The insignificant impact of “OFW Zero Remittance Day”

The call for Zero Remittance Day on December 18, International Migrants’ Day has no substantial positive impact at all on the outcome of remittances from Filipinos overseas. The fact that the plan is only for just a day, it is likewise has no adverse impact on social needs of OFW families during Holiday season.    

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Carlos Cao said total remittances by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are likely to exceed P20.1-billion target for 2011.” Even a point margin for tomorrow’s call for zero remittance could not affect the forecasted 2011 total OFW remittances. Last year’s 2010 remittances of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs’) was P18.8 billion.

Let’s say, tomorrow’s action initiated by overseas Filipinos in 20 countries (as what they say) would push through, I am not inclined to believe that these OFWs represents the Overseas Filipinos Worldwide, and not all OFWs in Saudi Arabia will heed for the call for a “Zero Remittance”. Why? Because 50 percent of the hard earned money of OFW’s can be sent to improper channels, if we really want.  Christmas is about giving and OFWs like me wants our families to be happy in this very important holiday season. We don’t want our families to troop down to malls on an eleventh hour shopping spree. And besides, kaming naiwan sa Saudi Arabia ay masaya pag ang aming pamilya ay masaya tuwing kapaskohan even without our presence.”

What we need in our midst is “political empowerment” and it can easily achieve if there will be a unified and concerted effort among our ranks.

“Iisang boses, nagdadamayan, iisang katawan, walang gamitan, walang bangayan, walang AKO kundi TAYO lahat, Muslim at Kristiyano, nag-iisang tinig para sa makabulohang pagbabago tungo sa kagalingan ng Manggawang Pinoy sa ibayong dagat.”   

We fought for the passage of the Absentee Voting Law, it is now in our hands, “Go Out and Register” – Be an Absentee Voter!  (BongA)


Multi awarded former OFW Dr. Carlito Astillero will receive Outstanding Balikbayan Reputation Award (OBRA)

CEBU:  A former Overseas Filipino Worker in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will be awarded as one of the “Outstanding OFW and Balikbayan Reputation Award (OBRA) for 2011″ this coming December 9, 2011 at the Megatrade, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

The blogger with (POEA Board of Trustee Nominee) Dr. Lito AStillero

Dr. Carlito Astillero who had just left Saudi Arabia and returned to Cebu seven months ago after 35 years as an Overseas Filipino worker is one of the eight awardees to be recognized for their important contribution in the society; and as an OFW and Balikbayan models based on their good characters and deeds. “OBRA aims to recognized OFW and Balikbayan who we can emulate in these trying times where it is really very hard to find someone where we can use as a guide in living a worthy life”, said Mitch Ballesteros, CEO of Exlinkevents.

Dr. Astillero is also among those MOFYA awardees vying for the top “National 2011 Model of Family of the Year Award” to be held on December 7, 2011 at  Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City. The awarding of the Regional Winners will be held on 06 December 2011 at the Heritage Hotel in Metro Manila. Dr. Astillero was Region 7 Model OFW Family 2011 awardee for the land based category.

During his stint as an Overseas Filipino Worker, he received various awards, that includes: The Special Presidential Award 1996 – Banaag at Sikat, the San Lorenzo Ruiz Award for Outstanding OFW (1994) both awarded by former President Fidel Ramos; the Bagong Bayani Award (1992) by former President Cory Aquino; and the Most Outstanding Filipino in Saudi Arabia (1990) by the Philippine Embassy.

He earned his degree at Southwestern University and placed 9th in the 1968 Medical Board Exam. Presently, his family is residing in Labangon, Cebu City. The doctor and his wife Elena have five children, which include two doctors, a nurse, an engineer and a lawyer.

My Family with Dr. Astillero and his wife Elena at their residence in Labangon, Cebu

As a retiree, he is currently busy into farming located at his ancestral hometown in Molave, Zamboanga Del Sur. And aside from being a farmer, he is also the Program Consultant of Center for Agricultural Productivity, Environmental Care and Countryside Industrialization that deals with organic and probiotic agricultural production.

He is also one of the guest of honor this coming OFW Family Day 2011 on December 10, 2011 at Ayala Center, Cebu. The yearly event is organized by DOLE-OWWA of Region 7.


PhilEmb Advisory re: Passport Extensions

PHILIPPINE EMBASSY Advisory 120-2011

4 December 2011

DFA Discontinues Gratis Passport Extensions

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh advises Filipinos in the Kingdom that the Department of Foreign Affairs has discontinued the extension of Machine Readable Ready Passports (MRRPs) gratis (free of charge) as the delivery of electronic passports (e-Passports) has normalized.

Those applying for the extension of their passports’ validity shall be required to pay the consular fee for the extension of passport’s validity. The fee for extension of passport validity is 80 Saudi riyals.

However, applications for extension of passport’s validity may be given due course only when the applicants simultaneously file their applications for e-Passports. The fee for passport renewal is 240 Saudi riyals.

The Embassy urges all Filipinos to check the validity of their passports, and to ensure they apply for renewal of their passports early or at least six months before the expiry of their passports in order to avoid any inconveniences.

The Embassy also reiterates to all applicants its earlier advice for them to secure an appointment for passport renewal through text (SMS) to 0560503895 or preferably online on the website (blue button on the right side) which provides for instant confirmations for appointments. Only a limited number of walk-in applicants are accepted at the Embassy’s Consular Section, and an appointment makes time spent at the Embassy shorter.

The requirements for passport renewal are the original passport, photo copy of data pages, accomplished application, and fee of 240 Saudi riyals.END

Contact information re: Philippine Embassy in Riyadh. Fax  No. 482–3945, Email: For more information, please visit Philippine Embassy website: http://www.philembassy–‐ .