponsorship system can eliminate exploitation of foreign workers. Once it is abolish, employer would not be responsible for any actions of the employee outside from the worksite. That includes the freedom from restrictions. Runaway workers will then have the choice to stay in the Kingdom or find another employer but the planned system should be implemented in a way that it could not be abused by the worker.  On the other hand, the said plan can minimize or totally eradicate a visa trade which is rampant in the Kingdom nowadays.

However, I have a doubt that the Saudi government is serious in this issue.  Last month  online news cited  Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior the pronouncement that the  “proposed unified recruitment companies will provide workers within 24 hours to people who need them, provided that applicants do not seek people with uncommon specializations or rare skills.”  It even reported that “applicants or employer can employ the workers for two years”.  Thus the creation of a government commission or a department handling recruitment jobs.  In my point of view, they will not abolish sponsorship system but they will encourage employers to hire workers through a unified recruitment firms in the Kingdom. In this manner, it will gradually eliminate sponsorship in the long run and then control expatriates in the Kingdom in the hands of a government recruitment firm.  Why not?  

The plan to abolish sponsorship has been in the air for a decade and why up to now the implementing guidelines still in the making?  Does this make sense?

Let us wait and see.   

Congratulations to the newly elected officers of Black Python!


OFW Congress Pres. Alex Veloso Bello (BPMA's Mass Induction)

 I was invited yesterday to witness the mass induction of the newly set of officers, members and  promoted Karate belters of the Black Python Martial Arts Association, Inc.!   CONGRATULATIONS!

OFW Congress-Riyadh President, Alex Veloso Bello was present  to induct the officers along with OFWC Executive Council Member Engr. Faizal Sharque.  The induction rites was held at a resort yesterday October 1, 2010.

BPMA has been very active in Filipino community activities and community service. The association recently was being honored as Outstanding OFW Congress-Riyadh member  in recognition for their untiring community service and sense of volunteerism.  BPMA were assigned as Marshals in the implementation process of the  2004/2007/2010 Oveseas Absentee Voting in Riyadh held at Embassy compound.  They also donate blood to those in needs.

Grandmaster/Founder/Overall Chief Instructor/7th Dan Black Belter "Boy Macion" (Exhibition Match)

The association was organized in Year 1998 and  registered as Filipino Community partner of the Philippine Embassy/POLO/OWWA in Year 2000. BPMA is also registered with Securities and Exchange Commission. It was founded by 7th Dan Black Belter  “Boy Macion.”  The main headquarter of the group is in Hinundayan, Souther Leyte.

The mass induction was also highlighted with kata’s and karate combat and judo exhibitions. Parlor games and gift giveaways contributed to the joyous occasion.

I would like to thank BPMA Grandmaster and Founder “Boy Macion” and officers for the certificate of appreciation they presented to the blogger during the ceremony. BPMA is always a partner of KAKAMPI-KSA and OFW Congress in many community activities since the 1990 up to present.

Certificate of Appreciation- Thank You! BPMA.

Saudi Int’l. Space & Aeronautics Technology Conference 2010


W E L C O M E !  to the Saudi International Space and Aeronautics Technology Conference 2010,  (October 3, 2010-KACST Conference Building) organized by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology-KACST  and National  Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The conference is under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

KACST and NASA

 

TOGETHER AGAIN: Some of the crew members of shuttle mission STS-51-G at the Saudi International Space and Aeronautics Technology Conference in Riyadh. From left: Mission pilot John O. Creighton, Russell Schweickart from Apollo 9, Prince Sultan bin Salman, former director of the Johnson Space Center George Abbey, crew John Fabian, crew Col. Steven Nagel and crew payload specialist Patrick Baudry. (AN photo by Roger Harrison) ARABNEWS

 

Open Letter to Pres. Noynoy Aquino


 AN OPEN  LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT  BENIGNO  AQUINO III

Subject: Please include the  OFWs in your agenda for a real change

Mahal na Pangulo,

Ako po ay isang ordinaryong OFW sa bansang Saudi Arabia.  It so happen lang po na naging  isa sa mga lider-komunidad ng mga samahang Pilipino sa Riyadh.

Ako rin po ay naging isa sa inyong mga OFW volunteer nitong nakaraang halalan at convenor ng OFW4Noy24President Movement ( http://ofw4noy24president.wordpress.com/ ) .

Labor Export

 

Hindi ko po alam kung mababasa po ninyo ito, pero ako po ay nagbakasakali na maihatid sa inyong tanggapan ang mga hinaing ng ating mga kababayan sa bansang Saudi Arabia. At maging ideya po ninyo sa mga tunay na nangyayari sa aming hanay. Sana po ay maging  guide po ninyo ito sa maaring hakbang  ng inyong  gobyerno sa pagtulong o pagbalangkas ng batas upang maalagaan ang aming karapatan bilang manggagawang Pilipino sa ibayong dagat.

Hindi po lingid sa inyong kaalaman ang mga hinaing ng mga OFWs lalo na po sa mga bansang sakop sa Gitnang Silangan. Isa napo rito ang pang-aabuso at pagmamaltrato sa ating mga kababaehang Domestic Helper o kasambahay. Nandiyan rin po ang rampant contract substitution na kung saan nababago ang kontrata pagdating sa kaharian.

Napakarami po ng problema namin dito na hindi agarang matugonan ng ating Konsulada at Embahada dahil na rin sa kakulangan ng mga staff na marunong o may alam sa Shariah Law, mga Arabic interpreter at sasakyang magagamit ng ating mga POLO/OWWA staff upang marating agad ang mga tulong sa mga kawawa po nating mga kababayan. Ang pagtalaga ng isang Labor Attache na may alam sa Shariah Law at may alam pati sa kultura at tradisyon ng mga bansa sa Gitnang Silangan.  Ang paglagay ng isang opisina o tanggapan sa paliparan ng kaharian upang ma dokumento ang lahat ng mga detalye ng isang OFW na parating sa kaharian, destinasyon nito, address, pangalan  ng amo ng  OFW  lalong lalo na po sa mga Filipina Domestic Helper.  Ang pag-buo ng isang committee na galing sa administrative department (Executive Branch of Government) ng ating pamahalaan upang mangasiwa sa pagbalangkas ng isang konkretong bilateral labor agreement na may ngipin at lakas upang mapangalagaan ang aming kalagayan, karapatan at kagalingan. Isang OFW Trust Fund from the office of the President, whatever you call it, na kung saan ito ay magagamit para lamang sa mga kinakailangan pinansyal sa mga kaso (labor or criminal case) at sa mga nakulong na kababayan at sa mga takas po naming mga kahanay.   

Ang mga nababangit sa itaas ay maging ganap lamang kung ang namumuno sa ating bansa ay may “political will” wika nga o may malasakit sa aming mga OFW.

Mr. President, WE know  the ever-increasing burdens  on your shoulder, the Filipino people has spoken, your victory in the last election has given  renewed hope and courage to all who have faith in the new government.  WE are asking you Mr. President to please include the  OFWs in your agenda for a real change.

Mahal na Pangulo, kalakip ng liham na ito ay ang mga sulat ng mga bisita na OFW sa  OFWEmpowerment Blog ( http://ofwempowerment.wordpress.com/  ) na kung saan makikita po ninyo ang tunay na mukha ng isang dumaraing na OFW. Ang sulat po na ito ay tatlo lamang sa mga napakaraming problema ng aming mga kahanay.

Siyanawa ay matutulongan mo po sila. Kami po ay umaasa.

Maraming Salamat Po!

Manuel A. Amora – OFW Riyadh

“KSA National Day” – Give us and Treat us what WE Deserve


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia "National Day"

Filipinos like me don’t realize how much Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has done to the thousands of Filipinos seeking greener pasture in this oil rich region. Many are lucky, some were unlucky. Successful OFW returnees were able to buy properties, build house, own businesses, become investors, provide good education for the children and others. All of these we called “Katas ng Saudi”.

But yes! It is true that some of us are not doing well working in Saudi Arabia, like all the other nationalities does in every other country. Broken families after long separation, workers rights were violated, some went home abused, maltreated and worst arrived home in a box. Other says the main concern of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia is the cultural and religious differences. However, we can’t argue that we don’t have any other choice but to keep coming back in this desert land  rather than building lives at home in poverty.

Nevertheless, this country gives hope to thousands of Filipinos dreaming for a good and better future at home. Though, there are reports of abuses, maltreatment and contract violations in this country, majority of Filipinos are satisfied of their job, salaries, benefits and emotionally focused on their lives. And mostly those Filipinos working in the Kingdom for a long time found out that most of our perceptions about the Islamic world have another side of the story.  It is just like saying “the mistake of one could not be a mistake of ten”.

On the other hand, the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is very proud hosting Filipinos in their country. I remember an article in Arab News and Okaz, (English and Arabic) popular newspapers in the country cited that Filipinos are “highly skilled, hardworking and get along well with people” a contrast actually with other nationalities, who do not possess the same qualities we have Filipinos. This is simply the reason why Saudi companies like to employ Filipinos because we are known for our eagerness to do a certain job and we are honest dealing with clients and most of all – we respect time to deliver a job.

The present administration should make a concrete move to establish comprehensive bilateral labor agreements with the host country that will clearly focus on the protection of OFWs, the issue of contract substitution and Filipina Household Workers on the issue of maltreatment and abuse.

We can’t just deny that majority of OFWs loved this country and consider it as second home. You have to be here and learn these things yourself. In my 16 years as an OFW I realized that Saudi Arabia is a unique country with many facets that most of us do not understand.  It is an opaque culture, conservative in nature, fiercely proud and protective of its culture and religion.

To my fellow OFWs in KSA, maybe life will not turn out to be as what we planned. I know some of you are worried about the outcome of your plans and your life while working in the Kingdom. Learn to live with disappointment, but remember that disappointment does not have to endure. Keeps on praying and never stop praying as well as never give up, because in every road – it offers a way to opportunity.

To my host country, WE are your visitors, WE are your humble workers, WE are your servant, Your wish is our command  BUT our emotions alert us when natural human need is not being met, so please give us and treat us what we deserve.

On behalf of the Overseas Filipino Workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; WE are so  thankful to Allah for having blessed us working in this country; to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, the Crown Prince His Royal Highness Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, His Royal Highness Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Premier, and the people of Saudi Arabia, thank you for giving us (OFWs) the opportunity to be of service to the Kingdom and WE wish you a Happy Celebration on the occasion of the Kingdom’s NATIONAL DAY” (September 23).

Wish you good Health!


This site is very informative, which ever diseases you click-upon (I wish you don’t have one) , it gives you a video explanation !!!!

Interactive Sites on Medical Information

The tutorials listed below are interactive health education resources from the Patient Education Institute.

Using animated graphics each tutorial explains a procedure or condition in easy-to-read language. You can also listen to the tutorial.

JUST CLICK ON YOUR PREFFERED AILMENT

NOTE: These tutorials require a special Flash plug-in, version 6 or above… If you do not have Flash, you will be prompted to obtain

a free download of the software before you start the tutorial.

  • Diseases and Conditions

Surgery and Treatment Procedures

Wish you good Health!                

Puerto Princesa Underground River (7 Wonders of Nature Campaign)


Philippine Embassy Advisory

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located about 50 km north of the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. It features a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 km. navigable underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea. It includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers. The lower portion of the river is subject to tidal influences. The underground river is reputed to be the world’s longest. At the mouth of the cave, a clear lagoon is framed by ancient trees growing right to the water’s edge. Monkeys, large monitor lizards, and squirrels find their niche on the beach near the cave.

Please Click Photo to VOTE

Hanggang Kailan – Until When..


Hanggang Kailan – Until When..

May of this year, news broke out that Saudi Arabia will stop hiring Indonesian workers that includes household helpers. The reason – the cost of recruiting labor from Indonesia is ridiculous. The Saudis spent SR 9000 in getting an Indonesian maid and Indonesian government also asked  for a  SR 375.00 increase of wage in all Indonesian workers coming to the Kingdom.  

On the other hand, Indonesian government banned their warm human bodies to work in Kuwait and up to now the two countries are still exchanging drafts of a Memorandum of Understanding that would help improve the conditions of Indonesian’s working in Kuwait. The Indonesian government promise to lift the ban if the requests to provide more protection of their nationals are written in the MoU.

Early of this year, there were rumors that Saudi government will likewise moving towards stopping the recruitment of housemaids coming from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam for alleged failures to supply qualified housemaids that suit the local culture and tradition.

L.T. Ariyawathi, a 49-year-old Sri Lankan maid

Probably this time it is not Saudi Arabia that will impose the ban but the Sri Lankan government should do the first move after what had happened to L.T. Ariyawathi, a 49-year-old Sri Lankan maid who complained of maltreatment and abused.

Ariyawathi x-rays have shown that she had 24 nails and needles in her body. “They (her employer and his family) did not allow me even to rest. The woman at the house had heated the nails and then the man inserted them into my body,”  Ariyawathi was quoted as saying in the Lakbima, a newspaper published in the local Sinhalese language.

Without Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam as a source of warm human bodies in the Saudi households, there will be more likely Filipina domestic helpers in every Saudi houses in the Kingdom. It means –  Philippine government is happy, the more OFW remittances, the better and merrier.

Believe me this countless sob stories of abused to our Filipina domestic helpers abroad will continue and surely there will be like  L.T. Ariyawathi if the Philippine Government could not come up with concrete measures to protect them.

 In 1998 Saudi Arabia and Philippines enter into less formal bilateral arrangements focused on household helpers such as: that overseas employers must guarantee the safety of the workers and provide human condition in the workplace, give them one day off a week, pay them overtime for work during Friday’s and grant them a two-week annual leave or 30 days upon completion of 2 years. However, we all knew that these agreements based on the mutually agreed employment contract never materialize when the workers arrived at site. The fact that there are many complaints and runaways  housed in Resource Centers and welfare centers in the Gulf countries, the so-called arrangement are not efficiently being implemented.

Last year, Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council passed a bill  to improve legal protections for the estimated 1.5 million domestic workers in the country, but the measure still falls short of international standards according to Human Rights Watch.

I, personally appeal to Rep. Carlos Padilla and to all the members of the House of the Representatives fact finding committee to move and let your recommendation proceed to the next level of talks among your peers.  A total ban on sending Filipino maids or domestic helpers to the Middle East is the right and concrete move.  

The recommendations was made last year by members of the fact-finding mission after they found out that many of the Filipino maids working in different places in the Middle East were being treated as slaves and were sexually and physically abused.

 “Kailan titigil ang pang-aabuso at kailan matatapos ang kalbaryo, ng mga taong hindi masagot ang mga tanong at walang lakas lumaban…. Hanggang Kailan”