Quantum Breakthrough

Legislators have filed Senate Bill #3565 that would, inter alia, authorize Internet voter registration and voting. The bill amends R.A. No. 9189, otherwise known as Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) Act of 2003.  The authors of the bill are Senators Angara, Escudero (Committee Chair), Gordon, Pimentel, Santiago and Villar. The bill is ready to be heard and debated on.

The passage of the bill represents a quantum breakthrough in empowering millions of overseas Filipinos by allowing them to exercise their suffrage right in a convenient way. The present system of voter registration and voting requires physical presence at Philippine consulates – a stipulation that has hampered the ability of many Filipinos to register and vote.

A large number of Filipino population concentrations reside in areas that are far removed from the consulate sites. In many cases, potential voters have to invest more than one day to reach the nearest consulate. Delinking voter registration and voting from consulate sites frees up the time that overseas Filipinos would otherwise spend in registration and voting under existing law.

The registration and voting turnout during the national elections of 2004 and 2007 could have yielded significantly higher results had more voter-responsive modes of registration and voting been made available.  Additionally, a paper-less and non-physical site registration and voting would relieve the Department of Foreign Affairs and Commission on Elections of tasks and logistics that are considered burdensome. 

 Key Changes

 Section 6 of SB #3565 provides that, in addition to the use of biometrics: “Remote registration through the Internet may also be allowed based on the guidelines and procedures determined by the commission, provided that the appropriate technology will ensure adequate security and voter authenticity”. During the public hearings on the bill, experts clarified the highly secure elements of Internet registration, including the use of the (1) passport number as voter-unique identification that cannot be replicated by anyone else, and (2) voice metrics that likewise is unique to a particular voter. (Italics and underscoring supplied.)

 As for Internet voting, Section 30 of the bill stipulates: “Authority to adopt other modes or systems using automated election system notwithstanding current procedures and systems hereon provided, for the proper implementation of this act and in view of the peculiarities attendant to the overseas absentee process, the commission may explore and adopt other more efficient, reliable and secure modes or systems, whether paper, electronic technology, or internet-based, for onsite and remote registration and voting, counting, canvassing and consolidation of votes, as well as for the transmittal of results.” (Italics and underscoring supplied.)

 Genesis of Initiatives

 Global Filipino Coalition (GFC), a predecessor organization of Global Filipino Nation (GFN), initiated its advocacy for Internet registration and voting after the 2004 registration and elections. GFC’s international conference held in the Philippine Senate premises in 2005 referred to the need for Internet registration and voting. The initiative was in response to the complaints of overseas Filipinos overseas about the requirement of physical presence for voter registration and voting. 

The issue of distance from Philippine consulates and the mobility of global Filipinos hindered their ability to exercise their suffrage. In collaboration with different groups, GFN pursued without let-up steps leading to the adoption of Internet registration and voting. In 2007, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) carried out pilot e-voting in Singapore.

Organizational Collaboration

 Drawing on the resources and previous efforts of Global Filipino Coalition and Global Filipino Forum (an international initiative that focused on past Charter change issues), GFN held international conferences in July 2007 and May 2008, which included, among others, recommendations relating to the adoption of Internet registration and voting. The GFN Political Module Logical Framework incorporates the adoption of Internet voter registration as a key element in politically empowering global Filipinos. Subsequent to those conferences, GFN submitted appropriate recommendations to Comelec and Congress. 

 GFN participated in the drafting of the new bill as part of the Technical Working Group under the Committee on Constitutional Amendments chaired by Sen. Chiz Escudero. IT Specialist Mr. Ernie del Rosario provided expert inputs in the deliberations, in active collaboration with GFN. Mr. Victor S. Barrios, GFN Convenor, and Mme. Connie Gomez-Valdes, GFN Deputy Executive Director, interfaced with the authorities during the entire process.  After undergoing a series of deliberations, Senate bill #3565 incorporated GFN’s proposal on the use of Internet registration and voting.

 Elimination of Affidavit to Return

 Senate Bill #3565 introduces another significant aspect of the existing OAV law that removes a perceived past demotivation on the part of global Filipino voters. In particular, the bill eliminates the clause on the intent for immigrants abroad to return to the Philippines three years after voter registration. Mme. Ellene Sana of the Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) successfully focused on this issue.

 Initiatives of Other Leaders

 Other organizations and leaders were involved in the revisions of different sections of the OAV law designed to enhance the exercise of suffrage by global Filipinos. Mme. Etta Rosales of Akbayan and Mr. Noel Esquela, also of CMA, provided significant inputs during the technical discussions and Committee hearings.

 Truly Continuing Registration

 Future public hearings on the bill could revisit a previous recommendation to institutionalize truly continuing Internet voter registration, i.e., 24/7/365 voter registration that is uninterrupted rather than restricted to a limited period of time. Voter registration in many other countries is a year-round activity. Since DFA and Comelec onsite personnel and logistics intervention are not needed for Internet voter registration, the process of registering voters should be a 365-days/year activity.

 About one million OFWs leave for abroad every year. The net for registering voters could cover a much wider universe if voter registration for overseas Filipinos is uninterrupted rather than carried out only once every three years.

 Comelec could provide for an appropriate cutoff date for eligibility of overseas voters to vote in a given election. That arrangement would allow for adequate Comelec internal preparations for that given election, without stopping the Internet voter registration process. Voters who register after the prescribed cutoff date would be eligible to vote only in the succeeding election.

 Moving Forward Together

 The global Filipino community welcomes the role of Filipino leaders and organizations all over the world to be actively involved in ensuring that Congress will, in the end, pass Senate Bill #3565. Only then would it be possible for global Filipinos to be empowered in a forceful and consequential way.


GLOBAL FILIPINO NATION "Building the Global Filipino Nation for Good Governance"

Global Filipino Nation is an organization of global Filipino leaders and organizations committed to the goal of “Building the Global Filipino Nation for Good Governance”.

For inquiries and interest in collaborating on Senate Bill #3565, please contact Connie Gomez Valdes, Deputy Executive Director, 2240 Chino Roces, Barangay Bangkal, Makati City, Philippines, +632.726.1697, +63.917.528.1323.

The Minutes of the Meeting- OFW Forum

The Minutes of the Meeting – OFW Forum

The Event

The “OFW Forum” was held at New Islamic Center, 2nd industrial Area, Riyadh and started at exactly 9:00 AM. The forum presided by Manuel “Bong”  Amora of KAKAMPI-KSA, the organizer of the said event. The Forum was co-organized by Guardians  NewHope Brotherhood Int’l. Inc. (GNBII) in coordination with the New Islamic Center, 2nd Industrial Area, Riyadh. 

74 participants representing companies and factories around Industrial Areas of Riyadh attended the forum.

The meeting commenced with a Welcome address by the Presiding officer emphasizing how important the forum was.  He informed the attendees that the morning session will focused on the overview of the Kingdom’s culture, customs and traditions and the OFW Forum “Know your Rights and Obligations as OFW in the Kingdom, On-site Labor Education Program of the Philippine Embassy, POLO & OWWA will follow in the afternoon session.

The Participants

The Presiding officer pointed out that OFW rights should be protected whether the OFW is documented or undocumented and OFW grievances should be addressed by the concern Philippine government agencies that oversees the welfare of the OFWs in the Kingdom. He further elaborate that OFWs are the primary concern of the Philippine Mission in Saudi Arabia considering the fact that large numbers of Overseas Filipino Workers are employed in this oil rich region.  He also mentioned that diplomatic talks in these regards between our Philippine Labor Office and Saudi Labor Ministry were one of the many agendas in the past and still currently in progress. He added that it will lead into an understanding of possible well-implemented bilateral labor agreements in the future. Other areas of concerns such as alleged maltreatment and abuse of our Filipina domestic Helpers are issues that are being discussed between the two countries for a better RP-KSA relationship.

Further, he stress a point that Saudi authorities is asking the Filipino community to respect the laws, customs and traditions of the country and not to get involved in any criminal activities, like engage in dealing illicit trafficking of illegal drugs and alcoholic beverages. So with other related crimes that may result into harsh punishment even death.

Left to Right (POLO/OWWA) Welfare Officer Odin Abdula, (ANS)Vice Consul Atty. Roussel Reyes, Vice Consul Atty. Paulo Saret and Bong Amora

The Forum’s theme particularly the banner with two hands together pointing each other in same direction means “Equality” – Rights and Obligations” – “Employee, Employer relationship” where one hand, having given the privilege and the right to work in the Kingdom, also means an obligation to fulfill as expatriate worker and it is important to respect the country’s culture, customs and traditions and obey the Kingdom’s law in accordance with the rules of Islamic Sharia’.

On the other hand, the employer’s obligation to comply the country’s applicable labor laws and international labor conventions is a must – reasonable and within the scope of the contract “both hands have agreed.”

Culture, Customs and Traditions

 Bro. Rasheed Saleh, a Filipino muslim and administrative in-charge of the New Islamic Center during the briefing about the culture, customs and traditions of the Kingdom explained to the participants that Saudi Arabia is characterized profoundly on conservative Islamic culture. He further explained that same with any other nationalities, Saudi’s are friendly, proud of their family, kind and practice good family relationship.  Saudis are very hospitable and generous but private individuals.

Left to Right (POLO/OWWA) Asst. Labor Attache Atty. Cesar L. Chavez, Jr., Welfare Officer Odin Abdula, (ANS)Vice Consul Atty. Roussel Reyes, Vice COnsul Atty. Paulo Saret and Islamic Center Dawa'h Exec. Manager Shk. Marwan Al Hamd

HE  elaborate further that in islamic culture women must wear an abaya (long black robe) over their clothes and should cover their hair as well.  There are no public movie theatres,  segregation of opposite sex with no relation are highly important. For some OFWs depending on their lifestyle and interests in our country,  those side of Saudi  culture could be negative. Though on the positive side Bro. Saleh said  “one can live well in this country  and there is much to explore and discover about Saudi Arabia.”

Alcoholic beverages are illegal throughout the country. The penalty for importing alcohol into the country  is severe and can involve detention and/or public flogging. Drug related cases are among those with heavier penalties. Immorality is a serious offense.

Islam is Saudi Arabia’s only religion,  the monotheistic religious system of Muslims founded in Arabia in the 7th century and based on the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as laid down in the Quran.

Bro. Rasheed Saleh also includes in his briefing the general information of the Kingdom, such as land area, the Hijri calendar, the Arabic language, its national day, education, major cities and other significant  information of the country.

Islam the way of life  

Mohammad Jamal Norvila, a Filipino Muslim from Davao and a teacher of  Islamic faith  in the Muslim Filipino Community in Riyadh explained to attendees that the Islamic Center is not only for Filipino Muslims and other Muslim nationalities, it is also for Christians.

He started by saying that the word “Islam” is an Arabic word which means “submission to the will of God”. Word is from the same root as the Arabic word “salam”, which means “peace”. As such, the religion of Islam teaches that to achieve real peace of mind and surety of heart, must submit with God and live according to His Divinely revealed Law.

The word “Muslim” means one who submits to the will of God, whatever their race, nationality or ethnic background. As a Muslim entails willful submission to God and live according to His message. Some people mistake believe that Islam is a religion only for Arabs, but nothing can be further from the truth. It is also interesting to note that actuality, over 80% of all Muslims are not Arabs.

He explained more that Islam is a religion without any mythology. The  teachings are simple and clear. It is free from superstitions and irrational beliefs. The oneness of God, the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), and the concept of life after death is the main articles of its faith. They are based on reason and sound logic. All the teachings of Islam flow from those basic beliefs and are simple and straightforward. No hierarchy of priests, no complicated rites or rituals.

He ended his briefings by saying that “each person can approach the Quran directly and translate it into practice. Islam awakens in man the faculty of reason and exhorts him to use his mind. It enjoins him to see things in the light of truth. The Quran advises him to seek knowledge and the call of God to expand his consciousness. Islam is the way of life.”

Afternoon Session


In the afternoon session at 2:00 PM, the Presiding Officer introduced to the “OFW Forum” attendees, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office/Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO/OWWA) officials and Philippine Embassy Officials from Assistance to National Section (ANS).

Philippine Overseas Labor Office/OWWA

1)      Atty. Cesar L. Chavez, Jr. ( Asst. Labor Attache)

Born in Davao City, Graduated Salutatorian at Calinan National High School, Calinan, Davao City. He went to Manila and took his college education at the Philippine College of Criminology. There he obtained his degree of Bachelor of Science in Criminology in 1987. He passed the first licensure examination for criminologist in 1988.

Left to Right (POLO/OWWA) Asst. Labor Attache Atty. Cesar L. Chavez, Jr., Welfare Officer Odin Abdulah, (ANS)Vice Consul Atty. Roussel Reyes, Vice COnsul Atty. Paulo Saret and Bong Amora

In 1991, he pursued Legal Education at the Manila Law College and graduated Cum Laude in 1996 and passed the Bar examination in 1997. He joined the Government service in March 1998 as Legal Officer of the OWWA. Thereafter, he handled various positions as: Chief of the Workers Assistance Division; Chief of the Legal Department; Chief of the 24/7 Operation Center and he was the Special Assistant for Labor Matters of the Secretary of Labor and Employment.

Atty. Chavez is also a part time Professor of Law at the Pamantasan ng Pasay, College of Law for over 10 years teaching Commercial and Labor Law subjects. Married to Gwendolyn S. Gutierrez and they are blessed with 3 children.

2)      Mr. Odin T. Abdula ( Welfare Officer/POLO/OWWA)

( Information about Welof Odin T. Abdula will posted later)

Philippine Embassy (Assistance to National Section- ANS)

1)      Vice Consul Atty. Roussel Reyes 

Vice Consul Roussel Reyes was born on 5 September 1976 in San Juan, Metro Manila. He graduated from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1998. He obtained his Bachelor of  Laws degree from the same institution in 2002 and passed the Bar examinations of 2003.

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 to his current foreign assignment, 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  in October of 2006.

He is married to Mary Michelle C. Reyes and has two daughters.

2)      Vice Consul Atty. Paulo V. Saret

Vice Consul Saret hails from Libon, Albay in the Bicol Region. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree in 1991 from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1998, he graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Laws from San Beda College in Manila. He hurdles the Bar Examinations on the same year and for the next seven years, he was a corporate lawyer for the Government owned Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation or PDIC.

While at PDIC, he took and passed the Foreign Service Officer’s Examinations in 2005 and joined the Department of Foreign Affairs the following year. At DFA head office, Vice Consul Saret served as Special Assitant to Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos Jr.


Questions, Inquiries and Complains during the OPEN FORUM:

1)      4 na taon na ako di pa binibigyan ng bakasyon. Makukuha ko pa kaya ang pamasahe ko noong finish contract ko?

2)      Wala akong day off, kahit biyernes merong trabaho, walang tamang oras ang trabaho.

3)      SR 5,000 na babayaran ng gastos pag punta ko dito.

4)      Ayon po sa mga sabi sabi ay kailangan daw bayaran kami kahit na wala kaming trabaho o hindi naka duty. Maari po bang makuha yong aming sahod o ibibigay po ba yun ng aming komapnya dahil dalawang buwan napo kaming walang trabaho. Maari din po bang pauwiin na lang kami kung wala naming maibigay na trabaho?

5)      In process of releasing magkano ba talaga ang dapat bayaran sa first release? Sa kin po kasi 14,000 SR ang hinihingi katumbas ng 900 SR na sahod ko plus kinaltasan pa ako ng 50 SR monthly sa iqama ko. Bukod pa dun 12 hrs. na trabaho at walang overtime na bayad na ibinibigay sa amin.

6)      Ang Iqama ko 2 years na hindi binigay ng amo ko. Saan poba ako puwedeng mag reklamo? Hindi ako makapag renew ng passport.

7)      Sir,  ang working hours namin ay 12 hrs na kahit prayer time ay nagtatrabaho kami. Ang overtime pay po namin ay di ibinibigay. Ano po ang laban namin? May karapatan po ba kaming magreklamo sa employer?

OFW in Distress with Erick Jocson of Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan, (local chapter of Migrante in Riyadh) and Ka Mario Ben

8)      4 months napo akong walang work, wala man lang sila binibigay na allowance kung di po ako mabibigyan ng bagong work maari po bang pauwiin nalang ako? O kaya bigyan ng release?

9)      Ano po ang nararapat namin gawin kasi po matagal na po kaming stop work. Walang trabaho, makauwi po ba kami kahit hindi natapos ang contract namin at bayaran kami ng company namin?

10)   Kailan po ako mabigyan ng trabaho, 2 buwan na po akong stop work gawa ng na terminate po ako sa aming company? Kung hindi ako mabigyan, pwede ba ako makauwi ng Pilipinas?

11)   Hanngang kalian po ba ako mabigyan ng trabaho ng company  SEDER Services, dahil 2 months na po ako no job? May dapat ho pa akong matanngap na allowance mula sa kompanya? Kahit food allowance lang po dahil wala na po akong pambili ng pagkain? Pati po padala sa pamilya wala narin po.

12)   Anu ang dapat kung gawin kung amo ko ay di kami pina pasuweldo sa tamang buwan o petsa? Maghintay lang ba?

13)   Anu ang gagawin ko pag tapos na ang kontrata ko pero ayaw pa akong pauwiin pero gusto ko ng makauwi agad?

14)   Sa sahod po namin, nagkaltas sila ng basta basta na walang pang  pay slip at kada sahod po namin wala silang maibigay na pay slip.

15)   Mayroon po bang 3 years contract?

16)   Kung puwede po bang umuwi kahit di tapos ang kontrata? O magbakaasyon? Dahil 3 years po ang contract ko.

17)   Ano po ang possible namin gawin, dahil isang buwan na kami hindi binigyan ng trabaho. Dapat po bang bigyan kami ng food allowance kahit wala kaming trabaho? Makatarungan po ba ang ginagawa sa amin? Gusto na po namin magkaroon ng trabaho at kung di kami mabigyan ng trabaho puwede ba kami makauwi? Kahit di pa tapos ang kontrata?

18)   Sabin g Gulf Horizon agency, pagdating naming sa Saudi ibigay ang allowance na SR 200 tapos Sr 100 lang ang ibinigay. Tapos pag sahod namin sobra ang kaltas, wala kami payslip. Hindi kami inaasikaso ng SEDER company pag may probelam kami sa kompanya na pinapasokan namin, kasi subcontractor  lamang kami.

19)   Sub contractor  ang aming kompanya sa MAWARID Company, naterminate ako dahil sa pagsusugal sa loob ng kwarto namin.  Ibinalik nila ako sa company ko na SEDER. Hnaggang ngayon 2 months na ako na walang work. Dapat po ba na bayaran nila ang pananantili ko dito na walang trabaho or pauwiin na lang nila ako.

20)   Ako po ay isang electrician sa TETRATECH Establishment dito sa Riyadh. Ang kontrata kop o ay SR 1,800 + 200. Ngunit pagdating kop o ditto Sr 1,000 + 200 lang po ang pinasahod sa akin. August 25, 2009 po ako dumating dito sa Saudi Arabia.

21)   Talaga po bang di pinapasahod ang First Timer sa loob ng 3 buwan?  

22)   Ano po ang karapatan namin dahil ng umalis po kami ng Pilipinas iba ang kontrata na pinapapirmahan sa min sa kompanya na pinagdalhan sa amin dito sa Riyadh, na parang  ipinasa akami sa ibang kompanya?

23)   Sa POEA, Sr 1,800 ang pinirmahan namin. SR 1,600 lang ang binigay sa amin dito. Ang trabaho naming fabricator welder. Delay pa ang sahod naming hanggang ngayon po, dalawang buwan na mahigit.

24) Paano po kami makakatulong sa mga takas nating mga Filipina Domestic Helpers o kahit hindi mga FDH? Sa mga lalaki po na mga taks, saan po kami makipag ugnayan para mabigyan sila ng pansamantalang tirahan? Ang bahay Kalinga po ba ay para sa lahat ng mga takas?

To be continued:

Salient Features of the Saudi Labor Law

OFW Forum in Industrial Area-Riyadh to tackle Saudi Labor Law

OFW Forum in Industrial Area-Riyadh to tackle Saudi Labor Law
By: Wizbone

19 January, 2010, RIYADH: Alarmed by many complaints on site from Filipino expatriate workers in the Kingdom, a Filipino community organization formed in 2002 in the Industrial Area of Riyadh are conducting a series of forum dubbed as “Know your Rights and Obligations as an OFW in the Kingdom”.

OFW Forum will be held this coming Friday, 22 of January 2010 in the New Islamic Center Auditorium, 2nd Industrial Area, Riyadh at 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Kalipunang Kaakabay ng Manggagawang Pilipino sa Saudi Arabia (KAKAMPI-KSA) decides to re-convene the group task in educating fellow Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in the Kingdom on their rights and obligation as a visitor worker in this oil rich region.

Despite of work related complaints heard from OFWs, Saudi Arabia remained the favorite destination of OFWs comprising 19.8 percent of the total deployed Filipino contract workers around the globe.

Two hands pointing each other's direction is means Equality - “Rights and Obligations” (The Employer-Employee Relationship)

Bong Amora founder of KAKAMPI-KSA said “many of the newly deployed OFWs in Saudi Arabia are in culture shock more specifically on aspects where the host country’s culture, customs and traditions not congruent to the Philippine psyche.”

“The objective of this forum is to impart to OFWs, the Kingdom’s – Islamic Way of Life”. Amora added.

OFW Forum is a joint effort of KAKAMPI-KSA, the New Islamic Center, 2nd Industrial Area under the Directorship of Shk. Mohammad Bin Hamza Al Kurdi and the GUARDIANS NewHope Brotherhood International, Inc. (GNBII).

GNBII Riyadh Chapter  Founder  Luis Cabandez emphasized that “the general goal of the forum is to spread the word as we don’t want more Filipinos to experience what many of us went through in the country whose rules and regulations, policies and labor laws are very different from ours.” “The ultimate purpose of this forum is to guide our kababayans in the right direction as visitors and a foreign worker in the Kingdom.” Cabandez explained. GNBII-Riyadh is a chapter group of GNBII mother organization based in Jeddah.

OFW Forum will illustrate the proper remedial and concrete steps to consider in resolving work related problem on site as well as to avoid systemic constraints and risk of a labor dispute may bring to an OFW.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will educate OFWs about the Kingdom’s Saudi Labor Law. This is in line with POLO/OWWA “On-site Labor Education Program (OLEP)” not only in Riyadh but to other areas in Central and Eastern Region of the Kingdom especially to those places where there are large numbers of OFWs employed.

POLO/OWWA Riyadh is currently headed by Officer in-Charge, Assistant Labor Attache Atty. Cesar L. Chavez, Jr.

A new Labor Attache will be posted soon in Riyadh to replace out-going Labor Attache Resty Dela Fuente.

The Assistance to National Section (ANS) of the Philippine Embassy to be led by Vice Consul Roussel Reyes will also guide the participants regarding the proper procedure or action an OFWs can do to assist fellow OFW in distress, more importantly the run-away.

KAKAMPI-KSA in a statement said “We will also tackle the importance of interpreting the Saudi Labor Law, more particularly to its provisions where rights of OFWs are violated. The Forum also needs to identify recruitment crocodile agencies in the Philippines that only look into their own pocket and not the welfare of the OFWs they deployed.”

Some of the OFWs complain of contract substitution, delayed payment of salaries, poor living conditions, extension of work even after expiration of contract, non-payment of end of service benefits among others.

OFW Forum, “Know your rights and obligations as OFW’s in the Kingdom” is under the auspices of Philippine Embassy in Riyadh. ***


New Islamic Center (2nd Industrial Area-Riyadh)

PAL returns to Saudi March 28


 16 January 2010

MANILA – Philippine Airlines resumes a long-awaited service to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on March 28, 2010, heeding the clamor of the large Filipino community in the Middle East and marking a return to the region after an absence of four years.

The non-stop service will operate four times weekly, with flight PR 658 departing Manila every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:20 p.m. It arrives in the Saudi capital at 11:00 p.m. (Riyadh time)

The return service, PR 659, departs Riyadh at 12:30 a.m. every Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and Monday, and arrives back in Manila at 3:00 p.m. (Manila time)

Boeing 747-400 aircraft, which seat 50 passengers in Mabuhay Class (business) and 383 in Fiesta Class (economy), will be deployed on the service.

PAL last served Riyadh, its final destination in the Middle East, on March 2, 2006.  The service was suspended for commercial reasons.

The flag carrier’s return to the region has been welcomed by Filipino expatriates, who number about 2 million – one of the largest foreign communities working there.

PAL has been traditionally favored by Filipinos in the Middle East because its direct service to Manila means that they get home faster compared to other carriers, whose flights can involve up to two stops in intermediate cities before proceeding to Manila.

PAL first flew to Riyadh on March 1, 1987 and over the decades the Saudi capital became one of its most important points. 

From March 28, with the addition of Riyadh, the PAL network will count 25 international destinations as well as 29 points in the Philippines.

For booking requirements, passengers are advised to visit or call (02) 855-8888.

related post :  

Come Back to Saudi Arabia, Filipinos Ask Philippine Airlines 

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Pinoys abroad tapped to wake up sleepy town of Bohol

MARIBOJOC, Bohol–THE explorer Pigafetta would have chosen this town over Mactan had it already sported a Hollywood-like sign on its mountain ranges.

But had this town did, it may have attracted not only Pigafetta –desperate to escape after his and Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet was pummeled in the Battle of Mactan– but also other explorers who may know only Bohol because of its famed chocolate hills.

That is ultimately what this project hopes to accomplish, according to mayor Leoncio Evasco: to lure back its former residents, or at least their resources, from abroad.

MARIBOJOC’S HIDDEN TREASURE. This Is the Postan Mangrove Forest, located in the heart of the Abatan River (where a tourist can visit via a banca ride). But this forest bares century-old mangrove trees, 18 identified species of forest mangrove trees, and nipa forests. Postan is the cherished treasure of the Bohol town of Maribojoc, whose local officials plan to make this forest an eco-tourism destination for Maribojocanons abroad.OFW Journalism Consortium Photo Service

Evasco said he has secured commitment from the Maribojoc Association USA to construct a Maribojoc billboard —similar to what Hollywood in Los Angeles, USA, has— on the side of the mountain range that faces the Maribojoc Bay.

Evasco is the man behind such project that, he said, aims to raise tourism receipts and attract investors in his town, a five-minute ride northwest of Bohol’s capital city of Tagbilaran.

Evasco said he’s starting with Maribojocanons overseas as a target market.

“We want to raise awareness to the returning Maribojocanons about the town that they left, of what it has become today, and of the values and people that were lost here.”

Evasco spoke to the OFW Journalism Consortium last month to promote the project, which will be announced during the annual town fiesta on May 5.

The fiesta is the highlight of a town-wide reunion from April 10 to July 31 called Balik Maribojoc.

Considered as one major grandiose sight in the barangay of Punta Cruz in the municipality of Maribojoc, this structure with Baroque features once served as a lookout for incoming pirates for the townspeople. This tower is composed of ground and upper floors that offer a breathtaking view of the sea facing the provinces of Cebu, Siquijor and Mindanao.

Aside from announcing the construction of the Hollywood-like sign, the reunion aims to showcase some of Maribojoc’s tourist spots.

One of this is Punta Cruz, Bohol’s remaining watch tower, which deterred Spanish pirates during the 19th century.

Punta Cruz is also symbolic for overseas Filipinos and their families in Maribojoc since it is here where the germ for the town’s version of diaspora philanthropy was seeded.


PUNTA Cruz is a historic site for the informal, town-wide group of families of overseas Filipinos who meet in this triangular, sturdy structure almost every month.

The last gathering in October of over-300 families affirmed Evasco’s belief in the possibility of tapping OFWs as source of social investment.

People just kept coming and the seats were not enough. Municipal government employee James Mabilin, then manning the entrance of the watch tower compound, couldn’t stop the influx.

The organizers said they expected representatives of only 200 migrant families.

Seafarers waiting for their next contract bankrolled lechon (roasted pig). College-schooled children of overseas Maribojocanons hosted parlor games around the grassy complex.

Amazed at the turnout, Evasco said he donated P5,000 for additional cash prizes for the parlor games.

“We never had this kind of a crowd, coming from OFWs [and their families] in our town,” Evasco said.

The parish of Maribojoc was founded in 1768, and construction of a church started 1798 and lasted 18 years. The church is located in Maribojoc town, 14 kilometers from the Tagbilaran. The place can be reached by bus of jeepney.

Still, those who joined the gathering represented only half of the total 742 overseas workers and emigrants from this town of 18,133 people.

The figure is based on Mabilin’s census of families with dependents and relatives abroad in Maribojoc’s 22 upland, lowland, and coastal villages.

While only half were represented in that gathering last year, it failed to dampen the spirit of Virginia Alindajao, 48, wife of an electrician in Saudi Arabia since 1993.

“I never realized that we OFWs and OFW families,” she said in Tagalog, “are just around waiting to get ourselves together.”

Alindajao is also one of the organizers of Punta Cruz Environmental Organization.

When the buzzword of forming an OFW group swept Maribojoc, she signed up.

Alindajao’s euphoria was shared by Laura Manuta, mayor Evasco’s sister and a former nurse in Germany and in Saudi Arabia.

Manuta is also a volunteer nurse for the Holy Cross Parish’s medical clinic since retiring in 1997.

She’s also president of the land-based OFW family circle group called the Maribojoc Land-based Migrant Workers and Beneficiaries Association.

On the other hand, the Maribojoc Seafarers and Beneficiaries Association has the town’s agricultural officer, seaman’s wife Eva Bolasco, as its head.


THE stronghold of Maribojoc’s OFW population, Mabilin told the OFW Journalism Consortium, is not the remittances plowing into the town, estimated to be between P52 to 84 million annually.

It is the OFW townmates’ alayon (bayanihan in Tagalog, or community spirit), Mabilin said.

Last December, the groups recommended foregoing a town-wide Christmas party to donate school supplies and slippers to children in the town’s poorest village of Candavid.

Filipino migration-and-development analysts have remarked the potential of luring the resources and bayanihan spirit of overseas Filipinos and their families right in the migrants’ rural hometowns.

Evasco and the OFW family circles that his office, the Municipal Manpower Development and Placement Office, facilitated to organize are seeking to make that spirit transform the town into an economic paradise.

Currently a fourth-class municipality whose income in 2008 was P61.358 million, this sleepy town lacked jobs, forcing some middle-class residents go to the provincial capital of Tagbilaran City, the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao (like Evasco himself) and Manila, and overseas.

Overseas Maribojocanons’ remittances that pass by the town’s only two pawnshops, as well as banks and money transfer outfits in Tagbilaran City (some 14 kilometers from Maribojoc), are the single biggest economic drivers of Maribojoc, says Evasco.

The lack of vibrant economic activities apart from retail trade, fishing, and farming made Maribojoc a fifth-class municipality previously.

“Nothing wrong if you go elsewhere,” two-year mayor Evasco recalled telling some Maribojocanons during casual conversations, “but come back home and bring with you the ideas and experience you learned elsewhere.”

Maybe after the Hollywood-like sign facing the sea, some would mimic Pigafetta’s journey but not accidentally landing in this town whose name was taken from a pine tree named “Malabojoc”.  

by JEREMAIAH M. OPINIANO ( OFW Journalism Consortium)

ABB-SA Employees donates P121,612 for flood Ondoy victims in Philippines

ABB-SA Employees donates  P121,612 for flood Ondoy victims in Philippines

By Bong Amora

RIYADH, 5 January 2010 – ABB (ASEA Brown Boveri) Electrical Industries Co. Ltd., Saudi Arabia employees has proven once again that colors, cultures, beliefs, languages and nations are not hindrance in time of unity and communal effort  helping those in needs.  ABB or ASEA Brown Boveri is  the leading power and automation group in the world.

ABB-SA employees announced  yesterday through Mr. Roland Suarez, ABB-SA QA Administrator who is currently in Manila that it has donated P121,612.00 to the victims of typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines.

ABB Employees at Sagip Kapamilya

Philippines was struck by a historic typhoon  in September of last year putting over 26 provinces under a state of calamity. Some 80% of Manila was submerged, displacing 450,000 people. More than 120,000  are now still in makeshift shelters.  The historic 85 kph typhoon “Ondoy” surpassed the highest 24-hour rainfall in June 1967 in Metro Manila.

The  cash donation  contributed by ABB-SA employees  initiated by Filipino employees  led by Mr. Alex Veloso Bello of ABB-SA Purchasing Department  was handed  to SAGIP Kapamilya of ABS-CBN Foundation last December 22, 2009.

Bello in his thank you email message to ABB-SA employees particularly to fellow Filipinos said “Typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng probably one of the worst natural calamities to hit our country, ruined a lot of things but not the Filipino spirit.”   Bello is also the President of Overseas Filipino Workers Congress-Riyadh.

“Once again, we would like to thanks our ABB pinoys and to our non-Filipino colleagues/ boss/ friends, we thank you Sirs for giving Filipinos space in your heart. “ Bello added.

ABB-SA  and its hundreds of employees mostly professional Filipino electrical engineers are always  committed helping the country in time of calamities. ABB-SA employees were one of the biggest donors during the 2006 Philippine Landslide that hit  Guinsaugon, Leyte where  only 139 bodies have been retrieved and 973 remained missing and believed buried up to now beneath tons of mud.  ABB-SA alone collected almost P 100,000.00  for the victims of one of the nation’s worst disaster ever experienced. The Filipino community around Riyadh collected a total of P 204,740 intended for the survivors and families of the victims. (click Philippine Landslide Survivors Get Donation From Riyadh Community)

Like so many Filipino migrants forced abroad, away from loved ones  and sending remittances to keep Philippine economy afloat,  the spirit of oneness (bayanihan)  remains in Filipinos heart forever in times of needs.

The ABB-SA employees hope that their donations contribute in a small way to a happier New Year 2010.

To our friends and co-employees in different nationalities and cultures in the Kingdom, the more partnership, cooperation and solidarity, the further we are to a new world where there is an equality, peace, unity and justice. – Bong A.

(P)arty for (P)ersonal (P)olitical ambition

Political Tidbits

(Re-published) A friend and an active Filipino community leader in the Kingdom (name withheld) called me last night and reminded me of the consequences that I might be getting into in the world of  Philippine politics. He is referring to our e-group named Partido Pangdaigdigang Pilipino, PPP for short. He added that like any other e-group some individuals might be using it in their personal political interest (PPP- Party for Personal Political ambition).

He maybe be right or wrong, everyone has the right of opinion. But from the start it never occurred to me that PPP will be utilized in one way or the other for political interest of  few aspiring politicians. 

Being one of the prime mover in the creation of this e-group, it was formed primarily as a forum or a venue to interact other Filipino communities worldwide whose objective is to discuss and possibly unite Global Filipinos for political empowerment.

PPP is not yet a political party of Overseas Filipinos, it was created as the starting point or  the first step towards OFW political empowerment.  As what I’ve said never regret joining this group. 

However, PPP is aiming that it will be a political party in the  future for overseas Filipinos represented by various Filipino groups  worldwide.

Note:  Published: 1/17/07

Employee Benefits: End of Service Gratuity for Expatriates

Employee Benefits: End of Service Gratuity for Expatriates


28 December 2009 DUBAI – Abu Dhabi and Dubai are where people elect to come to live due to the benefits of tax free living, diversity of life and year long sun.

What one needs to understand about coming to work here is that, despite your circumstances, the reason why you should be employed here is because you bring skills to the table and that is what you are being compensated for.Having said this, if you are willing to take a certain salary, you can work away with minimal skills.

There is clear evidence that the increasing expat population in the UAE is fuelling demand for Western-style remuneration practices, reflecting the growing importance of benefits, long-term incentives and lifestyle products. The traditional focus here has been on basic salaries and cash allowances, but we are now experiencing an increased interest in other benefits, such as supplemental pension plans.

Source: Mercer’s Middle East Survey 2007-2008.

End of Service Award

Currently, under the UAE Labour Law, employees are entitled to a lump sum, payable at the end of service, known as Terminal Gratuity, that falls due only when an employee leaves service.

There are essentially three elements of severance pay under the Labour Law:

* An end-of-service gratuity;  Outstanding holiday pay;  The costs of repatriation.   

  • Under Article 132, an employee is entitled to an end-of-service gratuity only if he or she has completed at least one year of continuous employment. In this case, the employer is obliged to pay the equivalent of 21 days’ wages for each of the first five years of employment, and 30 days’ wages for each additional year, provided that the total amount is no more than two years’ wages. Gratuities are calculated from the basic wage, excluding all allowances. Most companies apply a minimum service length of 12 months. Benefits are usually payable as a lump sum and are funded locally (in 50 per cent of cases) or through an offshore vehicle. In practice, employees in the free zones, such as the Jebel Ali Free Zone and the Dubai Airport Free Zone, are subject to the rules and regulations of the free zone concerned and maintain their own employment contracts. However, the Law will still apply and the provisions in the employment contract must be in accordance with the Law. Moreover, it should be noted that free zone employees are sponsored by the relevant free zones and not by 
their employers.Since there is no real retirement system per se, the labour law states that an end of service benefit must be paid after a year of service.

    Usually you are covered for being brought here and returning home, by means of an airline ticket. Above this, some companies pay for extra elements, including shipping of items, and tickets for the families. Obviously, if you do not return home after you finish your job, then this is not applicable. Since gratuity is calculated on an annual basis or part thereof provided that the employee has actually completed one year of employment with the employer or more, days of absence from work without pay are not included in calculating the length 
of service.

    However, he will be entitled to end of service gratuity for fractions of a year he spent in service provided that he has completed at least one year in continuous employment.

    Each and every employer within the UAE is required by law to pay service related severance gratuities to their employees, and the longer the employee has worked for a particular business the bigger the end of service gratuity payment will be.

    Consequently, employers are seeking to establish structures that will assist them in meeting these end-of-service liabilities as they fall due. Because of the way in which international retirement benefits schemes legislation works, the Isle of Man is one jurisdiction that is able to give UAE employers the ability to fund for end of service benefits in a flexible, secure and tax neutral manner in a fully regulated environment

    It is quite common for companies to have three or six-month probation periods written into employment contracts. Some companies may delay the residency process illegally until the probation period is up, which can make settling in difficult — no residency means then you cannot sponsor family members, buy a car or even get a bank loan.

    You may also not be eligible for sick leave or annual leave during your probation period. Trade unions do not exist here. In case of a dispute between employer and employee, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs will initially act as an adjudicator, in an effort to resolve matters. If a party wishes to appeal any such decision it can take its case to court. Strikes and lock outs are forbidden.

Bobby Reyes – a Rusty Balderian in the making : A tale of Two OFWs in Philippine politics

Bobby Reyes – a Rusty Balderian in the making : A tale of Two OFWs in Philippine politics

Bobby Reyes

Roberto “Bobby” M. Reyes, “Lolo Bobby” is a friend of mine in the OFW community. He is an OFW in U.S.A. for 22 years. He never abandoned his legal residence in the city of Sorsogon. He is now running for Governor of Sorsogon Province. “Lolo Bobby” a play in the words for “Law and Order and Less government and Opportunities equally to all” wants to serve his constituents – his long time dream.

Bobby Reyes, a journalist, book author and a community organizer decided to cast his lot, by downloading copies of the COC from the website of the Commission on Elections in the Philippines, accomplished the forms and sworn to his COC before surprised Philippine Consulate officials before dropping the COC by registered mail at the Los Angeles post office addressed to the Comelec office in the Philippines.

Joseph Lariosa in wrote that Reyes, 63, was a beneficiary of a petition for a permanent residence that became current last March 2008 but he did not pick up the option to apply for a Green Card because he wanted to keep his Filipino citizenship and Philippine legal residence that will make him eligible to run for an elective office in the Philippines.

“The Immigration and Naturalization Service informed me that I could stay in the United States but it could not guarantee that I would be admitted back if I leave the country for the Philippines or a third country,” Reyes said.

If he loses, Reyes explained, “I will prepare for the next gubernatorial election in 2013. I can always get back to the United States on a ‘Business’ visa or perhaps I will let my son then petition me as a parent when I reach the late 70s. But I don’t want to spend the rest of my days in a nursing home, as I plan to spend the rest of my life promoting the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Ferdinand Magallanes in 2021. And of course write more books and teach.”

Dr. Rusty Balderian

Reyes will be the like of OFW Rusty Balderian, that despite of having a good life as a successful businessman in the USA’s healthcare industry landed serving his constituents as Mayor in Tabon Tabon, Leyte. A story of a young man from a family which owned a sari sari store in his town who practically supported himself as a working student to become an optometrist and a physician.

In 2003 before he entered politics he went back to his hometown and opened a school for nursing. It was put up to help the less privileged students to attend a four-year college in nursing; no tuition fee, whatsoever is being charged to any student; use of school facilities, laboratory, computer room, fire truck, books, library, is FREE; boarding is also provided free; quality education, complete with quality and qualified Faculty staff and employment at U.S. hospitals has been pre-arranged for those who will pass the CSGFNS; and many more fringe benefits which Dr. Balderian shoulders.

Dr. Rusty Balderian (my kumpare) is now running for Congress in the 2nd District of Leyte.

As for Lolo Bobby Reyes “I would not have entered the contest if my backers and advisers did not think that I have a good chance of toppling the corrupt Establishment. But remember the adage, ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall.’ I will capture national attention if I win and friends are saying that as governor, I will become the overall leader of the OFWs and the Overseas Filipinos, because I will still be active in Filipino community affairs in the United States, especially in Southern California.”

Lolo Bobby’s family is not new to politics in Sorsogon Province. The family of Reyeses already produced two governors (Juan S. Reyes and Teodosio Diño), a congressman (Juan S. Reyes), a constitutional delegate (Jose S. Reyes) and a municipal mayor (Jaime S. Reyes). He is also the brother of a former Sorsogon City councilor, Sylvia Reyes-Lao and Carlos M. Reyes, Sorsogon incumbent Provincial Board member.

To my friend “Lolo Bobby” and “Pareng Rusty”, Good Luck!

Family visa now linked with salary

Family visa now linked with salary

 P.K. Abdul Ghafour | Arab News

JEDDAH: The Foreign Ministry will issue permanent resident visas for wives and children of expatriate workers in the Kingdom, without considering their profession, Al-Yaum Arabic daily has reported.

Philippine Passport

“The ministry’s office in Riyadh issued such recruitment visas for three days last week and stopped it temporarily. It is expected that the ministry would resume the service next month,” a ministry source told the paper.

The news is a relief for many of the seven million expatriate workers, who are unable to bring their families on resident visas due to their profession written on their iqamas.

The Foreign Ministry and the Recruitment Office only issued permanent resident and visit visas to those in white-collar jobs such as engineers, doctors and executives. The Al-Yaum report said the ministry would only look at the financial status of the applicant. “The family visa is no more linked with profession,” the source said. He said the ministry stopped processing applications in order to implement the new criteria. “This is a great news for thousands of professionals like me who are unable to bring their wives and children to the Kingdom because of the profession in iqama,” said Shabeer Ali, a computer engineer based in Jeddah. Ali said he has been trying to bring his family to the Kingdom ever since his marriage. “Until now I could not, because they look at the profession on my iqama, which is an electrician. I had presented my Masters degree certificate in computer science attested by the Saudi Embassy, as well as my salary certificate, but they rejected my application,” he said.

He said he had never known about this problem before coming to the Kingdom.

“I know that there are thousands of expatriate workers who are highly qualified and earn good salaries but cannot bring their families because of their profession. I take this opportunity to thank the Saudi government for changing this policy and consider it a great blessing from God.” The Arabic daily said the ministry’s branches in Jeddah and Dammam have not implemented the new system as they have not been informed about the changed criteria.

Over the past three weeks, the ministry’s Riyadh office was issuing visit visas to all expatriate workers for their families without considering their profession.

 K.C.M. Abdullah, a freelance journalist based in Riyadh, told Arab News that hundreds of people, including laborers, farmers and construction workers had benefited.

“Now they have stopped issuing visas to drivers and other house servants,” he pointed out. Some people claimed the visa rules were relaxed to mark the return of Crown Prince Sultan to the Kingdom after a yearlong medical trip.

Abdullah said the ministry used to accept around 800 applicants daily, adding over 1,000 people stood in the queue from early in the morning to present their applications made through the ministry’s website.

He said the revised service started a week before the Eid Al-Adha holidays.

After hearing the news of the relaxation in visa rules a large number of Indian workers approached the Indian Embassy in Riyadh and consulate in Jeddah to include names of their spouses in their passports. Indian missions are now issuing new passports after including spouse names. People who want to include the names of spouses should attach attested marriage certificates. Those who have married recently should register their marriages by producing relevant documents.

please read related entry and news item>>>>>>  NO CHANGE IN FAMILY VISA RULES 

There is a mathematical probability of putting one ofw in the senate:

There is a mathematical probability of putting one ofw in the senate:

There are 7 Million ofw’s worldwide, assuming 30% of this will be able to vote, its about 2.1 Million OFW votes. Assuming an average family size of 4 (husband, wife and two children at voting age), its now 8.4 Million votes. I am sure that we can convince our immediate family 100% to vote for a fellow-ofw. Assumig further that each of the 2.1 ofw’s with a chance to vote will target 15 other filipinos from his/her circle of relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces) and circle of friends (barkada, kaklase, kapitbahay, kababata, etc) – this is equivalent to 31.5 Million votes (2.1 M x 15). The final canvass – 39.9 Million (8.4 + 31.5) votes, which i think is enough to send one “kabayan” to the senate.

A Balikbayan Box an OFW Vote for OFWEmpowerment

Now that we are able to see the numbers, we realize that this is no longer wishful thinking, we can do this. However, we must do our share in the whole scheme of things – 15 votes from your immediate circle of relatives and friends is not a huge task – I actually think we can even target 20 to 30. Relatives are easy, friends – madami dyan nakakatikim lagi ng tsokolate, sabon, lotion at iba pa tuwing dadating ka, di pa kasali ang inuman at kainan at kunting pautang sa oras ng kagipitan, now is the time to at least ask for a small return favor. Another positive factor – communications today is very easy – email, text, cheaper long distance calls. It really doesnt matter kung nasa abroad tayo, we can still do our share in the campaign. Come to think of it, if we hit 30 target votes for each – this is around 63 Million votes, topnotcher na to sa senado.

Here is another helpful tip – every average voter will probably have 5-8 solid senators out of the required 12 in their individual preferential list. Ang balance dyan ay panakip butas na lang, just to complete the 12 allowed votes. In my experience, kadalasan 1 or 2 votes for senators ay minadali na dahil wala ng oras. Kadalasan di mo na nga matandaan kung sino yung last 2 or 3 na napili mo. Given this, it will not be that hard to tell our friends or relatives, paki sali naman yung isang manok natin, kahit doon na lang sa panapon na boto nya, para di naman masayang ang vote nya.

I’m sure after looking at the above scenarios, we can all feel positively na kaya natin to. We must do our share, this is the whole point and the assigned task for each is so easy, sa isang oras na text lang or email baka na-accomplish na natin ang share natin. Alam na natin that we need some representations at the highest level, yung taong kaisa natin, galing sa atin. However, alam naman natin ang mentality ng kadamihan, ok sana kaya lang wala naman mangyayari, kunti lang tayo, sayang lang. Now ikalat na nating ang mathematical probability na to, na we can do it and its really very easy para matauhan ang lahat ng yun lang pala yun – PWEDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have been glamorized as modern day heroes, saviour of the nation, redeemer in times of economic distress. Pero hindi natin maramdaman eto and individually as an ofw wala naman tayong nakikitang prestige or glamour man lang sa mga monickers na to. The facts are pag nasa pinas tayo, sinisigawan lang tayo ng isang sekyu sa airport at tinataboy ang ating mga mahal sa buhay na parang mga hayop na umalis na at madaliin ang pagpapa-alam. Saan ba sila naghihintay pag dumadating ka, sa isang higanteng hawla, kala mo pumunta ka sa Manila Zoo, paghalik mo tuloy sa asawa mo at mga anak mo nahilamusan ka pa ng pawis nila. Pag nasa POEA ka, doon sa basement ka kukuha ng OEC, at ganun din kabangis ang asal ng mga sekyu at workers doon. Pag nagipit ka, sino ba ang nalalapitan mo sa gobyerno, mayron naman dyan pero libo libo kayong may problema, kaya wala kang priority. May programa ba tayong purely for ofw’s – I think wala, sa SSS at Pag-big at Medicare, singit lang tayo. Ang OWWA naman, aywan kung ano to, basta nagbayad tayo kasi kailangan ng OEC. Nakita nyo ba sa TV yung mga dependents natin nag-aaway-away na sa pila sa OWWA para makahiram lang ng sampung libo dahil sa nakaraang bagyong Ondoy at Pepeng. Madami tayong hinaing, maraming problema ang supposed to be heroes na alam naman natin na “lip service” lang ag binyag sa atin na to – “hero ka dyan”.

Our impact in our country is gained from our collective efforts particularly yung suma total ng ating remittances. The key word or the operative word here is “collective”. Individually, walang effect – yung $1000 na pinadala mo, walang effect but the $1000 na pinadala ng 5 Million ofw’s sa isang buwan is equivalent to $5 billion, yun ang may impact. Its about time para gamitin din natin ang ating collective power, we have this in our hands but not as individuals but as ofw’s collectively, acting as one huge, gigantic force.

Lets start with this electoral exercise, iparamdam na natin kung sino tayo, let start doing things from the position of strength, ipakita natin na we are a force to reckon with, that we can indeed make or break our nation. One OFW in the senate, this is not too much to ask for, set aside natin ang president and vice president, im sure we have our own choices. Kaya natin to, look at the numbers and look at your share in the undertaking, peanuts, no sweat. Lets not forget the operative word always, “collective”, for once, let us start being one. 

Salamat po and good luck sa ating lahat………. OFW – ONE FILIPINO WORKER

From: an OFW like YOU

Philemb Advisory OAV and List of Candidates re: 2010 Philippine National Election

PhilEmb-RUH Advisory

COMELEC List of Approved Candidates for 2010 Philippine National Election.


1) Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III (LP)

2)  Richard Gordon (Bagumbayan)

3) Ma. Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal (independent)

4) Manny Villar (NP)

5) Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro (Lakas-Kampi-CMD)

6) Joseph Ejercito “Erap” Estrada  (PMP)

7) Eddie Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas)

8) Carlos “JC” Delos Reyes  (Ang Kapatiran Party)


1) Manuel “Mar” Roxas III  (LP)

2) Loren Legarda  (NP)

3) Bayani Fernando (Bagumbayan)

4) Edu Manzano (Lakas-Kampi CMD)

5) Jejomar Binay  (PMP)

6) Perfecto Yasay  (Bangon Pilipinas)

7) Jay Sonza  (KBL)

8 )  Dominador Chipeco  (Ang Kapatiran)


1)      Nereus Acosta (LP)

2)      Sharuff Ibrahim Albani (KBL)

3)      Zafrullah Alonto (Bangon)

4)      Ana Theresa Baraquel (LP)

5)      Jv Larion Bautista (PMP)

6)      Martin Bautista (LP)

7)      Silvestre Bello III (Lakas Kampi CMD)

8)      Rozanno Rufino Biazon (LP)

9)      Bong Revilla (Lakas Kampi CMD)

10)   Henry Caunan (PDP Laban)

11)   PIA Cayetano (NP)

12)   Rizalito David (Ang Kapatiran)

13)   Joey De Venecia (PMP)

14)   Miriam Defensor Santiago  (PRP)

15)   Franklin Drilon (LP)

16)   Juan Ponce Enrile (PMP)

17)   Jinggoy Estrada (PMP)

18)   Ramon Guico (Lakas Kampi CMD)

19)   Teofisto Guingona III (LP)

20)   Jo Aurea Imbong (Ang Kapatiran)

21)   Kata Inocencio (Bangon)

22)   Alexander Lacson (LP)

23)   Raul Lambino (Lakas Kampi CMD)

24)   Rey Langit (Lakas Kampi CMD)

25)   Yasmin Lao (LP)

26)   Lito Lapid (Lakas Kampi CMD)

27)   Alma Lood (KBL)

28)   Aplonario Lozada (PMP)

29)   Regalado Maambong (KBL)

30)   Fredinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (NP)

31)   Liza Maza  (Independent)

32)   Ma. Judea Millora (KBL)

33)   Ramon Mitra (NP)

34)   Ramoncito Ocampo (Bangon)

35)   Satur Ocampo (Bangon)

36)   Susan Ople (NP)

37)   Sergio Osmena III (Independent)

38)   JOvito Palaparan, Jr. (Independent)

39)   Imelda Papin (KBL)

40)   Zosimo Paredes (Ang Kapatiran)

41)   Gwendolyn Pimentel (PDP Laban)

42)   Rodolfo Plaza (NPC)

43)   Reynaldo Princesa (Bangon)

44)   Ariel Querubin (NP)

45)   Ralph Recto (LP)

46)   Gilbert Remulla (NP)

47)   Ma. Gracia Rinoza Plazo (Ang Kapatiran)

48)   Sonia Roco (LP)

49)   Adrian Sison (Ang Kapatiran)

50)   Vicente Sotto III (NPC)

51)   Adel Tamano (NP)

Thank you is not enough: OFWempowerment 4th Year Anniversary

Yesterday, 13 of December was the 4th Year OFWempowerment blog anniversary.  I would like to offer my deep gratitude to my fellow OFWs and of course to all my readers who visits ofwempowerment blog regularly. For the past few months our stats or the number of visitors keeps climbing up as shown herein below the number of visitors for the past few weeks.

December 10, 2009 was the busiest day so far where we got 245 hits for a total views of  25,473 as of today 14 December 2009.

I hope more visitors will be able to read postings that might interest you as an Overseas Filipino Workers not only in Saudi Arabia but to all Filipino expatriates in the four corners of the globe.

To all those who leave their comments and ask for my personal advice, thank you so much for your trust, though the information is not enough but hopefully we can give more precise information in the future.

To WordPress themes and templates, Thank you so much!

Also to those who finds time to drop by in my other blogs “My Diary of Important Events / News CLippings”  and “OFWs for Noy2 for President Movement” – Maraming maraming Salamat Po!

To all of you, I know that a simple thank you is not enough but it is coming from the bottom of my heart. Have a great and blessed day!

OFW Empowerment Blog Stats :

Total views: 25,473

Busiest day: 245 — Thursday, December 10, 2009


Title Views  
The continuing saga towards OFW Empowerm 48
About Me 21
Loan Assistance to OFWs 10
OFW Links 9
The Filipino Diaspora 5
KSA2020 4
Migrant Workers Day-Nothing to Celebrate 4
What is a Blog 3
Pilipino Ako Saan man sa Mundo 3
New Saudi Labor Law 3
The Ninth Ray of Philippine Flag and the 3

Recent Weeks

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Total Average Change
Nov 292 Nov 3160 Nov 4136 Nov 5101 Nov 699 Nov 773 Nov 8122 783 112  
Nov 9175 Nov 10117 Nov 1197 Nov 12107 Nov 13104 Nov 1489 Nov 1581 770 110 -1.66%
Nov 16126 Nov 17105 Nov 18106 Nov 19103 Nov 2063 Nov 2196 Nov 2284 683 98 -11.30%
Nov 23119 Nov 24134 Nov 2599 Nov 2688 Nov 2770 Nov 2868 Nov 29101 679 97 -0.59%
Nov 30117 Dec 1144 Dec 2204 Dec 3179 Dec 4112 Dec 589 Dec 6105 950 136 +39.91%
Dec 7144 Dec 8178 Dec 9163 Dec 10245 Dec 11126 Dec 12115 Dec 1329 1,000 162 +19.25%