Blog powered by FUNCHAIN

Jason Banico (Creator of Funchain)

Jason Banico (Creator of Funchain)

Browsing Internet is part of my daily job, not to mention that the company where I am employed have unlimited access with our ISP. It means that I can always visit and post important events, commentaries, etc. to my blog whenever I have the spare time to do it.

Actually, I heard this blog mania a couple of years ago and was fascinated by some bloggers conveying personal opinions through the freedom of expression using the power of blogging.

My impulse told me so creating my own blog. Then, I discover myself doing my homework in my PC at my flat. It does not only eases homesickness away from home, it likewise enhances my know-how in the usefulness of Information Technology (IT).












Thus- the creation of (now whose postings relates Overseas Filipino Workers issues and concern.

I found powered by I POWER BLOGGER popularly known as IBlog easy to use and recreational, not only venturing creativity in developing my personal site but it also helps improve my love of writing.

Few days ago I visited one of my favorite blog created/authored by Davao City Councilor Peter Lavina, I noticed that he shifted to a new blogger powered by FUNCHAIN. Out of curiosity I started my new blog with the same blog name (ofwempowerment) using FUNCHAIN and later conclude it remarkable, very easy to use and more convenient.

In this new era of information technology, let your views be heard, let us exercise our freedom of expression through the use of a proper venue; and that is – the power of blogging. However, we should be always compassionate in expressing our respective viewpoint, thoughts and ideas.

Try making your own blog using Funchain.

Who brought this idea to reality? Like us – He is Filipino, in the name of Mr. Jason Banico. Find out a little bit of who this person is – below:

Jason Banico is a technopreneur with 9 years of IT experience. He hails from Davao City, only coming to Metro Manila for his college studies at Ateneo de Manila and working there for approximately 10 years.

In 2005, he became a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford University, where he realized his dream of finally going to Silicon Valley. Staying in a converted garage (yes, the proverbial Silicon Valley garage), he brought Funchain from idea to reality. *** BongA


Cooperativism & OFW Reintegration

In today’s global scenario, the race for survival is widely perceived as an inevitable crisis each man has to wrestle. And the common denominator behind this sorry reality is more likely economic in nature. Stability has become a proverbial question not only among those countries who struggle for a stalwart economic order, but also those who have ever since been known as “Giants in Economy”. As population grows leaps and bounds every minute just as the world also gets smaller and older, so does economic trend fluctuate incomprehensibly daily. This marching of events breaking from the community of nations everyday poses us with no escape a dreary future on how to be able to cope with the demands of time.

Bohol Leyte OFW Cooperative-Founding Members with former Welfof Iriles Ladjabasal and Former Consul Garibay now ConGen in Australia

Bohol Leyte OFW Cooperative-Founding Members with former Welof Iriles Ladjabasal, the late Labor Attache Abraham Malli and Former Consul Garibay now Consul in Australia ( Bong Amora-Center and Peter Polestico - 2nd from left)

As part of this web of uncertainties wherein we figure as the end targets of impact, we need to buckle down seriously in attacking issues that concern human subsistence particularly ourselves, our families, our children and their future. Something that could ensure us promising prospects for sustainability which would not reduce us to sub-human level. Naturally, the how-to-do-it and what-to-do questions pop out from everyone’s mind. And subsequently, each one needs a plausible answer.

The most sober response to this is the emerging viability of effort collectivism. The Philippines in the past several years in line with the Overseas Filipinos Re-integration program of both the government and the Non-Government Organizations has openly extended its approval and assistance to other NGO’s as part of its strategy in solving the surmounting economic anxieties nationwide. Under this NGO umbrella branches out the phenomenal co-operativism concept of promoting sustainable development programs in the countryside.

Cooperativism effectively has helped ease the barriers of unemployment, inflation and market stagnation. It also inspired the grassroots to involve themselves in many a productive endeavor other than being individualistic and partial. Like the “Bayanihan” concept, co-operativism has securely tightened the bonds of helping each other through aggregated virtues of self-respect, industry, self reliance, diligence, etc. towards attaining a common goal.

The unprecedented success of co-operativism can never be discredited vis-à-vis to its role in nation building. It has worked potentially and prospered lives among many of its adherents. Owing to its substantial effects, there is no way it can work in a group if the bottom line is to serve the interest of the few if not individual. It has to be functioned for a greater number of beneficiaries who will received its services.

What are the Aims & Objectives:

To foster r friendship, service, co-operation, and mutual benefit among its members in the conduct of its operation. Also, the objectives and purposes for which this co-operative is to be formed are to:

1) Encourage thrift and savings mobilization among its members for capital formation.

2) Create funds in order to grant loans for productive and providential purposes to its members.

3) Provide goods, services, welfare and other requirements of the members and its beneficiaries.

4) Engage in conduct, and carry on the business of investments and deals with the money’s and properties of the co-operative in such manner as may from time to time be considered wise or expedient for the advancement of its interests.

5)To work with the co-operative movement, non-government and government organizations/entities in the promotion of countryside development in line with the OFW Re-integration Program by both Government of Non-Government Organizations in the Philippines.

In furtherance of and not in limitation of the general powers conferred by the laws of the Philippines particularly the Cooperative Development Authority and the objectives and purposes set forth, this cooperative shall have the powers:

a)To draw, make, accept, endorse, guarantee, execute and issue promissory notes, mortgages, bills of exchange, drafts, warrants, certificates and all kinds of obligations and instruments in connection with and in advancement of its business operations;

b) To issue bonds, debentures and other obligations of the cooperative, to contract indebtedness and to secure the same with mortgage or deed of trust, or pledge or lien on any or all of the real and personal properties of the cooperative;

c) And to acquire facilities, either by or through construction, purchase, lease, bequest or donation, grants from local or foreign sources.

If co-operativism has worked out in many areas in the Philippines, then it is also workable anywhere irrespective of its geographical location, creed, religion and what not. It simply means it can be done anywhere as its inceptive location to build its databases. Although, in the long term, its main objective is to coarsely attacked the feasible market in the Philippines. **end

COOPERATIVISM and OFW Reintegration
By: Peter Polestico and Bong Amora
Founding Members
Former Board of Director
Bohol Leyte OFW Cooperative (BLOC)

Araw ng Kagitingan

By: Retired Judge Lilio Libres Amora

JESUS steadfastly refused any thought on a violent overthrow of the despotic regime but insisted on peaceful reforms. Barabas who led the underground movement pursued his uncanny strategy that if Jesus is arrested and imprisoned, His thousands of followers would rise up in rebellion and join the underground, then ignite the poor and down-trodden into a great civil war. Judas who subscribed to the views of Barabas betrayed Jesus and facilitated His arrest but when the thousands of followers did not rise up or joined the underground, Judas committed suicide. In an unexpected twist of events, Pilate, supported by the viva voce vote of the people, released Barabas instead of Jesus, washed his hands and ordered the scourging of Jesus after proclaiming, I have nothing to do with the death of this Man. The passion and crucifixion of Jesus followed. And then, Easter Sunday came, the first and the only true araw ng kagitingan of mankind and the whole world.
* * *
Bataan has fallen but the spirit that made it stand will remain a beacon to all freedom-loving people of the world? this is the Voice of Freedom. (April 9, 1942):. Some Filipino soldiers in that war, which was not our war, are still living after fighting side by side with the Americans 60 years ago. Veterans, they are called who are living on their pensions but pensions that they lament are not apportioned equally among all the soldiers who crawled and bled with the American buddies in the war contrary to the promises of American presidents from Roosevelt to Bush. To many Filipino veterans, this is araw ng kagitingan sa mga sipsip. They even have to line under sun and rain towards a bank that keeps and cashes their checks under a business arrangement with another sipsip group. The aging veterans in crutches or by walking sticks are victimized by swindlers and pickpockets in the city. Their travel from their towns to the city is already a great physical effort on the part of the aging veterans who still hope on the promises that are aged already like them. It is not hard to presume that on the lips of these fading old soldiers are the words & I fought in vain.
* * *
There is now another Senate Five to counterpart the Batasan Five which will fuel further the Oust PGMA campaign and which is to be intensified during the Lenten season but the new assault is pre-empted by FG (Front Guard) Mike Arroyo who challenged all senators to resign instead. Here we go again, but this time, the man of the house is at the front door in an open war to protect his loved ones. The fight has taken a new shape and size. The flames are fanned by the resignation of the prime minister of Thailand after violent street demonstrations and the adverse editorial of the New York Times that democracy has dark days in the Philippines. The fight is now taking place outside of the ring, what’s next?

Taken from:
Bohol Times/April 9, 2006 Issue
Thinking Aloud/Editorial Column
Posted at my Home Blog, April 9, 2006

Absentee Voting Book

Absentee voting book
still good read amid charter change bids


QUEZON CITY — WHAT’S blue and nearing obsolescence but still worth reading?

It’s the book entitled “Overseas Absentee Voting: The Philippine Experience,” whose author is preventing the issue from dying amid renewed efforts to change the country’s constitution.

Not that author and lawyer Henry Rojas is bothered over potential revenue loss from his book’s sale—at P250 or just under US$5 each from publisher and nonprofit group Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA)-Philippines; Rojas is afraid overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) may again miss out on the deal.

If charter change pushes through, the right to vote of overseas Filipinos might be taken away again,” Rojas told the OFW Journalism Consortium. He said opposing moves to change the 10-year-old Philippine Constitution is a “logical option.”

The book offers keen insight on an instrument of suffrage that dates back to a hundred years when Australians first enacted overseas voting under its Commonwealth Electoral Act of 1902.

The 225-page “blue book,” printed with money from the OFW Journalism Consortium’s partner Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, shows the nuts and bolts of Republic Act 9189, or the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003.

While the book is a strain to read, full of legalese speak and lacking literary flair, it provides an astute look on the circuitous law and its application in the 2004 elections.

Rojas offered this reason for getting through the quagmire of legalese: “Active participation in elections is one of the many ways we contribute to nation building. Thus, the right and opportunity to vote as an absentee voter are too important to be treated lightly.”

The books is designed to help overseas Filipinos and NGOs in their advocacy efforts for reforms in the enacted law and in Philippine elections, and to help them grasp the complexity of the country’s immediate electoral history.
Blue clues

THE book offers clues to understanding the immediate future of qualified OFW voters under a new Constitution being pushed by supporters of President Gloria Arroyo, Part I is an abridged version of RA 9189. It gives the context of the overseas absentee voting law and how it works in the Philippines.

This part explains the law and the rules and regulations supporting it. It identifies who may vote and can be voted into a particular public office as well as which public official under the Commission on Elections is responsible for which particular rule.

Nearing the deadline of registration for voters in August this year, it informs OFWs among readers of the processes and requirements for registering.In an interview months after the book was launched in a coffee shop ostensibly called “Conspiracy Café,” Rojas said proposed revisions to the Constitution “have basically retained the constitutional right of qualified overseas Filipino citizens to vote.”

“However, assuming that charter change does happen, overseas Filipinos will return to square one because a new absentee voting law has to be passed before [they] can vote again,” he said.Rojas explained that the current OAV law limits overseas Filipinos to vote only for president, vice president, senators, and party list representatives. It also restrains OFWs from voting in a referendum or plebiscite.Assuming that charter change happens, overseas Filipinos cannot vote anymore without a new enabling law under the proposed parliamentary form of government.

Similar to the run before the 2002 elections, there is no specific reference to representation of overseas Filipinos in this form of rule, according to Rojas.

Currently, OFs are represented in the Lower House of Congress via the party-list system introduced in the elections that brought movie actor Joseph Estrada into the presidency.

“It would appear that representation of overseas Filipinos in parliament would [depend] on the discretion of the winning political parties,” Rojas said.
Rosy past

OFWs attuned to the workings of the absentee voting law may skip to the second part should they want to know how the law fared in real-time, especially the first time it was applied in 2004.

Part II bares the actors and players in the run up to the elections that led Arroyo to power, some say through “extra-legal” help from Comelec official Virgilio Garcillano.

Before that scandal brought questions unto the legitimacy of Arroyo’s ascent into the presidency, “OAV: Philippine Experience” showed how OFWs struggled on their newfound right to influence the country’s socio-political and economic conditions.

Struggled, indeed, as Rojas cited the problems that hounded the first application of the OAV law: low registration turnout, undocumented workers’ fear of exposure, and host country restrictions. He also documented the usual problems in the counting of votes and canvassing of returns.

But here is where Rojas may have failed to meet readers’ expectations; he immediately gave recommendations in Part III rather than continuing with the review of the law’s rosy past.

The train of thought that could have gripped readers in Parts I and II were derailed as it is in Part IV that zoomed to other countries’ application of absentee voting.

In this section, Rojas talked about the Australian and United States experiences and explained various methods of overseas voting as practiced in other countries.

Rojas described how Australians and Americans could either vote in person, or by mail, facsimile transmission, proxy voting, or via the Internet (allowed in Missouri and Dakota). Some European countries meanwhile, also allow proxy voting and voting via the Internet (the Netherlands).

In Part III, Rojas could have shown the rash actions surrounding the decisions by government officials to approve on the twelfth hour the OAV. The book failed to explain why its authors didn’t think there were questions on the slow boat the OAV law took prior to the 2002 and 2004 elections.

Were those seeking public office blinded by how remittances have helped stabilize the economy? Were debates begun by OFs in Europe not sufficient enough? Were decisions to apply the OAV tied with the Photokina polling equipment sale to government?

Responding to these questions could have explained why it took more than three decades of money flowing in the country and millions of Filipinos out of the Philippines for suffrage rights to be given attention.Strong republic

ROJAS is more an advocate and lawyer than a writer, highly concerned that in the run up to the 2010 elections, the problems that gripped voting OFWs would be repeated.

Hence, he has pressed in Part III of “OAV: Philippine Experience” several recommendations on what he cited as “outstanding issues and concerns on the law.”

These concerns include “some restrictive provisions of the law on voter qualifications and limitations in the electoral mechanisms that deter broader voter participation and maintenance of the integrity of the ballots and other orderly electoral administration.”

These, according to him, must be addressed by legislators, the Comelec, and the overseas Filipino communities.

It is here where the author liberally discussed what he deemed as “a need to democratize overseas absentee voting to ensure a broader participation of qualified Filipinos abroad.”

But the recent imposition of a state of emergency after the buzz on Charter change may have pulled the rug off the feet of Rojas and others like him betting on the rights to suffrage of some five million Filipinos temporarily working in 190 countries.

e the ‘Hello Garci’ scandal, charter change was not an issue,” Rojas told the OFW Journalism Consortium, adding: “There was no gridlock in the legislative branch of government.”

He believed that it shouldn’t be the OAV law that should be changed but “those in power.”

Still, Rojas is caught between the Scylla and Charybdis: tentacles of issues and concerns on the OAV remain unresolved while putting people into power in the Philippines is being altered.

Something Rojas admits: “For many in the Philippines, it will be a dilemma since they are involved in an ongoing political struggle.”Since the Philippine situation is more fluid than Rojas’s pen, the book “OAV: Philippine Experience” should still be read to give a backdrop of what could occur in the next few weeks and to give a bird’s eye view on what was once a flicker of hope for millions of powerless Filipinos overseas.

**Request for posting granted by OFW Journalism Consortium**