Pass the Senate and House Bill amending R.A. No. 8042


Speaker Prospero C. Nograles consults with leaders of the various Filipino communities in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who raised, among others, the need for faster facilitation by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration of services relative to OFW Welfare, and licensure renewals by the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC). The Speaker, together with his official delegation composed of Deputy Speaker Simeon Datumanong, Reps. Munir Arbison, Yusop Jikiri, Nur Jaafar and Mujiv Hataman, have assured the OFW leaders that their concerns, including better OFW representation abroad, will be taken into consideration and their suggestions be thoroughly studied. The common sentiment is to strengthen OWWA's programs and be more responsive to the needs of OFWs. Additional OWWA action desks in embassies and consulates are also being pursued. Saudi Arabia is the second home of more than one million Filipinos.

Philippine lawmakers are expected to arrive in Riyadh on November 5, 2009. They are on their working trip to Middle East for a series of consultation meeting with Filipino Community, Philippine Embassy officials and Philippine government agencies overseeing the plight of OFWs.

They are members of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA) to conduct congressional hearing among Filipino Community leaders in Riyadh on issues concerning  OFW grievances and complains. 

However, as of this writing, I haven’t yet heard from fellow community leaders of an invitation from Philippine Embassy/POLO/OWWA  to attend such important event. The visiting lawmakers are Representatives Luz Ilagan, Carlos Padilla, and Rufus Rodriquez.

The House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA) has the jurisdiction to tackle all matters directly and principally relating to policies and programs on the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers and their families.  The 14th Congress COWA is Chaired by Rep. Manuel  Zamora consisting  35 Committee members namely:  Five Vice Chairman, Lagman, Edcel, Gatchalian, Rex, Labadlabad, Rosendo and Romulo, Roman. Members of the Majority are Magsaysay, Ma. Milagros,De Guzman, Del , Estrella, Conrado III,Bichara, Al Francis,San Luis, Edgar,Sy-Alvarado, Ma. Victoria,Robes, Arturo,Roman, Herminia,Chong, Glenn,Codilla, Eufrocino Sr.,Alcala, Proceso,Cajayon, Mary Mitzi,Amatong, Rommel,Bonoan-David, Ma. Theresa, Dela Cruz, Jonathan, and Arroyo, Ma. Lourdes. For the Minority are Ilagan, Luzviminda,Villanueva, Emmanuel Joel, and Hataman, Mujiv.

If Philippine Embassy will invite me to the consultation/hearing and be given a chance to talk in front of the Honorable Lady and Gentlemen from the Philippine House of Representative, I will lobby for the immediate approval of House Bill 05649 or  Senate Bill 3286 and it should be signed into law before the May 2010 election.  

House Bill 05649:  “The Standards of Protection and Assistance For Migrant Workers Act” is an act guarantees the protection of the rights of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are to be deployed only in countries where labor and social laws protecting workers’ rights, adherence to conventions, declarations and resolutions, and bilateral agreements or arrangements are existing and guaranteed. Principal author of the bill is Rep. Manuel Zamora. It was approved on 2nd Reading dated 2009-02-03 and approved on third reading dated 2009-02-04 with the followingvotes Yes = 127, No = 0, Abstain = 0.

The abovementioned bill is a counterpart bill under Senate Bill 3286 known as an “Act amending R.A. No. 8042, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers Act of 1995, as amended, further improving the standard of protection and promotion of the Welfare of Migrant Workers, their Families and Overseas Filipino Workers in Distress and for other purposes.”  The legislative status of the bill is for recommendation for approval pending before the  “Senate and House Conference Committee” since August 17, 2009.

Above House Bill 05649 is a consolidated bill substituting the following House Bills:

HB00628 –  “Establishment of a legal attaché office in every country in the Middle East to provide free legal assistance to Filipino migrant workers in need of legal aid or in crisis or difficult situation”. The bill was authored by Rep. Judy Syjuco.

HB00700 – “Act Setting Higher Standards of Protection of Migrant Workers”. Authored by Rep. Rexlon Gatchalian, the bill prohibits the issuance of a work permit to a country where there is no existent guarantee for the protection of the rights of migrant workers.  Bill Status: House agreed to the request for a conference made by the Senate.

HB00769 – “An Act Setting Higher Standards of Protection of Migrant Workers and their Families”. Authored by Rep. Arthur Pingoy, Jr. The proposed bill is an act to institute policies of Overseas Employment and establish higher standards of protection and promotion of the welfare of migrant workers, their families and Overseas Filipinos in distress.

HB04783 – “An Act Improving the Protection of Migrant Workers, amending for the Purpose Section 4 of R.A. No. 8042. The bill was principally authored by Rep. Edgardo Chatto.

HB00699 – “Act Providing for the Selection of Additional Memberships in the Boards of the POEA and the OWWA, amending for such Purpose Republic Act 8042. Authored by Rep. Rexlon Gatchalian.

There are 41 House Bills and Resolutions currently referred to the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA) found at Philippine House of Representative official website.  Several  of this House Bills seek to amend R.A. 8042 known as Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.  These bills are currently on hold pending deliberations and approval by both the House and the Senate.

Relevant House Bills intended for the promotion, welfare and protection of Overseas Filipinos are the following:

NO. HB00819 – Principal author:  Rep. Judy Syjuco. The bill provides for the abolition of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and for the transfer of their functions to the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers. Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION.

NO. HB03115 – Principal Author: Rep. Bienvenido Abante, Jr. “Overseas Domestic Helpers Act”, the bill aims to determine the countries where maltreatment and abuse of overseas Filipino workers is rampant and to ban their development to these countries. Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on OVERSEAS WORKERS AFFAIRS.

NO. HB04310 – Principal author Re. Narciso Santiago III. “Migrant Worker’s Retirement Act of 2008” establishes a retirement fund that shall provide social security protection to OFWs and their beneficiaries for contingencies resulting in loss of income due to inability to find another employment overseas due to old age, disability and/or sickness. Principal Author Rep. Rexlon Gatchalian, co-authored by Rep. Narciso Santiago III, Rep. Arnulfo Go. Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on OVERSEAS WORKERS AFFAIRS.

NO. HB04845 – Principal author: Rep. Narciso Santiago, III. “Left-Behind Households of OFWs Act of 2008”, that seeks the establishment of OFW family centers that shall provide welfare assistance and counseling services to the families left-behind by OFWs. Also directs the OWWA to develop a program for the re-unification and reintegration of returning OFWs. Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on OVERSEAS WORKERS AFFAIRS.

NO. HB05621 – Principal Author:  Rep Rufus Rodriguez. “Overseas Contract Workers Insurance Act”, seeks to protect and ensure the welfare of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) by providing them compulsory welfare insurance program in addition to the benefits being provided by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on OVERSEAS WORKERS AFFAIRS.  

NO. HB05657 – Principal author: Rep. Satur Ocampo. “An act expanding Legal Services to Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos in Distress”. Seeks to expand the legal assistance the Philippine government presently extends to migrant workers and overseas Filipinos, both documented and undocumented, in distressful situations abroad, particularly those who are incarcerated in the Middle East on account of lack of access to Shariah lawyers and other specific legal concerns. Bill Status: Pending with the Committee on OVERSEAS WORKERS AFFAIRS. *End*

By: Bong Amora

Read Related Postings:   

Proposed Amendment of R.A. 8042 

Amend R.A. 8042 

Migrant Workers Day – Nothing to Celebrate  

OFW’s opposed newly appointed OWWA Board


4 thoughts on “Pass the Senate and House Bill amending R.A. No. 8042

  1. The Bradley Hughes who posted above is a shining example of the Philippine expat community and a special page has been made on the blog below as a tribute to Bradley Hughes who resides in Cagayan De Oro Philippines.

    Bradley Hughes has gone far and beyond the call of duty in exposing Gordon Elletson, Michael Mountstephen ( Spooks whorehouse owner )and etc.

    Bradley Hughes even came up with the brilliant idea of linking Congressman Rufus Rodriguez , of 2cd District CDO , to the SEXPATS that his home is harboring.

    Bradley Hughes has been a extreme help to the advocacy and for his cooperation and good deeds the Sexpat blog owner has decided to dedicate a entire page to the bravery which defines Bradley Hughes .

  2. My name is Bradley Hughes. Someone is using my name to make post on many blogs about Congressman Rodriquez. I have discovered who this person is. Some blogs show an IP address. I compared this with mail I was receiving from one I thought a friend, they matched. What a sad discovery to make. Just Google, “Gordon Elletson, Philippines” or “Bradley Hughes, Philippines” and you will see listed of comments. This started as a disagreement between to friends and has turned to an ugly all out vendetta by one. Many post use my name to make statements about Congressman Rodriquez. Others use the name TexAss, Mike54, Mike, Mike 2x, Jimbo777, the list goes on. All direct the reader to:… . The vendetta is against Gordon Elletson and has turned to include Spooks, the Department of Tourism, and others. If someone wants to discredit another that is none of my business until my name starts being used. Getting these post taken down is a real problem and many I cannot.
    I will meet with Congressman Rodriqyuez next week. I have already hand delivered by hand a letter to his office. My question is this, what should I do about all these illegal post and the illegal use of my name? I live in the Philippines, the one stealing my name in the USA. What legally can I do? Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
    Hope you never have your name stolen to make statements about another.

  3. Congressman Rufus Rodriguez is seeking re-election in his district of CDO, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines and a situation has been brought to our attention that we want to inform him of.

    Rufus Rodriguez owns a rental property in CDO that he rents out to a American expatriot of questionable agendas, records and past. I highly doubt Mr. Rodriguez knows of the kind of people his house is harboring so have decided to inform both him and the internet community in hopes of enlightening the situation during this campaigning period.

    The American national currently residing in the house is one Gordon Elletson who goes by Gordy and posts on many internet forums using the name TexKano. Gordon Elletson is of a deffective mental state and is a admitted child abuser and basher of the Filipino populace. Please see link below of how Gordy Elletson , using his TexKano nic, admitted to hitting Xavier Madlangbayan with a cane and then proceeding to call the boys grandfather, Dr. Severino Madlangbayan, (who is seeking a city council seat in Iligan City) a banana eating monkey. Is this kind of elitest American truly the sort of expatriot that a elected Congressman wants to be connected to? Well Gordon Elletson seems to think the congressman loves him and will washover any mess he gets himself into. I find it hard to believe a elected congressman will forsake his constituents , who elected him, in a effort to protect a abusive foreign national.

    The second expatriot, now deceased, is one Randall Chester Goings who goes by Bubba and posted on net under nic Bubbabobbaker. This fellow had a lengthy criminal record which included multiple drug charges. Randall Goings was brought to the Philippines by Gordon Elletson where he lived , together with Gordy, in the proprty owned by Congressman Rufus Rodriguez of CDO, Cagayan de Oro. This property is located on 69 bong bongon street CDO and even before Randall Goings moved to such property he was allready posting perverted things all over the internet. One example of his perversions took place on a internet dating site where he searched for a 4′ tall bi-sexual and stated in his ad “the smaller you are the more I will love you”. Evan smaller than 4′? Yikes, Was he looking for a dwarf or a underaged girl?

    Anyway, I hope this message reaches Congressman Rodriguez and he can see below link for proofs regarding the accutations of the kind of expatriot he is harboring and who states the Congressman is protecting him. I feel the congressman has the right to know the facts in below link.

  4. Recruiters take back insurance proposal for OFWs First Posted 16:04:00 11/17/2009

    MANILA, Philippines—Stunned by the vehement rejection of migrant workers rights’ advocates, recruiters on Tuesday said they are withdrawing their proposal to Congress for mandatory insurance coverage for overseas Filipino workers.

    Victor Fernandez, president of the 28-year-old Philippine Association of Service Exports Inc. (Pasei), which has 700 licensed recruitment agencies as members, however said he and his colleagues will offer insurance coverage for departing OFWs on a voluntary basis.

    “We are withdrawing the proposal. It is lamentable that they do not take well our offer to OFWs and that we are vilified for this,” said Lito Soriano, of LBS e-recruitment.

    The bicameral conference committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday evening on the proposal and other amendments to the Migrant Workers Act.

    “We will move to delete anything and everything related to insurance. We are withdrawing our offer to cover all workers. However, Pasei will still have insurance coverage on voluntary basis with or without the government because the responsibility for OFW protection is still there,” said Fernandez.

    Soriano said the recruitment sector only wanted to pass the financial burden of OFW protection to the industry whose business is securing risks.

    Both Soriano and Fernandez said they could not understand why the migrant workers rights advocates are refusing their offer.

    “We can’t see their point,” they said.

    Earlier, the Center for Migrant Advocacy opposed the proposal, arguing it principally shields the government and the recruiters from their responsibility to the OFWs.

    Veronica Uy

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