Stripping of Power a little bit

News report yesterday from leading Arabic newspaper in the Kingdom featured Sheikh Muhammad Al-Rifai, director of the Yanbu Branch of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, that “all branches of the commission were notified of the Interior Ministry’s decision, which stipulates that the role of the commission ends once the suspect is arrested and handed over to the police.” Members of the commission are religious police called Muttawa’in.

nematawwThe order was issued by the Interior Ministry in response to a complaint filed by a father of Saudi young man who was allegedly beaten to death when members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice stormed his house in late May in the capital on the suspicion that his son was engaged in selling alcohol. The father has demanded execution of the persons responsible for his death.

Mr. Raid Qusti, a respected columnist of Arab News in his news report stated that the father would have turned his son to the authorities who has been suspected selling liquor if they showed up with a warrant for the arrest, “instead, they raided the place, never showed a piece of paper,” quoted in the news report.

Reuters on line news dated 15 July 2007 said “four members of the commission are also on trial for the death of a 50-year-old man who had been arrested for driving with an unrelated woman.”

These prompted the Saudi Interior Ministry to issue guidelines banning morality police from detaining suspects. The order follows previous efforts to regulate the activities of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, including a royal decree last year that they must deliver suspects to Interior Ministry police officers.

The order includes ban the commission on extracting confessions and inspections of morality police offices to ensure no one is being held there.

 Internet online leading news source Reuters added that “Saudi critics say the body, whose members intervene to stop unrelated men and women from mixing in public and sometimes interrogate people to check if their beliefs fit with Saudi Arabia’s Islamic orthodoxy, is an affront to civil rights.”

However, world press another online news said, “The commission believes that the decision will not affect the role of the commission in confronting corruption and violations.” It pointed out that “a great burden has been lifted from the commission’s men and the number of men working in the field will increase, thus allowing them to play a more effective role.” Further, the commission members will have to take part in compulsory field training programs and attend awareness courses.

Mutawwa’in or religious police, who constitute the Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice, still have the power to arrest those who violate the law and the authority to enforce their duty by apprehending those persons who violates the strict standards of social behavior including the closing of commercial establishments during the five daily prayer observances and compliance with strict norms of public dress, and dispersing gatherings of women in public places.

However, they are not allowed to detain any suspect of a crime or violators of a certain law or ordinances; once apprehended, violators should be handed over to the police for proper questioning.

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Tilapia in the Desert Land

Trip to Al Kharj

For my 14 years as expats in Saudi Arabia, these past few weeks was the hottest temperature I’ve experienced; and seems to continue till the month of September or October, the month usually winter seasons starts.

But the hottest time of the year doesn’t prevent me and fellow employees to went out yesterday (Friday) for a fishing trip to Al-Kharj to relax from a week very busy hours of work, or to ease even for just a day our homesickness away from home. This blogger in particular, July 13 is my daughter’s birthday and I am not with her to celebrate her 9th years of existence.

Al Kharj "Sunrise"

Al Kharj "Sunrise"

We traveled at 4:00 AM and arrived Al Kharj city proper at 5:10 AM. We were able to take a photo of the famous city landmark, the Al Kharj Tower on way back to our accommodation. Going to our destination we were not surprised that the roads are deserted for the reason that it was Friday and due to hot season. But all of us were amazed seeing a mall (Geant) in the area, perhaps the biggest mall in the Kingdom as written in their billboard.

Al Kharj or El-Kharj is 87 kilometers from Riyadh city proper which is 52 kilometers away from our accommodation in the 3rd Industrial Area. Al Kharj is a small city but the area in general is home of agricultural production in Saudi Arabia. Leading processing plant that deal in the production of food beverages and dairy products are located in Al-Kharj. And as what I have seen, the largest farms of the notably “Dates Palm” the national fruit of Saudi Arabia is likewise found in the area. Other agricultural products as we noticed along our way; are watermelons, barley, sorghum, onions, grapes, citrus fruit; and poultry.

Al Kharj is part of Riyadh, the country’s capital and largest city that lies among oases on a dry, rocky plateau; and it is

Al Kharj Tower

Al Kharj Tower

in the center of the whole Kingdom. Unlike Jeddah and Dammam or Al Khobar there are no coastal areas found in these region. Though Saudi Arabia lacks permanent lakes and rivers, but considerable reserves of underground water have been discovered across the countries that have been used for irrigation purposes in agricultural production.

 Water is very important in Saudi Arabia, large desalinization plants was built for the supply of drinking water, as well as the intakes of power plants and oil refineries. Most of the population including expatriates Filipinos buy mineral water for daily drinking use.


The Wetlands

 In Saudi Arabia where rain rarely occurs but heavy one when it comes, Inland Wetlands or Marsh provides natural flood control by serving as basins for excess rainwater. These floodwaters then empty into the adjoining farmlands. Many countries experimental planting showed that fruit trees and grains could be grown successfully by means of the old water-distribution systems using drainage, dams and catchment’s basins.

The Wetlands

The Wetlands

One native Saudi national we’ve met pasturing his camels near the Marsh said that the agricultural success of production in Al-Kharj contributed much in the co-operation among neighboring farms to use drainage, irrigation, erosion control, or other special type conservation programs where water reserved is not so abundant. “The Saudi government irrigation program is very helpful to farm owners,” he explained. We agreed with him as showed by the many big culvert lined up along the road that proves Government serious on-going irrigation improvements that will benefit farm owners in the area.



The trip in search of “Tilapia”

Our visit to Al Kharj is to have a proof and see to ourselves the presence of tilapia in one of the wetlands. We heard from OFWs in the neighboring factories that “Tilapias” are abundant in many Marshland located outside Al-Kharj city proper.

Though I am convinced that there are tilapias and other rare species of fish in the Saudi desert particularly in the



coastal areas of Jeddah and Al Khobar but at the center of a dry and rocky plateau like Al Kharj needs to have a proof at least by my very own eyes.

 Tilapias as what I have known are commercially important species that have been cultivated in several Asian countries, including the Philippines. They have interesting behavior and attractive coloration. The larger species are important as a source of food and are cultivated extensively. Fresh and smoked tilapias are now readily available all over the world. However, the smallest known tilapia species is listed as an endangered species. According to my research “tilapia can survive in waters with oxygen conce

ntrations as low as 0.1 parts per million, and one species inhabits hot springs with water temperatures as high as 40 deg.C (104 deg. F).” It means it can survive in Saudi Arabia.

 In Philippines Tilapia are raised in artificially created fishponds, in the fish-farming industry known as aquaculture. The aquaculturists carefully manage their production to ensure and maintain quality of water used in fish farming. It maybe because some of our lakes and swamps are already polluted that eating tilapia may harm consumers health.

To see is to believe

As explained above, Wetlands or Marsh served as basins for excess rainwater use for irrigation system. The tilapia that we caught using Philippine made “Fishing Net” or “Lambat” for the said purpose proves that tilapias are abundant in the area.

Rod, Rey and Edwin

Rod, Rey and Edwin

Out of my curiosity, I made a personal survey to look where the source of water came from, which I found out coming from the adjoining farm. A canal was built for the purpose and the “huge pre-cast culvert” near to it is ready for installation. I later discovered that the marsh where the tilapias are found had a small dam or barrier use to empty the waters into the adjoining farmlands. And according to our native Saudi friend, the wall is open in time of rainy days or when there is a rain. It should be monitored and close again when the other farms have enough supply of water in their own Marsh.

Thus the timing of the water that flows during rainy days or by the use of the underground water supply influences the use of the marsh by fish and wildlife, especially for spawning and waterfowl migrations.

 While preparing to pack up, a “Mooror” or “Highway Traffic Police” stop at the nearby road and asked, “what are we

The Catch

The Catch

doing?”, we simply said fishing tilapia. He approached us and said in Arabic “Inta Akil Hada” it means, “You eat those?” We chorused and said, “Yes!” Then he replied, “Allah! You’re so great; in my country YOU provide food for Filipinos even in the desert”. We inform him that Tilapia is clean and favorite fish of Filipinos, he replied, “My friends, what I mean is – God give us oil from underneath and now God provide food for Filipinos in the desert lake.” We all smile to him and before he goes back to his mobile car he said, “be sure to go home before 12:00 noon, the sun is so angry.”

But I advised my friends to bring one sample of the catch to a Saudi acquintance working at Ministry of Health to conduct testing first, to make sure that what we caught are safe for human consumption.

 Government and local executives in our country should not ignore the beauty of wetlands. Wetlands in other countries provide many opportunities for recreational activities, such as bird watching, hunting, fishing, trapping, and hiking. Once develop a possible local tourist attraction will emerge that will contribute enhancement of its local economy.

It was indeed a fulfilling trip, in one hot summer Friday in Saudi Arabia’s Wetlands.

Next entry “The Monkeys in the Desert Land.”

Philippine Mission: Paramount concerns

OFW Welfare and Protection

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) has been the Philippine government’s primary concern in its relations with Middle East countries. In Saudi Arabia our Philippine Mission focuses more on Filipino expatriate’s welfare and protection considering the fact that large numbers of Overseas Filipino Workers are employed in this oil rich region.

As a community partner of our Philippine Embassy, I am aware that diplomatic talks in these regards between our Philippine Labor Office and Saudi Labor Ministry are one of the many agendas in progress. Hopefully these may lead into an understanding of possible well-implemented bilateral labor agreements.

What the Saudi government is requesting is when the contract is violated; the Filipino worker should present his complaint before the concerned agencies in the Saudi labor offices before he/she leaves the Kingdom. In this process, both sides can be heard and when there is a violation committed by the employer an appropriate compensation based on a given decision will be dispensed accordingly. Complaints raised by the Filipino workers to POEA after coming from the Kingdom will not give the chance for the Saudi employer to defend himself. If a breach of contract is found then any reward may not be properly handed to the aggrieved party.

Saudi authorities is also 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. 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.

Trade and investments

We are all aware that Welfare and Protection for our OFWs are not the only paramount interest of our Philippine Mission in the Kingdom. The area of Trade and Investment is very essential as part of their diplomatic responsibility. Trade and Investment has always been the major force behind the economic relations among nations.

During last year’s meeting of Pres. Gloria Arroyo and members of Saudi chambers of commerce and industry and the council of Philippine-Saudi businessmen, she encouraged Saudi businessmen to invest in the Philippines in different industrial sectors especially in Mindanao. Saudi businessmen welcomed the idea of investing in our country. Philippine Commercial Attache was formally re-introduced for the mentioned purpose.

2007 UNITED NATIONS— Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo and His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal reaffirm the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ’s firm commitment to strengthen friendly and cooperative ties, particularly in trade and investment, the peace process in the Southern Philippines , migration and inter-regional cooperation.  Secretary Romulo and Prince Saud Al-Faisal met following the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Meeting held at the sidelines of the 62nd UN General Assembly. The ASEAN-GCC strongly supported a proposal made by Secretary Romulo for ASEAN and GCC senior officials to begin discussions on formal linkages as well as specific projects for the ASEAN and GCC foreign ministers to consider at their next meeting.

2007 UNITED NATIONS— Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo and His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal reaffirm the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ’s firm commitment to strengthen friendly and cooperative ties, particularly in trade and investment, the peace process in the Southern Philippines , migration and inter-regional cooperation. Secretary Romulo and Prince Saud Al-Faisal met following the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Meeting held at the sidelines of the 62nd UN General Assembly. The ASEAN-GCC strongly supported a proposal made by Secretary Romulo for ASEAN and GCC senior officials to begin discussions on formal linkages as well as specific projects for the ASEAN and GCC foreign ministers to consider at their next meeting.

Mindanao is not only the home of our Muslim brothers and sisters but the country’s main agricultural export zone that currently brings tuna, pineapple, rattan furniture and fresh bananas to Saudi Arabia. The Philippine furniture alone proved its competitiveness in the world market in quality and design and the Saudi businessmen wants to purchase directly from our country than buying furniture from America that are originally manufactured in the Philippines.

Just yesterday, Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor made an appeal to community leaders to support and assist in promoting to potential participants in the establishments, companies or institutions OFWs are connected with, in the upcoming October 17 to 20, 2007 International trade fair in Manila initiated by Manila FAME International.

Manila Fame International is organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions (CITEM), an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry. You can visit their web site at

Let us-all help endorsing Philippine export products that would further enhance strategic RP-Saudi relations in Trade and Investments.  – END by: BongA.

OFW Families in local governance

Every visit in my province when I’m home, I noticed newly constructed big houses in the countryside like in barrios or barangay that caught my attention whenever I had the chance to traveled Cagayan and Butuan. My beloved hometown in particular, I haven’t seen such nice houses in those areas way back in my younger years.

In every inquiries I made, who are the owners of these big houses? Only one common reply I’ve heard, “owned by seaman” or “owned by an ofw” or an “overseas Filipino”.

Thinking aloud lately how important the Overseas Filipinos contribution in nation building more importantly in our local economy. It’s just a simple logic, when the beneficiary receive the remittances from an OFW/Overseas Filipino, they will buy their basic necessities in the area, the local businesses benefited from it, the local government revenue goes up from the taxes derived from those acquired items, materials or properties by the OF/OFWs.

But not all OFWs (sea or land based) are lucky, some goes home empty handed and no savings at all and therefore needs help from the community or local government that once her/his remittances shared an important part in uplifting its local economic condition.

Nasipit Town Hall (Agusan Del Norte)

Nasipit Town Hall (Agusan Del Norte)

How can our local government or WE be of help to our not so lucky OFW returnees dubbed by our Government “Bagong Bayani”? As what I’ve said our Government Reintegration Program for our returning OFWs is just a drop in a bucket. Only very few had succeeded, not to mention that there are still requirements needed in exchange to avail such livelihood program.

What we need is a political mandate, OFW families should have a say in our local government structure or governance. We should be given a voice in determining the exact needs of our fellow OFWs and their families. There a lot of avenues we can contribute if we have the political mandate to get involve and have our views be heard for the purpose of crafting policies beneficial for our sector and social change in general.

It is about time, please join with us in our long quest for OFW/OF political empowerment.


Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate Davao Councilor Peter Lavina an OFW advocate for having been re-elected as Davao City Councilor along with newly elected Vice Mayor Sara Duterte and come backing councilors Tomas Monteverde III, Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz and Tessie Mata-Maranon, and first-termers Edgar Ibuyan, John Louie Bonguyan, Samuel Bangoy, Karlo Bello and Rachel Zozobrado.

Councilor Peter Lavina in his privilege speech during the farewell session at the City Council on the rising value of the Peso which hurts Davao’s export sector, tourism and OFW families, he said “The government has embarked on a relief plan for the exports industry with an initial $1 Million Dollar hedge fund by the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines. I asked, what about the lowly OFW families?”

Daghang Salamat! Konsehal sa walang sawang suporta sa aming hanay. Mabuhay Ka!

Job Opening: Urgent

Leading manufacturing firm in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is in urgent need of the following:


A)  Architects


1) Must have a college or university degree

   (Original Diploma is Required)

2) With very good knowledge in AutoCad Design

3) Prepare Estimates, Drawings and Quotations

4) A minimum of 3 to 5 Years experience is required

5) Experience in preparation of Cutting Lists,

   Job Orders and Programming for Machines

   Programming for Machines: Training is required

   when arrive in Riyadh


B) Accountants


a)Education(B.A. in Business Administration Major

  in Accounting)

b)Experience: Minimum of 3 Years experience

  in Accounting


  Covering the following areas:

1. Accounts Payable/Purchases

2. Accounts Receivables/Sales

3. Payroll and Staff Accounts

4. Fixed Assets/Capital Expenditures

5. Inventory Accounts  *Cost Accounting is an asset


c)Languages*English Language; very good in speaking

  and writing

d)Computer Knowledge*MS Office (Excel, Word, Access ),

  MS Windows, Experience in Automated Business Solution

  and Financial Accounting


C)  Secretaries (MALE) 


1)Must have a College or University degree re:

  Secretarial Course (Original Diploma is required)

2)With very good English communication skills 

  (writing and speaking)

3)Have experienced in  Microsoft Word and Excel, etc.

4)With knowledge in Internet browsing

5)Typing with high speed is required particularly quotation

6)Can transcribed dictation and have experience in Filing system

7)Not more than 30 years of age

8)Can composed correspondence in own initiative


Please contact:


The Company authorized Manpower Agency in Philippines



RIZZ 1059 Metropolitan Ave., Makati City, 1200 Philippines

Applicant Hotline: +63 2 8956911


*Most Outstanding Int’l. Manpower Agency for 2003 in the 18th Annual Consumers Excellence Awards*

Three in One


DFA USEC Rafael Seguis

DFA USEC Rafael Seguis

DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Rafael Seguis is scheduled to leave for Jakarta after his brief visit in the Kingdom. Am sure he is here on official visit as Philippine Government emissary to the Kingdom for a possible diplomatic approach in relation to the plight of our 3 compatriots who are on death rows.

USEC Seguis prior to his posting at DFA-OUMWA was a former Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. His expertise handling sensitive issues in the past that concerns to our compatriots in distress proved him as a true diplomat, in words and in deeds. Sir, WE can count on you in these very trying moments.



OWWA Admin. M. Roque

OWWA Admin. M. Roque

OWWA contractual employee who slapped a flight attendant in an outburst of emotion deserves to be terminated at once – thank you Administrator Roque. When I’m home, I will show you some list of names of POEA/OWWA personnel who are very rude in dealing with our fellow OFWs, hope there will be an appropriate investigation to get rid of such kind of arrogant public servant.



PPP FINAL LOGOThe recent discussion on a proposed OFW/OF led political party is currently in progress. Forming a political party is not just like a simple thing to tackle. This is not an ordinary organization; therefore a broader and active participation among Overseas Filipinos and OFWs is very essential for the realization of this dream.

Overseas Filipinos, Overseas Filipino Workers (land, sea based, former OFWs, OFW advocates at home) are invited to join our yahoo e-group. Your ideas is important to us, let it be heard.

If you are not an OFW, we may still consider accept/approving your subscription request provided you could show to us your concern about the welfare of and issues about OFWs.

Come! Join Us!!!

Peace, Love not War

Sid Meier’s Civilization, a game to play 


U. S.  Sen. G.W. Norris

Peace is LOVE not WAR

Peace is LOVE not WAR

“To whom does war bring prosperity? Not to the soldier who for the munificent compensation of $16 per month shoulders his musket and goes into the trench, there to shed his blood and to die if necessary; not to the broken-hearted widow who waits for the return of the mangled body of her husband; not to the mother who weeps at the death of her brave boy; not to the little children who shiver with cold; not to the babe who suffers from hunger; nor to the millions of mothers and daughters who carry broken hearts to their graves. War brings no prosperity to the great mass of common and patriotic citizens. It increases the cost of living of those who toil and those who already must strain every effort to keep soul and body together. War brings prosperity to the stock gambler on Wall Street-to those who are already in possession of more wealth than can be realized or enjoyed.”  – U.S. Sen. George William Norris (April 4, 1917)

In this speech Senator Norris details his reasons for opposing a Senate resolution entering the United States in World War I. He criticizes British and German acts of war toward neutral third parties and the use of American citizens as “insurance policies to guarantee the safe delivery of munitions of war to belligerent nations.” Norris also criticizes opportunistic businessmen who seek to profit from the war.



Civilization IV

Civilization IV

Sid Meier’s Firaxis Game “Civilization” is a widely renowned computer game in everyone’s personal computers. Kids, parents, professionals and people from all walks of life can play the game using only computer mouse. But the player brainpower in pursuit of winning the game is very important in order to build a Civilization that could stand the test of time.

Been playing Civilization III for two years now but I always ended up a loser. Only these past two weeks of my continuous long quest to win the game that I finally succeeded.

Civilization III is a game played by one player in a mind controlled game. The player chooses what nation he/she wants to play. Yesterday I played and selected Abraham Lincoln of the United States.

The player/nation starts from scratch. It needs workers or inhabitants to learn the secrets of farming, road-building and irrigation for them to settle down. The player/nation must build improvements to satisfy the needs of its people. The player monitors the Governor of each cities and emphasize how important are the food, peoples moods as well as commerce and production.

When a civilization develops, it can mobilize its economy for war. It starts with a Warrior (Stone Age) to Swordsman, longbow man and to high tech war equipments like warplanes, tanks and nuclear weapons. When a nation goes to war, it should have four types of combat units: ground/naval combat, bombardment, missile attacks, and air combat. But the player must have consistent amount of gold in the nation’s treasury to sustain military offensive and defenses against its enemies.

Winning the game can be achieved by purely military solution: conquer the world, civilization by civilization. If you eliminate all civilizations from the game, you win. Also, cultural victory which means make your whole civilization the envy of all any rivals, you win.

When your civilization builds an embassy in a rival’s capital city, or when a rival builds one in your capital, you can negotiate “Diplomatic Agreements” like trade embargo, military alliances such as mutual protection pacts and right of passage with friend nations against your enemies to win the game. 

Because of my militaristic way of winning and constant desire to keep my nation rich and powerful are maybe the contributing factor of my many failures or losses for almost two years of playing CIV. III. What I like most is to watch my warplanes bombarding enemy improvements and I enjoy rival nation to perish in the world by one drop of my missiles/atomic bombs.      

What I overlook is “Diplomacy“, the other area of winning the game which requires the player an excellent diplomatic skills. Like for instance, trading agreements to other civilized nations, more particularly offering them new technologies and resources, in exchange for something your nation don’t have. Building roads and access of  sea route for trading purposes. Another one is lending them gold to sustain their survival and helping them to build again their nation caused by the destruction of war.

There are many other diplomatic ways to win the game. But in order to achieve it, you must be getting elected to the head of the United Nations. All nations are required to build a U.N. building, though the first nation to build will be the host country of the symbolic U.N. building. After the United Nations Building is built there are periodic votes by the council to elect a leader and to be elected, and a candidate must win a majority of all votes. If you are the one, you win the game.

Yesterday night from 10:00 AM to 11:45 PM almost midnight, armed with diplomatic strategy or approach, AT LAST! I WON THE GAME! Now, I am at PEACE and NO TO WAR.   Sid Meier’s Firaxis Game “Civilization 1 to 4″ –  A game to play.  * BongA


The United Nations

U.N. Headquarters

U.N. Headquarters

Created in 1945 to maintain international peace and security, the United Nations was the second of two laudable efforts to establish an international authority on law and human rights between the self governing nations of the world. Headquartered in New York City, the United Nations was established at the end of World War II in response to the apparent ineffectiveness of the League of Nations to prevent another global conflict on the scale of “The War to End All Wars”. The organization was originally conceived in 1941 as the Atlantic Charter, an agreement signed between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, but developed into a pact signed by 26 countries to try to stop the aggression of the Axis powers. In 1945, in a conference between “The Big Three”, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin, the original charter was laid down. Throughout its history the United Nations has had great success in establishing many permanent international laws on subjects from human rights, international treaties, and worldwide decolonization. Although the United Nations does not have the power to enforce decisions or compel nations to take military action, the ability to compel member nations to impose economic sanctions against countries guilty of violating security orders gives it significant power in the world stage.

OFW Livelihood Scam

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh issued a press release to warn all OFWs in the Kingdom to be extra cautious regarding entities engaged in livelihood scam and confirm the legality of any existence of a corporation or association at the SEC before entering into transaction.

In the mentioned press release dated 24 June 2007, the embassy as per information received from Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila that “PGMA Unity Philcharity Fund Inc.,” an alleged Pangkabuhayan Program, is not registered with the SEC as corporation or partnership.

The said entity is alledgely engaged in a scam whereby it sends letters and certificates to OFWs stating that the latter won in a raffle drawn from roaming cellphone numbers. The OFW is then asked to remit by Western Union money transfer a certain amount in US dollar to the Philippines, for purposes of processing their prize. Likewise, the address of the said entity located in Ayala, Makati is fictitious.

The other side of Maltreatment and Abuse

We can’t deny that there are reports of maltreatment and abuse to our Filipina Domestic Helpers employed in foreign countries especially in the Middle East.

bruised%20smileyMaltreatment and abuse is a serious matter that needs urgent attention from government agencies that oversees the welfare of our less fortunate Filipina household helps.

Many of our runaway maids complains that they were maltreated by their employers, however, without any signs of physical abuse these could not be attributed to a maltreatment case. There must be a medical examinations required to identify if there is a convincing evidence of abuse to a person. Shouting and humiliating remarks is not a deliberate act of abuse or maltreatment. An employer has the right to scold or to reprimand a household help on a mistake or error to a certain task not according to what they expect.

Click the Photo and put yourself in her shoes

Click the Photo and put yourself in her shoes

To improve their dignity in the eyes of their employers, the Philippine Government in accordance with the new policy of the deployment of Filipino household service workers, made sure that FHSW are competent or experienced more particularly in the use of household equipments prior to their deployment. Training program for this purpose is necessary to upgrade the skills of Filipinos going abroad as domestic helpers.

Back to our subject matter, physical signs of abuse are very important as basis to prove such complain. Though, no proper meals, confinement, social isolation, dirty accommodations are some factors that can be recognized as psychological maltreatment.

Thus a complaint on maltreatment and abuse is a serious matter.

FHSW in Lebanon

FHSW in Lebanon

Some of our distressed female OFWs so with other nationalities employed as domestic helps complain of maltreatment against their employer in the absence of accurate occurrence of physical and psychological abuse. It means there was intent to make a false accusation in exchange of their desire to go home because of homesickness or stress.

As a community leader, I received calls from our kababayan asking for help due to maltreatment. What I am trying to imply here is; complain of maltreatment is very serious allegations. Filipino Community organizations and individuals willing to lend a hand to those in needs should be cautious and verify first the exact situation of any distress calls. Physical appearance and the way would be complainant narrates her ordeal in the hands of her employer are just a few of many things that we should observe in verifying the authenticity of any given story.

I have one experienced that after rescuing a call of maltreatment, the distressed OFW escaped from the care of Filipino Workers Resource Center and ran-away with her text mate boyfriend. After what had happen I entertained such grievances carefully, especially coming from a third party concern.

I am not saying that we will not heed of any such calls or request for assistance but we should be careful and see to it that our help are worthy enough.

I just want to remind those kababayan who wants to work as a domestic helper abroad that making a fool out of yourselves does not make any good, instead it may put you more in serious trouble. If you are really maltreated and abused, call your nearest embassy or consulate, POLO and OWWA offices or your relatives at home should make a personal appeal to DFA and other government entities that oversees the plight of OFWs.

More Than Just Sympathy “What, a man raping another man?”


What, a man raping another man?

This is something folks back home will be surprised to hear. Yes it’s weird, but it’s true; some men do rape other men in some parts of the world.

Dito sa Saudi Arabia, kapag wala kang bigote ang tingin sa iyo ng mga Arabo ay para kang isang babae. Ngayon kung medyo mistisohin ka pa, maganda ang katawan, matambok ang puwit, at laging bagong paligo at mabango, asahan mong pagtritripan ka nila dahil sa kanilang paningin isa kang sexy star (ala Coca Nicolas or Claudia Zobel).

Si Ed ay cashier noong araw sa Al Kharj branch ng aming company. Tuwing umaga trabaho niya ang ideposito ang collections of the previous day sa down town. Dahil may kalayuan din ang aming office sa downtown kung saan naroroon ang mga banko, kinakailangan niyang bumiyahe sakay ng taxi. Isang umaga, Yemeni ang driver ng nasakyan niyang taxi pabalik sa opisina. Dahil seguro guwapo at malinis sa katawan si Ed, pinagtripan daw siya ng driver. Hindi naman siya ginalaw. Inilabas lang naman nong driver ang ari niya at nilarolaro habang nagdradrive. Takot na takot si Ed ng dumating sa opisina. Sabi namin na pasalamat siya at hindi siya dinala sa disyerto. May mga storya kasi na sa disyerto daw kadalasan dinadala ng mga rapist ang kanilang biktima. At doon na nila iiwan pagkatapos abusuhin. Mula noon hindi na bumibiyahe si Ed ng mag-isa.

Reynaldo Cortez, a welder in one of the car care shops at Sinaya in Riyadh, was not as lucky. When a Pakistani driver tried to molest him sometime in 2003, he fought back, and in the process of defending himself stabbed to death his would be rapist.

For the offense, he was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. On appeal, the sentence was reduced to 10 years in October 2004. However in 2005, the High Court in Riyadh that gave the final verdict sentenced him to death. After that, the only way Cortez could be saved was through the grant of forgiveness from the family of his victim.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said they did their best to save Cortez. They said they negotiated with the family of the Pakistani driver and offered SR 100,000 blood money so that Cortez may be forgiven. They said they even hired the services of a Pakistani professional negotiator. But all those effort failed. All that the family of the victim wanted was to see the execution go through.

Last Wednesday, as we continue to celebrate our Independence Day as well as the Migrants’ Month, we were greeted with the sad news that the death sentence of Reynaldo Cortez was finally executed. In minutes, the world joined the Filipinos in the Kingdom in mourning. Another comrade has fallen.

Back in the Philippines, the sadness among the bereaved family and relatives of Cortez was aggravated by the news that the fallen hero’s body cannot be brought home, because it has to be buried before sunset on the day of the execution. The immediate burial was in accordance with traditions of Islam, which Cortez embraced during his stay in the Kingdom.

For not being able to bring Cortez’ body home, the Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia said in a phone patch interview that, “we can only sympathize with the family of Cortez.”

Had the family of the Pakistani driver accepted the SR 100,000 blood money offered by the DFA, Cortez would still be alive and free today. He would have flown back home to be with his family, and never to leave them anymore.

OFWs - Die in Vain

OFWs – Die in Vain

But the offer was rejected, and Cortez had to die. Instead of just paying the usual lip service and saying, “we sympathize with the family,” I think it will be more appropriate and better appreciated if DFA gives the SR 100,000, which was rejected by the family of the Pakistani driver, to the wife and six children that Reynaldo Cortez, our fallen hero, left behind.

I call on the various Overseas Filipino organizations in the Kingdom, and around the world, to officially ask the President to approve the release of funds required. After all, the amount is just a small fraction of what was spent for Dematera.

I think there is also a need to revisit the provisions of sections 24 to 26 of R.A. 8042, with the objective of assessing the effectiveness so far of the Legal Assistant for Migrants Workers Affairs’ Office as well as the status of the Legal Assistance Fund.

There is also a need to set up a Fund for blood money, so that the Post and the community need not beg around whenever the need arises. A certain percentage of the government’s savings from debt servicing, brought about by our dollar remittances, should be allocated for this purpose.

Reynaldo Cortez will not be the last to need help. In Saudi Arabia alone there are already three waiting in the death row. The time for government to act is now. ###

RP-ROK Relation

Yesterday, June 12, 2007 was the 109th Year Anniversary of our Independence from Spain. I already made an entry of it titled “A Glimpse of Freedom.” 

 Every year our Philippine Embassy/Consulate will invite the community to commemorate the said occasion and dubbed it as “Filipino Community Night”.  Unlike from previous years, I don’t feel like attending this year’s celebration. It maybe because I have more important things to do besides from the fact that I will be having a medical general check up this Friday or perhaps I am not in the mood to dine with our Embassy staff while those unfortunate OFWs at the deportation center in Jeddah are not comfortable with their present situation. 

 So instead of taking some still shots at the Embassy this coming Friday for my next blog entry, think it is an opportunity to take a glance of what was transpired in the other part of the globe in this Year’s Independence Day celebration.

 Republic of Korea

 Korea is not just a nice country, Koreans are loving and friendly people. I remember when I was in my elementary grade my favorite cousin from Butuan married a Korean guy and up to now they’re still very much deeply in love with each other.

 Filipinos too are fond of Korean Telenovelas; actually whenever I’m on vacation I loved watching it together with my family.  Here in Saudi Arabia, I met some Koreans in one of the gatherings I attended hosted by an American friend. They’re fun to chat with and have a sense of humor, a trait common to us Filipinos; the reason I think Sandara Park became famous in Philippine cinema especially to our young ones.

 Last June 8, 2007 at (Hyatt Hotel) Seoul, Korea a special celebration of Philippine Independence Day was hosted by Ambassador Susan Castrence and Embassy Staff. Diplomats from other countries and South Korea officials were invited together with few leaders from Filipino Communities. It so happen that our (UFWCD) United Filipinos Worldwide for Community Development President Mrs. Fe Kim based in South Korea were among those who attended the celebration. 

 Yesterday, June 12, 2007 was the 109th Year Anniversary of our Independence from Spain. I already made an entry of it titled “A Glimpse of Freedom.” 

Every year our Philippine Embassy/Consulate will invite the community to commemorate the said occasion and dubbed it as “Filipino Community Night”.  Unlike from previous years, I don’t feel like attending this year’s celebration. It maybe because I have more important things to do besides from the fact that I will be having a medical general check up this Friday or perhaps I am not in the mood to dine with our Embassy staff while those unfortunate OFWs at the deportation center in Jeddah are not comfortable with their present situation. 

So instead of taking some still shots at the Embassy this coming Friday for my next blog entry, think it is an opportunity to take a glance of what was transpired in the other part of the globe in this Year’s Independence Day celebration.

Ambassador Castrence with Mr. & Mrs. Park/Mr.& Mrs. Fe Kim


Mr. & Mrs. Fe Kim/Mr. & Mrs. Park with Labor Attache Sabulao

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea (ROK) began in 1949, with the Philippines deploying Filipino soldiers to South Korea. Today there are approximately 50,000 Filipinos living in South Korea.

 Filipinos in ROK are small in numbers compared to Saudi Arabia where there are estimated 1 Million Filipinos

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea (ROK) began in 1949, with the Philippines deploying Filipino soldiers to South Korea. Today there are approximately 50,000 Filipinos living in South Korea.

Filipinos in ROK are small in numbers compared to Saudi Arabia where there are estimated 1 Million Filipinos (OFWs and dependents) but I believed Korea in the future would be the next haven of overseas Filipino workers considering Philippine-ROK continuous strong ties both political and economic linkages.  

 There’s another celebration this coming Sunday (June 17, 2007) to be held at Hamilton Hotel, Iteawon, Seoul. This is a Joint celebration of the 109th Philippine Independence Day  and 12th year of Migrant Workers Day to be attended by the different Filipino communities with cultural presentation.

Filipinos (OFWs and dependents) but I believed Korea in the future would be the next haven of overseas Filipino workers considering Philippine-ROK continuous strong ties both political and economic linkages.   

 There’s another celebration this coming Sunday (June 17, 2007) to be held at Hamilton Hotel, Iteawon, Seoul. This is a Joint celebration of the 109th Philippine Independence Day  and 12th year of Migrant Workers Day to be attended by the different Filipino communities with cultural presentation.

By ofwempowerment Posted in Others

COA Performance Audit

Commission on Audit

Commission on Audit

We heard that the Commission on Audit would be visiting post overseas to conduct Performance Audit. It means to assess Government funds used by our posts and evaluate how the money is/was spent. The COA has the mandate not only on financial audit but performance audit as well.


Specific areas that they're going to assess are: Overseas Absentee Voting, ATN (Assistance to Nationals), LAF (Legal Assistance Fund) and overall affectivity in the delivery of programs and services to OFWs. The COA will then prepare a report that will be submitted to Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary. The report will also be made available to the public.

We welcome this very good news; perhaps the COA should include Philippine Overseas Labor Offices/OWWA as well as our Filipino Workers Resource Center.

I don't know if funds outside from Government coffers are included in their performance audit like LACSON Fund or other funds intended for the released of our jailed compatriots such as blood money not coming from our OWWA contributions.

TY Congen Lomondot & Consulate Staff

Today’s Arab News online “Number of Filipinos Seeking Deportation in Jeddah Swells.”

Our heartfelt gratitude to ConGen for a job well done. It is just a matter of diplomatic initiative that contributes a lot in the on going deportation process for our overstaying compatriots in the Kingdom.


To make it clear, the consulate issued statement that “this is not for workers who have yet to finish their contracts,” they added “those being called are Filipinos who have overstayed their visas while in the Kingdom for Umrah or Haj or for those who contracts have been finished.” It means those OFW runaways who have pending cases with their employers for abandoning their job are not yet off the hook. Their plight depends on the employers’ coordination to provide them Exit Visas as prescribed by the host country.  And it depends on how our diplomatic initiative effort works in this particular issue. Reliable sources from the Consulate inform me that they’re working on it. Thank you…


Though the main issue here is not the Government-to-Government negotiations to let our OFW in distressed leave the Kingdom but on how to accommodate those OFW runaways that keeps on flooding at our Embassy/Consulate every hours of the day.


OWWA Board of Trustees


The news item a week ago in which our Consulate personally asking Filipino community, individuals and good Samaritans to contribute something for the needs of our unfortunate OFWs are understandable enough that our Government are short of resources for their needs. This is the question that we keep on asking for many long years now, WHERE are the funds from various Government entities intended for this purpose? Why our Government cannot provide a better place for their stay, enough food to eat and things to use?


A million dollar question that keeps on reverberating in my ears as an Overseas Filipino Worker for a quite a time now…

Migrant Workers Day-Nothing to Celebrate

Respect and Protect Human Rights of Migrants

Respect and Protect Human Rights of Migrants

June 7, 1995 the Migrant Workers and Filipinos Act of 1995 or Rep. Act 8042 was signed into law.

12 Years since it was enacted into law yet the said act has done a little or not much has been done to the Overseas Filipino Workers. The both House in Congress has never given our clamor for amendments of certain provisions that would enhance the protection and welfare of OFWs. 

For instance, Magna Carta for Migrant Workers  of 1995 provision under III: Services, Section 19 Establishment of a Migrant Workers and other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center. – Within the premises and under the administrative jurisdiction of the Philippine Embassy in countries where there are large concentrations of Filipino migrant workers, there shall be established a Migrant Workers and Other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center with the following services…

Emabssy and POLO/OWWA officials with Filcom donations for Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh

Embassy and POLO/OWWA officials with Filcom donations for Bahay Kalinga (Filipino Workers Resource Center in Riyadh)

In Saudi Arabia, there are 3 Filipino Workers Resource Center provided under this provision, each in Eastern, Western and Central Region. The said proviso did not specify male or female distressed OFWs. Our female distressed OFWs are housed in this Center and our male runaways are roaming around without valid work permit or expired iqamas and could be apprehended by the host country’s authorities anytime of the day. Others seek refuge with friends and other kindhearted fellow OFWs unmindful or maybe aware that harboring runaways could put their lives at risk too. 

The establishment and operations of the Center are joint undertaking of various Philippine government agencies overseeing the plight of our Filipino migrant workers, however, facilities and required needs of our distressed OFWs were not being fully provided. Thus help and contributions from Filipino communities, organization and kindhearted individuals are very necessary to sustain their daily needs at the shelter.

Just recently a newly organized SEC registered group of overseas Filipinos named United Filipinos Worldwide for Community Development, UFWCD-Jeddah Chapter visited our distressed OFWs at the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah. Excerpt of the report by UFWCD-Jeddah, VP Jun Macaranas and the shocking revelations inside the consulate:

As I only write what we see/saw, together with my KFSHRC-Jeddah colleagues, upon entering the big gates opened (with a Saudi Police stationed outside the gate), the quadrangle of the Consulate, estimated at 1000 sq. meter wide, LAY OUR KABAYANS, all male, with “improvised beds” to spend the whole night under an open air of the Consulate’s quadrangle improvised beds: cartons, cloth, papers at any site of the sprawling estimated 1,000 sq. meter wide cemented ground, all looking sad, without any smile, ignorantly looking at us, who by their looks, we were all made SPEECHLESS, the first time I have been to the Consulate very late at night with these bodies sprawling at any position they could find convenience at any points on the ground seeing all our kababayans, OFWs at this “nakakaluhang” sight all of them males, numbering at estimated more or less 100 pinagkakakasya ang kani-kanilang mga katawan upang maiprotekta ang sarili sa hamog, sa lamok, at sa ibang kinakaya na lang nilang magiging masamang epekto ng kung anong sakit ang dadapo sa kanilang lahat sa pagtulog sa malamig na semento ng quadrangle ng Phil Consulate Jeddah.”   To read the full report of UFWCD VP Jun Macaranas click this link UFWCD-Hawak Kamay).



Where are the OFWs Millions or Billions of Pesos OWWA contributions? Why on earth our Government cannot provide or rent a better place for our unfortunate kababayans as mandated by the Magna Carta for Migrant Workers of 1995?

Nasaan na ang mga representative ng mga OFWs sitting at OWWA and POEA/DOLE Board? Are you doing your job? Or just receiving salaries doing nothing, sitting at your air-conditioned room while those unfortunate OFWs out there are hungry, no right place to stay and having sleepless nights.     

This is what I always keep on saying, Overseas Filipino Workers should be truly represented by a legitimate OFWs and must be given full rights to be heard in one voice; and these could only be materialized with a broader participation in body politics so that we will be representing our OFWs with equal footing in any legislative agenda for our welfare and protection. 

June 7 – Migrant Workers Day “Nothing to Celebrate”.

New PRC Regulation

Philippine Embassy

Press Release No. APV-26-2007 (4 June 2007)

Filipino Professionals in the Kingdom to benefit from New PRC Regulation


Professionals who had left the Philippines to work immediately after their examinations or before the results of the examinations were released, can now file their initial registration with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) in Manila without making a personal appearance.


The PRC through Resolution No. 2006-313 series of 2006 has amended its rules on personal filling up of entries of data in the Registry of Professionals by newly passed professionals subject to certain requirements and conditions.


Under the new guidelines, new registrants may take their professional oath before the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in the country where they are currently situated.


The concerned Professional will have to execute a Special Power of Attorney for their representatives in the Philippines to submit their oaths to PRC and undertake any action relative to their initial registration.


The professionals concerned shall then sign the Registry Book of Professionals at the PRC when they return to the country.


Noting that this new regulation will greatly favor professionals in Saudi Arabia who are not yet registered with PRC, Ambassador Antonio P. Villamor had the information circulated to all Filipino Community organizations.


During the recent “Embassy on Wheels” outreach service in the Eastern Province, a Filipino engineer was able to take his oath before consular officer and issue the necessary SPA for his representative in Manila to file his initial registration with PRC.


Ambassador Villamor also received positive feedback from some leaders of the community and urged those concerned to avail themselves of this facility provided by the PRC. END

OAV 2007 Assessments presented

OAV 2007 Assessments

4 June 2007-Riyadh, KSA

Jimmy Sotto, Francis Oca, Engr. Faisal Sharque, Engr. Robert Ramos & Engr. Jaafar Angkaya

Jimmy Sotto, Francis Oca, Engr. Faisal Sharque, Engr. Robert Ramos & Engr. Jaafar Angkaya

Filipino Community Leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia gathered at Al Mutlaq Hotel last Friday, June 1, 2007. Guest of Honors aside from Ambassador Tony Villamor was Consul General Nestor Padalhin, Labor Attache Resty Dela Fuente and Vice Consul Reyes of Assistance to National Section.




The forum initiated by the OFW Congress-Riyadh tackles important issues more particularly the outcome of the just recently concluded Overseas Absentee Voting in Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Francis Oca ( OFWC Chair-OAV Advocacy)

Mr. Francis Oca ( OFWC Chair-OAV Advocacy)

Francis Oca, who was given the floor on the Filcom assessments of 2007 OAV, focuses on the issue that may contribute to the success or failure of the OAV exercise. These three areas are information dissemination, community participation, and election paraphernalia. He also emphasized in his presentation the contributing factors in which the Comelec, DFA and the Filipino Community need to address for the success of OAV in the next 2010 election. Mr. Oca was OFWC representative in the Congressional Committee Hearing on Absentee Voting in Congress held this year in Manila.

The assessment was presented, for comments and amendments, in a meeting of 45 members of the OFW Congress and representatives of various community organizations.

Ambassador Tony Villamor in his message to the Filcom leaders stresses a point that the result of the OAV relies much on the participation of every Filipino and their desire to vote in which it is a privilege and obligation to exercise their right of suffrage. He added that “the assessments should not be focused or based on the Kingdom low turn out of absentee voters rather to assessed the outcome in global perspective”, he mean the OAV overall turn out worldwide.

He also expresses concerns about the issue of the new Embassy policy in which he explained that there was no new policy under his administration. He pointed out that there should be a strict guidance in Filipino Community gatherings inside the Embassy compound in respect to the host countries customs and traditions. He added that “We are just guest in this country and we should abide with their laws and must comply with their rules and regulations”.

Labor Attache Dela Fuente, H.E. Ambassador  Antonio Villamor & ConGen Nestor Padalhin

Labor Attache Dela Fuente, H.E. Ambassador Antonio Villamor & ConGen Nestor Padalhin

Labor Attache Resty Dela Fuente in his short remarks invited all Filcom leaders and those members who wish to attend the “Colayco Special Lecture-Workshop” on Thursday, 7:30 PM, 07 June 2007 at Philippine Embassy.

Mr. Francisco Colayco, an accomplished Filipino businessman and the author of the 2006 NBS Bestseller “Wealth Within Your Reach”: “Pera Mo Palaguin Mo” will be in the Kingdom for a series of lecture discussions with the Filipino Community. Mr. Colayco’s lecture will emphasize productivity at work, positive work attitude and consciousness on individual savings and family financial management.

Further, the Labor Attache Dela Fuente announced that on June 15, 2007, 6:00 PM there would be a big night for the Filipino Community in Riyadh as part of the Filipino Migrant Workers Day and Philippine Independence Day celebration.

Dugo Ko Alay Ko

Dugo Ko Alay Ko

During the Iraq-Iran war, Saudi Arabia required all those renewing or applying for a driver’s license to donate blood to the Ministry of Health. The blood collected was sent to Iraq where these are used in the operation of Iraqi soldiers who got hurt in the field. Years later, whenever the Ministry of Health needs blood to augment the inventory of its blood banks, it pays the donors a good amount of money.

H.E. Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor

H.E. Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor

Starting today, the Ministry of Health will be receiving a steady supply of blood for free. It does not even have to ask for it because the donors are giving it voluntarily.

Dugo ko Alay ko, a blood donation project spearheaded by the Philippine embassy and the Philippine overseas labor office in cooperation with the Filipino community in Riyadh and the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, was officially launched at the Philippine embassy compound this morning.

"Dugo Ko Alay Ko"

"Dugo Ko Alay Ko"

The project, which is said to be the first of its kind, is the Filipinos’ way of expressing their thanks and appreciation to the people and government of Saudi Arabia, who for more than two decades have provide home and source of income to the growing number of overseas Filipinos. Indeed what could be a better way to express gratitude than to let ones blood mix and run with those of his friends?

A big round of applause should be given to the organizing committee that managed the project from conceptualization through its eventual implementation. The launching alone this morning speaks a lot. Banners and streamers decorate the chancery both inside and outside; colorful posters are stuck on bulletin boards, some even cleanly pasted on rear windows of some cars; shirts and caps bearing the project’s logo are worn by volunteers; and almost everybody were given buttons to pin to their shirts.

FilCom "Sharing Blood, Giving Life"

FilCom " A Life, Giving Life"

What the recently concluded overseas absentee voting lack in information campaign materials, the Dugo Ko Alay ko project had so much in abundance.

The embassy gates were even left wide open through out the day, as if telling passers by to come in and join the celebration. An early celebration of success it looked like indeed. The chancery was filled with people that it was even a bit hard for the lady volunteers distributing free bottled water to squeeze into the crowd. That size of a crowd was never seen during the voting period.

The blood letting will run through out the year. The first group of donors this morning came from members of Alpha Phi Omega. Because pre-screening of would be donors is required, those who registered as donors, and passed the requirements, will be scheduled during the succeeding weekends. Where a group of donors is located in one area, the mobile blood bank facility may even go onsite instead of requiring the donors to go to the embassy.

The launching was capped by a light noon snack hosted by no less than His Excellency Ambassador Antonio Villamor and Labor Attache Rustico dela Fuente. The food provided by a catering company was good, and added more color to this all new experience of A Life Giving Lives. * May 25, 2007 By: Ka Ambo

The Basics

I will be the Master of Ceremony in the 9th Founding Annivesary of Black Python Martial Arts Association, Inc., (BPMA) here in Riyadh tomorrow 25 May 2007. Here is my piece:

The Basics

Good Morning everyone! I would like to acknowledged the presence of the executive council members as well participating member organizations of the Overseas Filipino Workers Congress-Riyadh and to National Chairman of United OFW, Engr. Frank Naval. In behalf of the general membership of BPMA; Thanks for coming.

Maybe, you will ask why I open this program? na dapat this should be delivered by Sec. Gen. Ibrahim Banacia and Founder/Grandmaster Bhoy Macion? Others may ask, why Bong is delivering a speech? Not exactly, because I will give that to our honored guest Mr. Alex Bello later and to the BPMA officers I mentioned, to properly open the program.

My answer to the question is, I am just doing my job as the Master of Ceremony for the 9th Founding Anniversary of BPMA and the Induction of 2007 Executive Officers and its Board of Trustees. Sorry KYUDS and Guests, I even give title to this piece, I called it “The Basics“.

When Kyud Faisal asked me if I can be the MC for todays affair, I did not declined because BPMA is not just an ordinary colleague in the Filipino Community but personally BPMA is dearest to my heart.

BPMA had shared a lot of community service not only to the Filipino community, not only at our Embassy but also to KAKAMPI, our organization in the Industrial Area whom yours truly is the founder. I don’t even remember BPMA decline if we needed you most. I first met the leadership of BPMA during the 2004 OAV where all of you were there as volunteer marshals for the orderly and peaceful conduct of the last 2004 electoral process. All of you were also there when our friend the late Dr. Alfred Ganapin needs your blood (donation) in an attempt to save his life. I know our friend Dr. Alfred was very thankful for the kind gesture you have done to him in the last days, hours and minute of his life.


That’s the basic or shall we say the initial background why I am here before you and why I respect you-all. Now back to The Basics….

Maybe now – you will be asking why I am talking about martial arts? My answer; first this is a founding anniversary of a Martial Arts Association and secondly, kahit papaano during my elementary days I am a “Yellow Belter” in a Karate Club of my brother named “Libra Brotherhood Karate Club” kaya kahit papaano mayron konting alam in the basics of Martial Arts.

Martial Arts club or association would inevitably start with the students and students start with the basics, the rest, however, would soon progress on to long, complex combinations of a dozen techniques or more. Considerable time would be spent explaining the sequence of movement, and after perhaps several practice attempts, the barrage of techniques would be performed at “full speed and power”. Speed, spirit and aggression, as what martial arts experts says.

The master or coach is telling the students that it doesn’t matter whether their technique is good or bad, only that everything must be performed with the correct attitude, by which he means with spirit and aggression. I agree that these things are extremely important. Eventually, these natural basic teaching provide the foundation upon which everything else is built.

The constant reference to basics can be somewhat misleading. The word basic implies simplistic, easy, or elementary, it is also mean primary, initial or first, all of them are the very opposite of advanced or complex.

According to my brother in his message to his fellow Professional Electrical Engineers, in which we could apply to a Karate competition, he said “It is best to prepare and anticipate. But preparedness does not mean that we allow ourselves to lose track of the basics. It is the bedrock foundation of our competence. Once the basics are forgotten, the foundation will be weakened and the structure might crumble”. (by: Doods Amora


It is just like the famous pinoy quote: “Ang hindi lumingon sa pinangalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan“.

In other words, don’t let the advance or complex method of fighting (martial arts) get the better of you. Do not belittle the Basics because you will experience later that the basics after all will make someone a Grandmaster. You will therefore do your share in training others. It will be something of an achievement and a work in a lifetime.

“So why do you do karate, and what do you hope to achieve?” is a question I’m often asked. The first part is difficult to answer, but the latter part easy: all the top grandmasters like Kyud Bhoy, I too would like to be seen as someone who was beginning to “get the basics under his belt”. Magparehistro ako mamaya and will be officially addressed as “Kyud”.

Now Back to the Basic or the First part of our program is the Philippine National Anthem…

To be rendered by: Kyud Audrey De Los Santos ___________.

You are kindly requested to stand para sa pagpugay sa bandila ng ating mahal na Bansang Pilipinas.

By ofwempowerment Posted in Others

Official OAV Result – Saudi Arabia



As Per Certificate of Canvass of Votes

Philippine Embassy








  7 – 3 – 2

2 PANGILINAN, FRANCIS (Independent) 12185
7 ARROYO, JOKER (TU) 10292
8 RECTO, RALPH (TU) 9784
10 ROCO, SONIA (GO) 7262
11 TRILLANES, ANTONIO (Independent) 7260
Rank Party List Votes