Absentee Voters Go Out and Vote

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 31, 2007-OFW Congress-Riyadh, a group participated by various organizations in Riyadh made an appeal to Filipino Community leaders in a meeting held at Al Mutlaq, Hotel  on March 30, 2007  urging their members who are registered voters to Go Out and be part of the 2nd Overseas Absentee Voting exercise that will commence on April 14 to May 14, 2007. 

The meeting dubbed as “Voters Education Forum” focuses on the importance of selecting good candidates that possess leadership qualities so with identifying their position on certain issues more particularly those relevant to OFW issues and concerns.

Profiles of the 36 senatorial bets declared as official candidates of the Comelec were likewise presented to attendees.

OFWC Pres. Mr. Alex Veloso BelloPresented to Attendees the Profiles of the 36 Senatorial CandidatesEngr. Faizal Sharque, OFWC Director General for Membership in his opening remarks said “the forum is part of the ongoing voters’ education program of the OFWC. The forum will guide community leaders how to judge the right candidate and come up for the right choice”. Hard and soft copies of the presentations were distributed to the attendees for dissemination purposes. Engr. Sharque emphasized further in his message that in order to strengthen the advocacies the group has been called for, OFWC are accepting organizations, leaders and individuals willing to participate and get involved to the tasks in a greater vision for the betterment of fellow OFWs and their families at home. OFW Congress-Riyadh structure allows participation of organizations and leaders community-wide. Ten Filipino groups were added during the meeting.  

Manuel “Bong” Amora, Secretary General of OFWC during the presentation give emphasis that the fight has not yet ended when the OAV was enacted into law. Amora said ”the fight must continue; our real battle is in the arena of the Hall of Congress where the voice of the OFWs can be heard”; he added that “it is not just the right to vote but to be voted upon, for  OFWs to get involved in shaping our country to move forward”.ccc




Mr. Romeo Sinamban of Capampangan Riyadh Workers Association, Engr. Mohammad Mua of the Union Muslim Association together with Engr. Faisal Sharque, a former OFW Party List group nominee and presently the head of Filipino Retirees Employees Overseas Movement, jointly made an appeal among Overseas Filipinos for unity and should join hands together to pursue the OFW dream of having a true representation in Congress. 


OFWC President Mr. Alex Veloso Bello made an announcement that Overseas Filipinos using the resources of electronic messaging created an e-group named “Partido Pangdaigdigang Pilipino”, an online forum primarily formed for a purpose of bringing the voice of overseas Filipinos in putting up a national party for the OFW Sector. PPP e-group is gaining more members worldwide. It is a brainchild of Engr. Jun Aguilar, chairman of Philippine based Filipino Migrant Workers Group, a former OFW employed as a technical analyst at the King Abdul Aziz Military Academy in Saudi Arabia and presently a successful businessman at home.    

It was also included in the presentation the role of the Filipino Community in Riyadh in the 1st OAV exercise in which the “Spirit of Volunteerism” has proved that unity can be achieved through the participation of the various communities in overseeing peaceful and orderly conduct of the election process.

However, the group after intense deliberation arrived into conclusion t
hat the role of the community in the next electoral exercise will focus on safeguarding the sanctity of the ballots to ensure an honest conduct of the election at the Philippine Embassy ground.  

Incumbent President Mr. Alex Veloso Bello during the said forum moved for an on the spot election for a new set of OFWC officers. However, majority of the participating organizations and members of the Executive Council unanimously deferred the motion for the reason that there are more important issues to tackle rather than a change of leadership.  

OFW Congress-Riyadh was founded in Year 1998. The original 21 Executive Council members were elected into office among community organizations that were formed by parties. The election and the efforts to make it a reality were unmistakably a show of unity among community organizations in Riyadh.  For four election days spread over two weeks, thousands lined up to exercise their right of suffrage, whose votes took volunteers many nights, in fact, weeks to tabulate and the rest is history. 

As an advocacy group OFWC passed a number of resolutions and recommendations on national issues pertains to OFW concerns. Though it was not properly recognized and acknowledge by those in sitting authorities yet a number of its recommendations were heard and acted upon by the past and present administration. 

Past Presidents of OFWC were Mr. Alexander Sanchez, Engr. Isagani Manalo and Mr. Joey Badong.


At the opening of the program proper, a PowerPoint presentation titled “OAV Reminiscing” was presented. It showed how OFWs fought for the OAV bill and the significant role of the OFWs in Saudi Arabia that made contribution in the history of the passage of Overseas Absentee Voting Law that lasted for 15 years.

OAV Advisory

To All Qualified Overseas Absentee Voters:

What: National Elections 2007

Voting Period: 30 days, April 14, local time-May 14, 2007, 3:00 PM Philippine time.

Where: Philippine Embassies and Consulates, including MECO and other such places as maybe designated by COMELEC as voting centers

Positions to be voted upon: 12 Senators and 1 Party-list

CLOAV: The Certified List of OAV Voters is available at the comelec website http://www.comelec.gov.ph You may check the list for your names.

Filipinos with Dual Citizenship are no longer required to execute an affidavit of intent to return. However, those categorized as permanent residents and  immigrants by host countries are required to execute said affidavit in  accordance with section 5d of the OAV law.

Modes of Voting: Personal Voting,  the OAV voter will go to the post and cast his/her ballot personally.

The following Philippine posts abroad will have personal voting:


Dubai and Abu in UAE,  Jeddah and Riyadh in KSA, HK, Macau (HK), Athens, Greece, Kuwait, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xiamen all in China, Hanoi in Vietnam, Tripoli in Libya, Beirut in Lebanon, Vientianne in Laos, Yangon in Burma, Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, New Delhi in India, Nairobi in Kenya, Amman in Jordan, Manama in Bahrain, Muscat in Oman, Doha in Qatar, Koror in Palau, Saipan in CNMI.


All other posts, not mentioned above, will be voting by mail or postal voting. The blank ballots will be sent (by this time, Comelec Committee on OAV would have sent out the OAV ballots) directly to the OAV voters. It will contain instructions how to cast the ballot by postal voting. Accomplished ballots should be received by concerned posts, either through mail or by personal delivery, on or before May 14, 3:00 pm Philippine time.

Qualified OAV Seafarers can vote at any posts, either personal or postal,  depending on the mode of voting for said posts. Field voting may also be allowed by Comelec. Counting and Canvass of Ballots will be on-Site/ at the posts.

For the 2007 national elections, the total number of qualified OAV voters is 504,314.

Regional breakdown is as follows: Americas 27,247; Middle East and Africa  218,209; Asia Pacific 191,760; Europe 48,711;  Seafarers 18,404.


The top ten posts with highest OAV registrants are as follows: Hongkong 98,148; Riyadh, KSA 58,607;  Jeddah, KSA 40,589; Al Khobar, KSA 29,113; Singapore 26,835; Kuwait  19,003;  Dubai, UAE 18,447; Abu Dhabi, UAE 16,857; Rome, Italy 15,876; Brunei 12,467.

FOR YOUR QUERIES AND MORE INFORMATION, please contact the following:

Comelec Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting’s  Telephone: +632 522-2251 Fax: +63 2 523 9924 email:
coav@comelec.gov.ph  Website: www.comelec.gov.ph

DFA-OAV Secretariat Telephones: +632 834-4361; +632 833-0686; email address secretariat@dfa-oavs.gov.ph

If anyone is interested to become OAV election monitors, you may contact the following (or CMA): Bantay Eleksyon 2007 Project Secretariat Telephone: +63 2 4330764 email: bantayeleksyon07@gmail.com

HALAL (No Cheats) Telephone: +63 2 371 2107 Fax: +632 372 4995 website: http://halal.interdoc.org  Or contact Roberto Verzola at +63 921 2505520; email: rverzola@gn.apc.org

Taken From: Center for Migrant Advocacy Philippines (CMAP)

PhilEmb PR – Balik Scientist Program




25 MARCH 2007


Balik Scientist Program (BSP)

of Department of Science and Technology (DOST)


The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, KSA was informed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) that the Balik Scientist Program (BSP) is accepting applications under the New Graduate, Short and Long Term Expert Categories for CY 2007.


The DOST is searching for potential candidates for the Program in the areas of Alternative Fuel, Biotechnology, ICT, Pharmaceutical (Medical/Health Sciences) and Environment including Disaster Management, and plans to bring back twenty five (25) scientist for the year 2007.  


Interested applicants may get in touch with Assistant Secretary Ma. Lourdes P. Orijola, Director of Balik Scientist Program at the following contact details:


Telephone Numbers

02-837-2940, 837-2071 to 82 locals 2030/2049

Mobile No. : 0063-9165510684


E-mail Address:





Postal Address:

Rm. 206, DOST Bldg., DOST Compound

Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig City  

Amend R.A. 8042

Filipino Migrant Workers Day

Filipino Migrant Workers Day

Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Antonio Villamor is currently in Manila attending the 1st Policy Consultation of Heads of Posts. That is the reason why Kakampi-Ksa moved our “Reaching A Hand Forum” to a later date and wait for the arrival of the Ambassador back in the Kingdom. 

Reading online news I found one significant outcome of the envoys consultation. The moved to amend The Migrant Workers and Overseas Employment Act of 1995 (R.A.8042) otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Migrant Workers is a very welcome idea. Present provisions of the law are not well defined that needs fine-tuning or amended a long time ago. Our envoys must focus on recommendations that add more teeth to the existing law in relation to the issue of the bilateral agreements to host nations for concrete protection of the migrant workers rights.

As we all knew that R.A. 8042 was an overnight bill of the then Pres. Fidel Ramos for the purpose of covering the worsening diplomatic relations of the country as a result of the campaign to save the life of OFW Flor Contemplacion. The making of the law was without proper consultations to the OFWs  thus the export of Filipino labor force is now deregulated, meaning in the hands of private agencies or recruitment agencies with the POEA role as a mere monitoring agency.

Reengineering the said law might give more specific answers to our grievances. Resource Center and its monetary budget should be made available and not be subject to long frustrating procedure prior approval to funds availability. Male runaways in Saudi Arabia must have a permanent shelter or safehouse and be represented with competent local lawyers in their employment related labor cases. Likewise a monetary budget should be on hand in time needed to avail immediate legal services to those OFWs with criminal cases more particularly those OFWs in death rows.    

Looking back in Year 2000,  during the OFW Summit initiated by OFW Congress-Riyadh made the following proposals amending R.A. 8042:

1)     Inclusion of the word “education” in Section 2 – Declaration of Policies, paragraph  9g ) which shall read as follows:

 (g)The State recognizes the importance of the possession of skills and adequate education and information on overseas employment. Pursuant to this, the government shall intensify its skills training, education and information dissemination programs and shall establish linkages with the sectors concerned.

2)     Redefinition of  the term “Illegal Recruitment” to include illegal practices by licensed recruiters. 

3)     Adding specific prohibited recruitment-related practices.

4)     Increasing penalties for illegal recruitment practices.

5)     Amended  Role of Government Agencies par. b.2

“The OWWA shall, in addition to its present functions, provide the OFWs and their dependents, medical and health care services, social security-type benefits and reintegration package as may be deemed appropriate. The OWWA shall likewise established, under existing laws, manage the welfare fund and utilize the same to provide social, educational and welfare services to the OFWs”.

Sad to say that we don’t need to beg for all of these to happen if political and socio-economic aspect of the OFW scenario have empowered political leadership through OFW representation in Congress – that could formulate laws and related OFW policies and programs. 

In the mentioned consultation we welcome the move of the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas urging the head of posts to push for financial literacy of some 10 million Filipino overseas. end – BongA

Philippine Embassy Advisory



19 March 2007




The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh wishes to announce that the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines will conduct the Foreign Service Officer (FSO) Qualifying Test to be given simultaneously on 06 May 2007 in the Philippines and at the Philippine Embassies in Washington DC and Vienna and in Philippine Consulate General in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


The Qualifying Test covers (1) English grammar and correct usage-40%; (2) reading comprehension-20%; (3) logical reasoning-15%; (4) quantitative reasoning/data interpretation-10%; and (5) leadership/knowledge of management concepts-15%. Only those who passed the FSO qualifying test with a rating of at least 80% will be allowed to take the FSO Written Examination.


Venues of testing centers for Part I, Qualifying Test, as follows:


* For North and South America- Embassy of the Philippines, Washington, D.C.

* For Asia and the Middle East- Philippine Consulate General, Dubai, U.A.

* For Europe – Embassy of the Philippines, Vienna, Austria


Furthermore, all applicants must be Filipino citizens and must be less than thirty-five (35) years of age on 31 December 2007. If married to a foreigner, the applicant must obtain prior authorization from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, through the Board of Foreign Service Examinations of the Department of Foreign Affairs, to take the examination. Prospective applicants must present transcript of records and diploma, or certificate of graduation from a four (4) year bachelor’s degree course or its equivalent in a college or university of   recognized standing.


Application form and other related information can be downloaded from the DFA website (ww.dfa.gov.ph) or can be obtained from the Philippine Embassy or request the same via fax. Interested parties may contact Philippine Embassy at telephone numbers: 482-3559/482-1802 extension 2127, or fax number 488-3945 and the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah at telephone numbers:   02-667-0925/660-0348. Deadline for submission of applications is 20 April 2007.

OAV – The fight must continue

The Fight must continue… The Overseas Absentee Voting.

OFWs in 3 Regions of KSA gathered at Phil. Embassy grounds for the Senate Bicam Consultation (March 21, 2002)

OFWs in 3 Regions of KSA gathered at Phil. Embassy grounds for the Senate Bicam Consultation (March 15, 2002)

Many years ago WE, the Overseas Filipinos/OFWs, fought hard for the passage of the Overseas Absentee Voting.

Filcom Leaders from Eastern, Central & Western Region Gathered at Phil. Embassy-RUH during BICAM Consultation

Filcom Leaders from Eastern, Central & Western Region Gathered at Phil. Embassy-RUH during BICAM Consultation

Year 2003 when Republic Act 9189 becomes a law, more particularly known as “The Overseas Absentee Voting Law of 2003“. Finally, overseas Filipinos are allowed to vote in absentia. Though, OFs have been given the right to vote under the Philippine  Constitution of 1986, it took more than 15 years before the mentioned law was passed.

Filcom Leaders one by one spoke to the Senators wit hundreds of crowds at the Phil. Embassy grounds

Filcom Leaders one by one spoke to the Senators with hundreds of OFWs at the Phil. Embassy grounds

Today, 20 years ago, the fight must continue. Our right to be represented as a marginalized/special sector remains futile. It is not just the right to vote but we are entitled  “vis a vis” in shaping our country to move forward.

Next month, April 14 to May 14 to be exact, the 504,110 OFWs registered as overseas absentee voters will cast their votes for the second time around. In this figures, 191,760 are in Asia-Pacific countries, 218,260 in the Middle East, 27,240 in North and South America and 48,446 in Europe. And a total of 18,404 Filipino seafarers serving in ocean-going vessels will cast their votes too.

Senator's Angara, Pimentel, Sotto and DFA USec Rafael Seguis

Senator's Angara, Pimentel, Sotto and DFA USec Rafael Seguis

Most number of OFW absentee voters are in Hong Kong with 96,505; Saudi Arabia, 58,245; United Arab Emirates, 35,304; and Singapore, 26,835.

Go out! fellow Absentee Voters,  exercise your long awaited right of suffrage and vote wisely. ###  BongA

OFWC-Ruh Special Meeting

Dear Colleagues in the OF/OFW community,


Due to unavoidable circumstances as mentioned by OFW Congress-Riyadh President Mr. Alex Bello, the meeting this coming Friday is cancelled and move to March 30, 2007.  The venue will be announced later.


We apologized for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.


For further clarification purposes,  we would like to take this opportunity  to  inform you-all  that the purpose of the meeting is to define the role of the OFW Congress-Riyadh in the coming April 14 to May 14 National Midterm election. Agenda includes overseeing the orderly and honest conduct of the OAV election process.


Likewise in the said meeting, we will be presenting to the 35 strong participating Filcom organizations of OFWC-RUH and other invited groups the profiles of all Senatorial bets (Team Unity/ GO/Other Parties/Independent candidates).   


Be noted that OFWC will not endorse any candidates in the coming election.


The said meeting will focus on the evaluation of all candidates platform of office and their respective stand on important issues including OFW concerns. We will also identify those candidates who advocates for the welfare and the betterment of Overseas Filipinos/OFWs. 


For those seeking re-election so with other former lawmakers vying for a seat in the Senate, OFWC will identify their previous achievements through laws they authored or co-authored that was enacted into law including pending bills they sponsored beneficial to all Filipinos. 


Voter/s education is part of OFW Congress-Riyadh on-going program to educate absentee voters about platforms, issues and candidates that deserves our votes. 


For your information.


Manuel “Bong” Amora

OFW Congress-Riyadh

Secretary General


“The spirit of change can only be achieved if the people participate in an honest to goodness election. It is for us to choose the future we are creating today. Vote wisely.” - B.A.


Letter from OFW Congress-Ruh President


REGRETS to inform that due to changed of time  at Al-Taj School Graduation exercise at the same day (Friday 23-03-2007), our meeting will be move to next Friday 30th of  March 2007 the venue to be announce later.

Thank you for your understanding.


Alex Veloso Bello


The OFW Congress-Riyadh will be having a Special (breakfast) Meeting at Al Taj International School, Riyadh this coming 23 March (Friday), 8:30 AM. We are expecting the attendance of the 35 “Executive Council Members” or participating member Filipino community organizations in Riyadh.


Agenda of the meeting includes “the role of the OFW Congress-Riyadh in the coming 2nd OAV exercise on April 14, 2007“.



I was the one given the task to make a presentation in PowerPoint, the profile of all Senatorial bets in the coming Philippine National Midterm Election. 


In the said meeting we will identify who among the candidates are actively involved or during their term of office made an important contributions for the betterment of OFWs particularly those leaders who advocates the rights and welfare of  Filipinos Overseas.


Acceptance of new participating member organizations is likewise be presented to the present 35 strong members of OFWC-RUH.

Rafael E. Seguis Leadership Award

United Surigaonon Association

Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia


Rafael E. Seguis Leadership Award (RESLA)



The United Surigaonon Association in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia (USA-EPSA) was formed in the year 2000 to support the then Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Rafael E. Seguis, on extending the government programs in this area.


After his tour of duty in the Kingdom, Seguis was assigned to head the Philippine Mission in other countries and later on appointed as Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for OFW Concerns.


From then, Usec Seguis was tasked to immediately attend to the needs of OFWs.  He was instrumental in facilitating the release of kidnapped victims Angelo dela Cruz and Roberto Tarongoy in Iraq on two separate occasions.


The Surigaonons in this region emulates the sacrifices of Seguis in looking after the distress OFWs, particularly those who are in the death row here in the Middle East.  Being a Surigaonon himself from San Francisco, Anao-Aon, Surigao del Norte, Seguis become an inspirational living icon for the USA-EPSA.


In 2005, the group’s former president Ferdinand B. Arana filed a proposal on launching a project called as the Rafael E. Seguis Leadership Award (RESLA).  The USA-EPSA Board of Directors, in the leadership of its incumbent president, Rex C. Catubigan, finally approved and launched this project last year.


This is to give recognition to the outstanding members of USA-EPSA who had exemplary shown leadership or heroic deeds and unquestionable service to the Filipino community in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia.


Likewise, this project will extend the same recognitions to outstanding student leaders of the three Filipino schools in the Eastern Region who excelled both in their academic studies and extra-curricular activities.  The schools are the International Philippine School in Alkhobar, the Philippine School in Dammam, and the Al-Andalus International School.


The United Surigaonon Association is very happy to announce that this year, six student leaders are the first recipients of the RESLA trophies.  There are two each from the three abovementioned schools, as recommended by their respective school principals.  Trophies will be awarded to them by the USA-EPSA officers during each school’s separate graduation ceremonies on Friday, 16 March 2007.


International Philippine School in Alkhobar – Raymar S. Marquez and Narciso L. Mapalo II


Philippine School in Dammam – Ryan Kristofer I. Arana and Maria Enrily D. Magtanong


Al-Andalus International School – Faith Joy A. Malagapo and Richard Jacob N. Dy

By ofwempowerment Posted in Others

Final – FHW Policy

GMA's Super Maids

GMA's Super Maids

It seems to me that DOLE will stick to its final decision and does not allow pressures from recruitment agencies and demands of few Filipina household workers to reverse, amend or scrap the new Filipina Household Workers policy.

Let me just clarify that our stand on this issue in favor of the new policy was based from the sad stories of our Filipina household help from the hands of their employers particularly in the Middle Eastern countries.

Our stand was properly explained by Ka Ambo’s latest blog entry “Battle for the Housekeepers”.

There are many contributing factor of maltreatment and abuse; that includes hiring of teenage housemaids knowing nothing about household chores. Deployment of those inexperienced household helps was in connivance of corrupt government officials and recruitment agencies whose only thing in mind is money in exchange for the suffering of our less fortunate Filipina maids.

Gladly, with the new guidelines, United Arab Emirates introduced a standard contract for domestic workers and their employers, including salaries, holidays and working conditions by April 1 of this year in line with the said policy. Not surprising that other Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia will follow soon.

On my way home

I just found a very interesting blog to read. Based on the archives this blog started January of 2006.  Not quite new to the world of blogging. His first entry was  “Am I Crazy?”, and the blog title is “On My Way Home“. 


Excerpt of the entry “Am I Crazy?” below:


I leave my Oklahoma exile at the peak of my medical practice. While most of my fellow Filipinos who remain in the Philippines would likely exchange places with me, my wife and I have made a decision to return to our Philippines on our own terms.

The author/owner of the said blog is also an OFW, in the person of Dr. Martin Bautista.


Who is Dr. Martin Bautista? He is one of the three candidates for Senator under the “Ang Kapatiran Party”. If you want to know more about him – try read his blog.  

Not losing hope

I am sad reading the breaking news at in7.net a few minutes ago announcing the disqualification of Kuya Ted candidacy.


KUYA TED” in your Ballot


Last week we (KAKAMPI – Kalipunang Kaakabay ng Mangagawang Pilipino sa Ibayong Dagat) endorsed his candidacy and ask support from the Filipino community in the Kingdom to include him in the Magic 12.


I’ve learned that today 3 March, Kuya Ted will arrive in Manila from U.S.A. to start his nationwide campaign and face the challenge on the disqualification issue as a nuisance senatorial candidate in the May midterm election. We also knew that he will be at Comelec on March 6  to formally answer the said issue. But online news just inform the public that he was already disqualified by Comelec prior to the mentioned date.


As long as Kuya Ted is not giving up and no official statement from him backing out the race, we’re not losing hope, the fight must go on and we pray for the best.


On the other hand, the other 3 candidates that our group endorsed under the Ang Kapatiran Party was among the 37 approved senatorial candidates.

HUH – Watch for It!

Yesterday, Friday a non-working day in the Kingdom, I woke up 2 hours earlier of my usual time to get up in bed. The reason was I had a one-hour phone chat with anonymous concerned fellow OFW in Riyadh.


He was able to visit this blog and asked me if I can write a hard hitting entries intended for the non-performing Embassy and POLO officials in the Kingdom.


He informed me of many untold stories, few of it are too personal and not work related which in my part are all allegations. I said allegations because I write based on facts rather than just rumors. I am not on the defense of our government officials at the POLO/OWWA and Philippine Embassy, though I just want to make sure that what I am going to write are based on what is the truth. He even told me personal disturbing stories about fellow community leaders in the Kingdom particularly in Riyadh. It seems that he knows everything from dot to dash.  


I advised him to provide me credible information and documentation of formal complaints before my keyboard starts to work.


Because of that call by next month I will be having a new blog (WordPress), titled “H-U-H” (Hit-U-Hard) for that purpose. All entries ( National issues and local issues ) in this blog will be a hard-hitting one based on facts so that Filipino Expats in the Kingdom may know. “H-U-H” WATCH for It!

By ofwempowerment Posted in Bloggers

Philippine Blog Awards 2007

We’ve been experiencing problem with Funchain lately thus the reason of my long absence in the world of blogging.

Surprisingly, I am quite happy today March 1, 2007 knowing that someone from my readers nominated “ofwempowerment” for the 2007 Philippine Blog Awards. A nomination that I never expect for a year of blogging. Though I am not sure if ofwempowerment will make it to the finals but a mere nomination is enough to keep this blog alive. Thank you so much my fellow OFWs.

For you to glance the list of nominees, please find below the blogs recommended to visit.

   Bloggers’ Choice Award

Best Blog Design

Best OFW Blog

Best Free Custom Theme

Best Blog Plugin/Extension

By ofwempowerment Posted in Bloggers

Riyadh Group Seeks Support for OFW Eyeing Senate Seat
Arab News

RIYADH, 27 February 2007 — A community organization in Riyadh yesterday urged overseas Filipinos who are eligible to vote in the forthcoming Philippine senatorial election to include a fellow expatriate in their “Magic 12” list.

The Kalipunang Kaakabay ng Manggagawang Pilipino sa Ibayong Dagat, or Kakampi, endorsed the candidacy of Theodore Aquino, “Ka Ted” to his friends in the Filipino global community, saying he has “heart for OFWs.”

“Please call, write, text, persuade, convince your parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, cousins, relatives and friends to support us OFWs in our long quest for electoral equality, our right to vote and to be voted upon for public office,” said Kakampi political affairs committee chair Bong Amora in an e-mail.

Aquino, a civil engineer based in San Francisco, California, is currently the president of the U.P. Alumni Association in America.

Kuya Ted had been disqualified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) last week for not meeting the residency requirement but Amora disputed the ruling. “Kuya Ted is a Filipino citizen and a resident of the Philippines. He was born to a Filipino father and a Filipino mother,” he said in his e-mail, adding that “Kuya Ted never renounced his Filipino citizenship…”
The Comelec has also ruled that votes cast for senatorial candidates under the name “Aquino” will be credited to Tarlac Rep. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Noynoy, son of the late former Sen. Ninoy Aquino and former President Corazon C. Aquino, has asked the Comelec to declare Kuya Ted as a nuisance candidate.

Kuya Ted, who had been acknowledged to be a successful engineer in San Francisco where he has been residing for about 40 years, is a nephew of Ninoy Aquino.

He said he was running on a platform to reverse the brain drain, and that he claims to represent the interests of Filipinos overseas.

But Noynoy Aquino, in his petition, cited news reports quoting Kuya Ted as saying he just wanted to run for the Senate to test the effectivity of the Dual Citizenship Law.

Noynoy’s petition also noted that Kuya Ted was not endorsed by any political party and does not have the capacity to conduct an electoral campaign.

Despite the disqualification, Kakampi leaders said Kuya Ted deserves the support of OFWs.
Leo Menez, chair of the Kakampi-KSA information committee, sought support for lesser known candidates running under the Ang Kapatiran Party.

One of these is lawyer Zosimo Paredes, who was fired as undersecretary of foreign affairs for standing up to Malacaٌang in the custody case of a US Marine soldier convicted of raping a Filipino woman.

Also running with Paredes are Dr. Martin Bautista and lawyer Adrian Sison.

“It is about time that new faces in Philippine politics should emerge and this could only be realized if we really have the will to choose the right one,” said the Kakampi press statement.

Dual Nationality

What It Is
The Supreme Court of the United States has stated that dual nationality is a “status long recognized in the law” and that “a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both. The mere fact that he asserts the rights of one citizenship does not without more mean that he renounces the other”, Kawakita v. U.S., 343 U.S. 717 (1952).

How Acquired
Dual nationality results from the fact that there is no uniform rule of international law relating to the acquisition of nationality. Each country has its own laws on the subject, and its nationality is conferred upon individuals on the basis of its own independent domestic policy. Individuals may have dual nationality not by choice but by automatic operation of these different and sometimes conflicting laws.

May 2007 Election

Campaign had just started and May 2007 midterm election is fast approaching.


According to my friend blogger David Llorito the electorate should focus on the integrity, honesty and competence in choosing the right candidate and not the issues. Please read his latest entry “Could the Philippines ever have an “issue-oriented” politics?” 


I’ve been posting late of last year entries related to Philippine election and politics. If  you haven’t read it, the following were my previous post: Democracy and our votes, Philippine Partisan Politics and Make the right choice

Help bring Justice

justiceFilipinos working overseas are commonly described as trustworthy, reliable, dedicated and hardworking.  In Middle East particularly Saudi Arabia we are considered as model expatriates compared to other nationalities. It is not only because of that acquired Filipino values we have, but in general we are friendly and respectful. However, a friend of mine commented that “pag apakan mo ang Pinoy hindi ka uurungan”, it means we need respect from others with the same respect we extended to them.

Isang Bala Ka Lang

Isang Bala Ka Lang

Yet, in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries we cannot expect others to respect us the way we expect it to be.  In this country we are visitors of a foreign land where customs, religion and traditions are very different from ours. At pag galit ka “Wala dito ang tinatawag na isang bala ka lang” sa Pilipinas lang yon. Here in this country we need to be humble with ourselves and be careful of what we say or do.

But it doesn’t mean that we should not defend our rights if unexpected worst things had happened.

We are calling the attention of our beloved Excellency Ambassador Antonio Villamor to investigate the alleged mauling incident of an overseas Filipino worker who was “allegedly mauled by an undetermined number of Arabs” earlier this month. He was found unconscious with a cracked skulls and remain in coma at the hospital as of this writing.

I personally appeal to DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis and the good Ambassador Villamor to look and investigate this case accordingly and bring justice to our fellow OFW in Riyadh.

We are waiting for the official Police report of this incident and we’ve been following this case till justice may serve to the victim. – BongA

A Valentine Love Story

A Valentine Love Story for OFWs in Saudi!

Happy Valentine’s to all!

They’d known  each other since their school days and had since become The best of  friends. They shared everything and anything and spent lots of time together in  and after school. But the friendship never developed into anything  deeper. Diane kept a  secret: her admiration and love for Jack. She had  her reasons for keeping it  a secret. FEAR. Fear of rejection… fear that he might not feel the  same… fear that he might not want to be her best friend anymore…  fear of losing someone that she could always find comfort in. At least if she  kept her feelings to herself she would still be able to spend time with  him… and hopefully, he would be the one to tell her how he felt towards  her.

Time passed, and soon school was over. Jack and Diane  went separate ways and found themselves a job (Jack landed a good job in Saudi Arabia). They still kept in touch though… penned letters, sent each other photographs, and mailed each other gifts. Diane longed for Jack to be back. She decided that she would tell him her feelings once he got  back. And then out of the blue…the mails from Jack stopped coming.  Diane wrote to him, but there was never a reply. Where was he? What happened? Lots of questions ran through her mind.

Two years passed and Diane was still hopeful that Jack would come back or at least send  her a note. And then her prayers were answered. One mid-August day, she received a note from Jack. It said:  “Diane, I have a surprise for you. I’m flying over. Meet me at the airport. My flight comes in at 4pm on Saturday. I can’t wait to see you again! There’s something I need to tell you, something I’ve been keeping inside all this time. Love & Kisses, Jack”.

Diane’s fingers shook as she read the note. Her heart soared. Diane was thrilled. Love and kisses… it meant a lot for a lady who had waited so long for those  words. She was ecstatic! The day arrived, and Diane waited  anxiously for Jack. She had slipped Into her best dress, and did her best to look as pretty as she  could. She looked around  but Jack was nowhere in sight. She waited and waited, wondering what  she would say to Jack when he got there, what their meeting would be like.  Would there be love in his eyes? Would there belonging, bred from years of separation and hiding each others’ feelings? Oh, how she longed to see him! How she longed to throw her arms around Him and tell him she was a fool to ever let him go without ever telling him how she felt! And she was certain Jack felt it too. There was always a certain magic about  them when they were together.

Then a lady in a sexy, tight, blue dress approached her. She had a very concerned look  on her face, “Hi! I’m Lynn, a friend of Jack are you Diane?” she asked.  Diane just nodded her head. I’m afraid I.. I have bad news for you. Jack is not coming… he won’t be coming back  anymore,” said the lady, placing a hand on Diane’s shoulder. Diane shook her head in confusion. She felt her heart constrict. What could possibly have happened? Diane felt an overwhelming fear inside her. Her hands turned cold. Her voice shook as she asked: “Where…  where’s Jack? What happened to him? Please tell me..” Diane begged the lady.. The lady looked intently at Diane… and then she gave Diane a nudge on the shoulder and  said…


Note: Sabi nila dalawa lang ang mangyari sa iyo pag nag SAUDI, kung dika masiraan ng ulo (dahil sa delay ng sweldo, homesick at marami pang iba)  ikaw ay maging Bading! he he!

By ofwempowerment Posted in OFW Life

Philippine Embassy Advisory



Memorandum Circular


To      :  All Accredited Filipino Community Partners

From    :  Antonio P. Villamor (Ambassador)

Subject :  Personal Filling Up of Entries of Data

           in the Registry of Prefessionals


Date    :  12 February 2007


We wish to inform you that the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh has received a Letter from Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Chairperson Leonor T. Rosero dated 29 January 2007 informing the Embassy of Resolution No. 2006-313, Series of 2006, Resolution Amending Item No. 1, Paragraph 3 of Commission Resolution No. 2004-235, Series of 2004, regarding the Personal Filling Up of Entries of Data in Registry of Professionals.


In view of this, the Embassy is requesting all Filipinos in the Kingdom who have passed and left for abroad immediately after the examinations, to register their names at the PRC Registry of Professionals as provided for under the resolution.


For your information and appropriate action.


Click Link: Res. # 2006-313, Series of 2006 (in PDF File)


BSP pushes sale of $1-B bonds to OFWs

BSP pushes sale of $1-B bonds to OFWs

Move can shift focus from spending to investing

THE BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas has urged the national government to offer this year as much as $1 billion in retail treasury bonds (RTBs) to overseas Filipino workers and their beneficiaries.

body_tpl_02In a report to Malacanang on initiatives to improve the environment for offshore workers, the BSP said it had taken steps together with the Department of Finance and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) “to finalize the proposed issuance of RTBs for OFWs.”

“This is aimed at encouraging them and their beneficiaries to channel their remittances to investment instruments,” the BSP reported.

The proposed issuance, targeted within the year but not necessarily in one single sale, aims to divert more OFW inflows for economic development while giving OFW households lucrative investment outlets.

“These savings and investments will help prepare OFWs for future reintegration into the Philippine economy and help provide additional funding for government requirements, including for infrastructure development,” the report said.

The offering size proposed by the BSP was based on the assumption that OFWs could set aside about 10 percent of their earnings for investments.

The issuance of RTBs also helps the BSP’s monetary policy as a way of siphoning off strong inflows from OFWs.

“For their part, commercial banks have offered OFWs specialized investment products and services related to insurance, pension and real estate,” the BSP said. “Direct payment schemes of banks are also available for the added convenience of the OFWs’ beneficiaries.”

In line with its major advocacy programs, the BSP is conducting financial literacy campaigns (FLCs) for OFWs and their beneficiaries together with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

“The FLCs emphasize the importance of saving and inform the participants of alternative opportunities for their remittances such as placements in financial instruments and investments in business ventures,” the BSP reported.

Based on a survey of four rural banks and one cooperative bank in the three regions where the BSP conducted FLCs, microfinance loans attributed to OFWs have risen in their areas, particularly in Tuguegarao, Cagayan.

Microfinance is the provision of small, unsecured loans to the poor to help them start their own businesses.

OFW remittances coursed through the banking system surged to $11.4 billion in the first 11 months of 2006 from $6.1 billion in 2000. These remittances boosted the supply of foreign exchange, helping stabilize the exchange rate and provided valuable support to economic growth, particularly through strong personal consumption expenditures.

OFW Congress-RUH met new Envoy

8 February 2007 Thursday, OFW Congress-Riyadh  Executive Council members met the new Philippine envoy to Saudi Arabia in a Welcome Dinner in his honor at Peking Restaurant.

H.E. Ambassador Villamor with Filcom Leaders

H.E. Ambassador Villamor with Filcom Leaders

His Excellency Ambassador Antonio Villamor laid down his program of office and action plans to address specific issues that concern OFWs in the Kingdom. He pointed out that under his supervision, fast and efficient service at the Philippine Embassy is one of the many reforms he is going to introduce. Adding that as a public office Philippine Embassy officials and staff should serve the OFWs in a courteous manner.

However, he requested the Filipino Community through its various organizations and community leaders to help him identify the needed reforms to see to it that fellow Filipinos are being provided excellent services they truly deserve. He cited one particular problem about the Kingdom’s lengthy procedures in processing documentation requirements for the repatriation of the bodies of OFWs died in the Kingdom. Usually, effortless and non-coordination of employers contributed much to the delay of the repatriation of the OFW remains to home country. These must be addressed accordingly and the Embassy should find solution to this problem, he added.   

OFW Congress Execon Members

OFW Congress Execon Members

As for the distressed OFWs in the Kingdom, he said that since he assumes the office (1 month and 20 days) he is in constant dialogue with Embassy, POLO and OWWA officials on how to address the situation.

He emphasized further that he is in line with the new DOLE policy on the deployment of Filipina Household Service Workers. At this point, the OFW Congress Executive Council gave a positive response to the Ambassador as a sign of support to the new DOLE policy. The group however, in 2004 Riyadh Filcom Forum Resolution recommended to PGMA that the minimum age for the hiring of Filipina domestic workers in the Middle East should be 30 years of age.

The dinner meeting with the good Ambassador was indeed a very solemn and productive one. It provides an avenue to interact on specific issues that the Filipino community leaders should impart and strive cooperation & teamwork with the Philippine mission in the Kingdom.

Mr. Abdul Gaafar “Gob” Dimalotang of PHILMOWA (Philippine Muslim Overseas Workers Association) offered solution to the present problem concerning Filipino community in Batha. He also made an assurance that through peaceful means and proper intervention of the Filipino community leaders in Riyadh, this mess involving our Filipino brothers in Batha area will put to an end.

OFWC Pres. Alex Veloso Bello with Ambassador Villamor at DFA Office-Manila

OFWC Pres. Alex Veloso Bello with Ambassador Villamor at DFA Office-Manila

Alex Veloso Bello (OFWC President) made a short reminder to Philippine Embassy officials that they should spare time to visit Batha and see to it that our run away male workers in that area have proper documentations or certification issued from the Embassy. This certification can attest that they have pending labor cases with their employers and protect them from arrest due to the absence of Work Permit and or Passport.

Other relevant matters were also discussed such as:

a)The role of the Filipino community in the May 2007 election

b)”Reaching a Hand” an up-coming OFW Forum in the Industrial Area-Riyadh with the Ambassador as guest of honor. This is in line with the new Ambassador’s program of office “reaching out to the community”. The said forum is being organize by KAKAMPI-KSA (Kalipunang Kaakabay ng Manggagawang Pilipino sa Ibayong Dagat), KGS (Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan) and Black Phyton Martial Arts Association in coordination with the OFW Congress-Riyadh

c)Proposed Filipino Community Relations Desk at Philippine Embassy

d)Philippine Embassy should monitor all Philippine Schools in Riyadh

e)OWWA issues and other concerns

The following were present during the Dinner meeting:

1) His Excellency Ambassador Antonio Villamor

2) Attache’ Rey Banda (Case & Legal Officer, ANS Phil. Embassy)

OFW Congress (Executive Council members)

1) Mr. Alex Veloso Bello

2) Engr. Jaafar Angkaya

3) Engr. Robert Ramos

4) Engr. Dante Pangcoga

5) Engr. Allan Macabangkit

6) Engr.Faizal Sharque

7) Engr. Macario Escober

8) Mr. Bioux Manilum

9) Engr. Romeo Sinamban

10) Mr. and Mrs. Francis Oca

11) Mr. Abdul Gaafar “Gob” Dimalotang

12) Mr. Manuel Amora

Thank you so much

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following friends and love ones who greeted me in my 42nd years of existence. 

First of all to our God Almighty my guardian, friend and savior. 

To my wife Minda and daughter Angel, My sister in-law Ate Mims. To  Kitty, KayKay, and Michael James.

To my dear highschool friend Monette Go, of course to Ellene Sana of CMA, to fellow Nasipitnon Marlyn Rotor, Merilyn Canlas, Jennifer Ricarte, Sir Ben, Atty. Loy, Tonabs, Boodle and to Nasipit Yahoogroups members, to my kumpare Deo Novelero, and my friendsters May and Jimboy.

Most especially to the Executive Council members of OFW Congress-Riyadh headed by our President Mr. ALex Bello who surprised me with a Dinner get-together at Peking Restaurant last Thursday with His Excellency Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom Antonio Villamor as our important guest.

Thank you so much to all of you from the bottom of my heart. 

By ofwempowerment Posted in Others